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Blog-Shaw Capital Management News: Warning: DefCon Prepping the Future of Hacking Community


Gangnam-Gu, Seoul -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/15/2011 -- Going to a hacker convention is sure to surprise first-timers because of the wide variety of people attending – and that includes kids, of course.

For 18 years now, computer security specialists and hackers have been assembling at DefCon, one of the longest-running and largest conferences of the type, mainly to share knowledge on securing and breaching electronic devices.

This year’s DefCon highlighted what several hard-core attendees may well have to say is any stunning picture: children. The very first time, DefCon included tutorials and discussions with regards to future hackers, with age ranges of 8 to 16. Around 60 kids signed up.

During the course of two days, they rub elbows with famous hackers and NSA security specialists. They also get the chance to listen to talks about the history of hacking and some lectures involving cryptography. Some of the contests in the convention include lock-picking strategies (for when the kids forgot their locker combination). Basically, the young ones were encouraged to look for vulnerabilities in different technologies, ranging from computer hardware to video games.

The kids need to have a guardian or a parent with them in order to attend. Most of the parents present who brought their kids are longtime attendees of the conference and expressed enthusiasm on a great bonding opportunity.

Rey Ayers, 42 years old, is an Information Security expert in San Francisco Bay who has been attending the DefCon for the last 4 years. This year, he has brought his 14-year old son, Xavier, along. The kid has been tinkering with computers for some time now and has acquired a couple of IT certifications.

Ayers stated that it’s significant to educate his son to the world of hacking and that they have already discussed about the line between unethical and ethical hacking.

Ayers added in an interview, “I see it in him – he feels like he fits in a group and I’m really proud. I can see the excitement in his eyes.”

“I feel like a community here — it’s like I’m not the only kid,” Xavier said.

The idea for DefCon kids’ conference came as hackers made headlines across the globe. Although the public often mistakes hacking with criminal doings, the business side of the technology industry has always accepted people who go beyond the limits of what can be done with electronic gadgets. Even the founders of Apple Inc. themselves, Stephen Wozniak and Steve Jobs, have considered themselves as hackers during the time they made the first Apple computers in the 70s.

However, the recent hacking sprees are what play into stereotype definitions of what hackers are. For example, during the weekend the hacker group Anonymous breached 70 law enforcement websites in the US, proving how real cyber threats are.

Defcon and the Black Hat technical security convention draw thousands of people in Las Vegas every year. They go there for the discussion of new vulnerabilities in different electronic devices, from mobile phones to crucial infrastructures.

Black Hat is more of an industry-sponsored conference which costs about $2,500 to enter had over 6,000 attendees this year. Executives and vendors in suits were present to strike deals and exchange cards until it ended on Thursday.

Meanwhile, DefCon, which wrapped up on Sunday, costs only $150 to enter. Just on the first day of registration, organizers have already sold 10,000 badges for the event. One famous amusement at DefCon involves attempting to determine those who are undercover federal agents.

Kirsten Crouse, another attendee said that they like to show how science and math work together to emphasize the value of doing good in school.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for the kids to see what the options are out there,” she said.

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