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Hackers To School Next Generation At DEFCON Kids

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the first-sploit-is-free dept.

Education 86

fangmcgee writes "DEFCON hackers will share their skills with the next generation at a first-ever children's version of the infamous gathering of software renegades, lock pickers and social engineers. A hacker conference for children is controversial even in the DEFCON community. Prime targets for criticism include lock picking and social engineering, the art of manipulating people into revealing sensitive information. 'Everyone is up in arms that we are going to teach kids to be evil, but that is not the case,' said Chris Hadnagy, who trains companies to guard against slick-talking hackers and runs the website social-engineer.org. 'Think critically, think objectively — that is what this industry teaches people,' continued Hadnagy, a DEFCON Kids mentor. "

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Why is this allowed? (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36585948)

What kind of secret fellow-travelers do we have in the White House who allow Italian infiltration, Italian subversion, and Italian seduction of our youngest, most valuable assets of Our Nation';s Future? They should be learning terrorism profiling and pagtriotic songs celebrating our Republic's Judeo-Christain democratic values, not cavorting with Italians and hackers! This is an outrage and I demand an apology from Congress.

Re:Why is this allowed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586218)

Are you Pokey [yellow5.com] the [yellow5.com] Penguin [yellow5.com] ?

Re:Why is this allowed? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586304)

Hmm what kind of Italian seduction are we talking here? I may be willing to investigate...to asses this threat. :D

Re:Why is this allowed? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586320)

D'oh! Meant to reply to the FP.

Re:Why is this allowed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590684)

You said "asses".

Re:Why is this allowed? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590800)

Whoops, Freudian slip :-P

Children (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36585982)

Think about the....oh wait....

Re:Children (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586060)

just watch out for the kids in dark conservative suits and short haircuts. do they still play spot the fed at defcon??

Re:Children (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588638)

You know the old saying: The internet. Where men are men, women are men, and kids are FBI agents.

What are they gonna do? Send midgets?

Re:Children (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36589926)

actually i was thinking more of an agents kid being "wired".

Re:Children (2)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586148)

Actually, I think they are. The more people know about social engineering (or pretty much any "evil" knowledge, technique or information), the more people will realize when it's happening to them.

Remember the old saying: if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them.

Peados among hackers even (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586046)

Can't get away from them on these intertubes.

Re:Peados among hackers even (2)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586178)

Speaking of which, how is coaxing someone into a car with a piece of candy different than coaxing someone into revealing their password with a piece of candy?

I think that teaching this as a self defense class would apply to more than just computer crimes, being able to recognize when someone is attempting to socially engineer you into doing what you're not supposed to do is an extremely valuable life skill.

Certifiably (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586056)

I was very pleased to read that they are "Certified Ethical" hackers. Not just ethical, "certified" ethical!

Re:Certifiably (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586096)

I'd be more concerned about certified "ethical" hackers myself.

But man I wish I could have taken a course like this as a kid. I wonder if they take adults.

Re:Certifiably (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36597966)

I'd be more concerned about certified "ethical" hackers myself.

But man I wish I could have taken a course like this as a kid. I wonder if they take adults.

Of course they do. Just drop the "kids" part and go to Defcon.

Re:Certifiably (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586406)

It's just a penetration testing certification. Like an MCSE or CCNA or whatever. But nobody could get their boss to pay for a "hacker training" cert, so they threw the word "Ethical" in there.

Re:Certifiably (2)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586544)

The quotes are incorrectly applied. It's Certified "Ethical Hacking". The concept of "Ethical Hacking", whatever it means, is what gets certified, not the "Ethical". I agree that "Ethical Hacking" is a somewhat murky idea: it means that instead of getting practical knowledge by messing around with other people's servers, you messed around with a few computers in a laboratory, under specific constrains.

Re:Certifiably (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588606)

Ethical hacking is more than that. Personally, I see it as something like a creed (ok, I'm a bit of an idealist). But in a nutshell, it means that you agree to play along a set of rules, essentially, that you are a "white hat". It doesn't necessarily mean that you lock yourself in your ivory tower and only use nondestructive means, but it means that you agree to the rules of engagement and that you do not hack someone not asking for it. And I wouldn't teach anyone not agreeing to this.

But like I said, I'm an idealist.

Re:Certifiably (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588500)

Erh... ethical hacking is part of a lot of pen-testing certificates. What's so "funny" about it?

Look at various certificates in the field and you'll certainly find something that points to "ethical hacking".

harr! (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586106)

something like professional script kiddies? what could possibly go wrong... :)

To catch a crook... (5, Insightful)

MaxToTheMax (1389399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586158)

Teaching these kids the fundamentals of social engineering will help them recognize it and avoid being victimized by it. I think this is a really great idea.

Re:To catch a crook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586490)

Damn straight, I agree completely. You company's HR staff already has social engineering training. Maybe everyone else should too. The sooner my kids know that not everyone in the world has their best interest at heart, the better.

Re:To catch a crook... (1)

lazlo (15906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587348)

That's my first thought exactly. Because fundamentally, a panel van with "Free Candy" spray painted on the side is a social engineering attack, and it would be very useful to teach children to recognize it as such.

And if they fail to recognize that sort of Social Engineering, those lockpicking skills may be coming in handy real soon now.

Re:To catch a crook... (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587608)

It was my initial thought as well. Then I realized we're talking about children.

Hacking, like all pursuits that can affect others, is a matter of morals governing how you use a tool. Morals take time to build and comprehend as well as experience to be able to properly define positive verses negatives morals. DEFCON Kids will be coverings 8-16 years old. While the eldest should have some morals and sense about proper ways to use the tools it is not out of the realm of question that the younger children would not have morals developed. This could lead them to performing acts they shouldn't because they don't properly grasp the good versus bad aspect rather than anything malicious.

Re:To catch a crook... (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587858)

Yup, my daughter is only six, so I sure hope they keep this going from here forward. I'll definitely bring her when she's eight.

Re:To catch a crook... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588438)

Shouldn't you actually see what values they teach before shoving your impressionable daughter in the class? There is a difference between teaching how to watch out for social engineering and how to do illegal activity. Plenty of ways to teach critical thinking and avoiding con men without teaching them lockpicking or hacking.

Re:To catch a crook... (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36589426)

Like giving her a copy of "Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion"

Re:To catch a crook... (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36600990)

Yes, the teaching of critical thinking is already going on. When she is old enough for this event, she should be ready for it, as well. And, yes, I will have had two years of this event occurring to base my decision on, as well.

Re:To catch a crook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36592786)

Keep in mind that teaching kids *how* to pull scams is often slightly different than teaching them how to avoid becoming victims of them. For example, I know that the shell-game is rigged and when I see mobs of men in Europe betting money and playing the shell game, I should avoid it. I don't actually need to know how exactly it's rigged (whether it's done with a trick cup, a magnet, or however they're doing it). I just need to know that some of those men are plants and the game is rigged against you. I can think of plenty of scams like this.

Another example is that I've seen articles and source code teaching programmers how to build keyloggers. This doesn't mean I should give that source code or executable out to everyone. What could they possibly do with it other than use it against someone else? On the other hand, if I wanted to protect someone against keyloggers, the solution isn't "give them a keylogger and teach them how to use it", but rather "give them a basic idea of how keyloggers work, and give them software that helps foil keyloggers" or "don't let people access your computer because they could install a keylogger".

(Yeah, yeah, I know that it's theoretically possible that someone could use the source code of a keylogger to create a new way to foil keyloggers, but it's tricky and requires expert knowledge.)

I'm just pointing out the fact that teaching people how to do a scam is often slightly different than teaching them how to avoid it. I'd bet that many people ignore the distinction.

Hmmm ... (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586164)

Part of the problem with this is that you might be teaching it to people who don't have the emotional maturity to truly gauge the difference between right and wrong ... don't most teenagers test as sociopaths in personality tests?

You're doing a lot more than simply teaching them to think critically and objectively ... you're teaching them to do things which range from shady to illegal, and they might not fully grasp that.

I'm not sure a 14 year old needs lock-picking skills. Though, I'm sure some hilarity could ensue.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

MaxToTheMax (1389399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586244)

The type of teenager who would even have the attention span for this kind of subject matter would be less likely to cause such problems.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587616)

You are aware of Asperger's, are you not?

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588482)

You're aware that someone with Asperger won't probably even get the idea to go out and break in somewhere? Although... I might have done it just to see if I can open their door. I would not have gone in, since that would have been uninteresting, the door is open already, so why bother?

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588648)

My point was mostly attention span + impaired interpersonal skills/lack of social understanding.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36589112)

You'd be surprised what attention span someone with Asperger's can have if it is about "his" topic. Like me and math. There was no easier way to keep me occupied than with a few good books about math and theorems. Drives teachers mad, though, so if you're a parent with a child who has Asperger's and "his" (her) topic is something taught at school, maybe prepare the teacher that he's in for a rather frustrating experience.

Now, I agree that social engineering is probably not their forte (wasn't mine, I'm still no SE expert unless I have enough distance to the mark, i.e. can use the internet for communication rather than face to face or phone) and if they're anything like me, they will also have very little chance to see whether their trick has worked or whether the mark just plays along to turn the table.

But the rest can certainly be quite captivating.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36589142)

I'm not at all surprised, because I know quite a few. That is exactly what I was saying. And while social engineering may not be their forte, there are other security topics being taught here as well.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36589288)

There are quite a few people in IT-Sec who come close to the textbook definition of Asperger's. Even more so than in the rest of IT. It's quite fascinating to see how people who lack the ability to interact with "normal" people can easily understand each other, because NOBODY in the whole conversation understands such petty things like body language or figurative speech. I have to admit it is also much easier and more relaxing.

Of course, as time passed, I started to learn how to deal with "normal" people. The second foreign language I learned: Body language. First was English. It's still a chore that I have to not only watch what I say but also what I do while speaking (or not speaking) because my body might give away hints that are not really there because it "talks crap". Unfortunately, it's not as easy for them to "turn off" the body language interpretation as it is for me to "turn on" the proper gestures, so I had to learn it.

The advantage is now that I'm able to lie with my body. It has its advantages. But it's still a chore. And I enjoy it a lot more if people are direct and honest with me rather than me having to interpret everything said, not said and indicated by nonverbal means. It's just more relaxing.

So, now please mod me offtopic and stop the rant here. :)

Re:Hmmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586268)

It startled me a bit when I decided to learn to pick locks and found out just how easy most locks are.

Shortly after that, the first 'bump key' video appeared on the internet and that was even scarier.

I don't think teaching them to pick the locks can do any harm, since it's already out there if they just search for it a bit. It's not hard to find at all.

On the other hand, as others have said, they're learning a lot of security and how to implement it, and how to avoid cons.

Posting anon because despite how easy it is to learn, I know who would be the first suspect if something happened locally if I let people know I know.

Re:Hmmm ... (4, Insightful)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586318)

I think this might allow those that are curious to ask questions in an open forum surrounded by like-minded individuals instead of secretly trying to do things that could result in some stiff punishment. Gone are the days where one was allowed to:

1.) "being curious" about trying to connect to a business' modem to see what happens

or
2.) Mixing up a cocktail from anarchist's cookbook

Now, they are acts of terrorism. In the past, 15 years or more ago, you could get away with these things and continue learning. I wouldn't try half the stuff I did back in the day for fear of being locked up or visited.

Of course these kids are going to try some of the things from the conference, just teach them which ones will have the stiffest penalties.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586478)

Part of the problem with this is that you might be teaching it to people who don't have the emotional maturity to truly gauge the difference between right and wrong

In my mind, that's the main problem. Sure, some of them will use their skills for good. Others will be tempted into using their new-found powers for bad.

Perhaps it's best to start them off small and let them work their way up into the more advanced topics with proper supervision. Like martial arts, you don't teach them how to break someone's neck in the first week.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586642)

who don't have the emotional maturity to truly gauge the difference between right and wrong

It's not so much that they can't gauge the difference between right and wrong. People in their early teen years are easily able to make that distinction. It's that some of them lack the emotional maturity to reliably place other people's well-being above their own entertainment.

Re:Hmmm ... (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586874)

Doesn't that also depend a lot on how the information is presented? Saying to someone: "Look, this is what people regard as basic security, but it's not" and showing them how easy it is to defeat would certainly be much more than teaching them how to break into something.

Not showing them the lock-pick is merely security through obscurity... It's easy enough to find if you're willing to look for it. I, for one, am all for presenting information like this in a responsible manner, which I sincerely hope is the case here.

Good reply gstoddart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586984)

Your 1st line was excellent ("You had me @ hello" in other words/in a way) and pretty much "the point". Excellent, in my opinion!

However - What do you SAY to an article like this though?

1.) Not teaching it is suppression of information - & yes, information that CAN BE USED "for the good" too!

(I.E. -> There's an old adage of "it takes a thief to catch a thief" more or less! To understand hacker/cracker types, you have to "channel your inner criminal" so-to-speak - & quite often, we've all heard about law enforcement recruiting (or even coercing) former hacker/cracker types to work FOR them & they're probably the BEST @ IT I'd wager!)

2.) Teaching it to kids as you stated, MAY not be the "best idea" & for the reasons you stated!

(Think about this: Drug dealers use young kids below the age of 16 (legal adult crime limit in most states for most crimes iirc) to peddle/push their "wares". Think hacker/cracker types would hesitate here on the same basis?? I don't).

APK

P.S.=> This is one of those "shades of gray" things... but, someone give gstoddart mod up (I can't, someone took the APK registered user account name here, so... there you are, no mod points here)

...apk

'Think critically, think objectively (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586166)

'Think critically, think objectively

That is why it is really being criticized, no one wants kids thinking that way. Then they might question stuff.

Re:'Think critically, think objectively (1)

LoganDzwon (1170459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586922)

True this. As a culture we are teaching youth NOT to ask questions.

Re:'Think critically, think objectively (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588474)

No, it isn't. Giving kids the tools to hack and break in places is what is in question. There are plenty of ways you as a parent can teach your kids to think critically in an environment that is open to questions. I seriously have to question the parenting ability of parents if they would stick their kids in this class without seeing what it actually teaches. Do you really want that knock on the door in the middle of the night to raid your house for computers because you think this is the best way to teach critical thinking?

Teaching kids the basic scams (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586168)

There's something to be said for this. Kids should be taught all the common scams in school. Every kid should know the classics - the shell game, the badger game, the big store, the Spanish prisoner, lottery scams, pyramid schemes, forced teaming, etc. See List of Confidence Tricks [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia.

Re:Teaching kids the basic scams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36587232)

Completely agree. I feel like I grew up too naive. Much of this can be read in books, watched in movies and learned in life. But very very slowly. It would seem present day children are being sheltered even more to the detriment of our society.

I think if they actually made deliberate practice in a physical environment would they actually be able to detect them when they are being perpetrated. I doubt it would turn into some http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Twist school for boys and girls.

We had something similar about how to defuse fights. We would get into mock altercations and then practice diffusing the situation. It had a lasting impact.

On a similar note I was thinking it would excellent to have an Underhanded Debate Club where participants would be given a topic, told what side of the argument they were on and what logical fallacies and rhetorical devices to employ, like straw man, ad hominem, appeal to XYZ, etc.

Re:Teaching kids the basic scams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36590384)

I agree with this. I didn't learn about this stuff until college, which means a lot of people at my high school and middle school likely never learned these scams/schemes. I've even had friends that fell for some of the pyramid schemes (but didn't lose out much money).

Re:Teaching kids the basic scams (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590714)

They should be taught the basics of how to recognise such scams, not the details to perform them themselves.

Not sure how I feel about this... (2)

dremspider (562073) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586204)

As someone who has gone to Defcon myself and work in the security industry I don't think I would send my (presently non-existent) kids to this. While I have no qualms about Defcon teaching these items I feel like kids don't have the ability to understand the ramifications of their actions, which is why we try them differently in court. Once they get out of this class what are they going to be able to do with their new found ability to pick a lock? They can't get a job as a pen-tester or some other legal activity so the only thing that they will use this skill for is illegal. Also, the general atmosphere for Defcon isn't very conducive to children with the whole hotel being drunk, loud music playing and people partying all night. Maybe I am not even a father yet and I am already too conservative.

Re:Not sure how I feel about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586464)

...the whole hotel being drunk, loud music playing and people partying all night. Maybe I am not even a father yet...

You weren't just drinking and partying at that hotel, were you?

Re:Not sure how I feel about this... (2)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587006)

Well, at least you don't have to worry about them getting locked out of the house. :)

Re:Not sure how I feel about this... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587948)

Many of the Defcon participants prove THEY don't have the ability to understand the ramifications of their actions by getting the con kicked out of a new hotel every year. Or at least they used to. When I used to hang out with crowds of those people they were always telling some juvenile story of hotel destruction of which they were proud.

Re:Not sure how I feel about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36588304)

The one time I went (Defcon X) there was a hole in the hotel wall before we even got there. And they'd only been open for a few hours before this (we'd gotten the cheapest motel we could find two blocks over then walked to the Alexis Park Hotel where it was going on.) While it was an interesting trip to make and there was some great lectures going on, between the general demeanor there and the general filth of 'just off the strip' Vegas, I wasn't much keen to go back again.

Sad too, because the local 2600 branch closed not long after and it's eventual replacement was not of the same caliber.

Re:Not sure how I feel about this... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36595860)

To me there are two attractions in Vegas, the strip itself, and going very far off the strip to sleep. There's a nice doubletree business hotel with bitchin' internet about as far from the airport as the strip but in another direction... right next to the Aristocrat building. There's a TGIF and a really nice kind of bistro-style restaurant next to it too. I didn't eat at TGIF of course. Either way you can walk to the strip from there but you won't want to unless it's cool. I did it when it was 90 but I'm a walkin' dude.

Possibly a function of aging DEFCON attendees (1)

alispguru (72689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588208)

I have been taking my kids to science-fiction conventions ever since the early 1990's. Kids programing tracks were rare at SF cons until fairly recently, and now they're pretty common, in part because more SF fans are reproducing with other fans - the alternative is dumping the kids at Grandma's for the weekend.

Re:Not sure how I feel about this... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588452)

So you think they'll be as irresponsible as the rest of the people there, which made DefCon something like a traveling con since they get tossed out of every conference center/hotel they've been to?

Snideness aside, I guess it would mostly depend on how you raise your kids. I know that I, as a child, would certainly have tried my skills at the locks of our house. Not on a hotel room, hey, someone could get mad at me for that! But I'd sure have cracked every lock in our house that I could find, my parents being mad at me is at least a situation I knew well, so no big deal. ;)

Seriously, I'd guess it highly depends on what your kids are like, whether it's a good idea to bring them or not. Personally, if there's finally something kids WANT to learn, I'm for it!

Re:Not sure how I feel about this... (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#36596786)

"They can't get a job as a pen-tester or some other legal activity so the only thing that they will use this skill for is illegal."

Please don't breed.

Better that kids be indoctrinated by hackers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586242)

... than by any church.

Re:Better that kids be indoctrinated by hackers... (4, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586552)

Fortunately, this way they're less likely to ever have sex.

Re:Better that kids be indoctrinated by hackers... (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588414)

At least not against their will.

Violation of the law in many States (1)

Biggseye (1520195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586540)

The exact violation is called contributing to the delinquency of a minor. It might be hard to convict, but it would not be hard to get an arrest order for the any presenter.

Re:Violation of the law in many States (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588408)

Is that the same states that have no problem with me handing an 8 year old a machine gun?

Early learning support (1)

kdsible (2019794) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586714)

I am all for early learning especially in today's economy and the one to come. It will only be to a kids advantage. As for can kids make the decision between right and wrong? For some yes for some no. Can adults make the decision between right or wrong. Given the past economic crisis, fighting blood for oil wars you be the judge!! Point is the choice you make has everything to do with upbringing, environment and the friends you keep. LEARN so you can EARN. kd.

Re:Early learning support (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588404)

Learn so you can earn? C'mon, you still believe the old mantra of getting rich through work?

Hint: It's not what you know but who.

Better not... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36586864)

...teach kids how to read! They might build a bomb! /sarcasm

Great idea but not for Defcon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36586950)

Considering all of the things that have gone on at Defcon in the past, I don't really think it's the greatest idea to have a meetup for 8-16 year olds there. Perhaps the Defcon community has matured and will serve as much better tutors for the next generation...

Then again, I was one of the people doing crazy things over the past few years, so I probably have no room to speak :p

Re:Great idea but not for Defcon... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588396)

Oh c'mon, Defcon isn't what it used to be. Give it 5 years and it'll only be for suitable for kids and sponsored by Disney.

Somebody is going to teach kids to thing? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587226)

Oh the horror. The tb/reps will never let it happen.

If everyone is a Scam Artist (1)

wbtittle (456702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587326)

No one will be scammed.

Hey, pal... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587342)

'Think critically, think objectively — that is what this industry teaches people,' continued Hadnagy,

This is the United States of America, pal. We don't go in for those kind of radical subversive ideas here.

Really any different thank teaching martial arts? (1)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36587352)

The same arguments could be made for or against teaching a child martial arts. In my opinion it is another way to teach children to think critically. But with great power come great responsibility.

Adult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36587528)

This sounds very interesting to me. I'm 23 years old. Can I still sign up?

Hacking is not evil (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36588364)

How should knowledge be evil? Knowledge is a tool, much like knives, baseball bats, cars and explosives. All of these things can be used for good or evil. Depending on the person wielding them. That's the key here, the person using a tool decides whether it will be used for good or ill of society.

Will those kids use their knowledge to pick the lock to your liquor cabinet? You bet they will! And they'll get drunk and have a hangover the size of Kansas the next day. Which is by some margin more teaching and less dangerous than you luckily keeping them away from liquor 'til they 18 so they get their first contact with (lots of) it at spring break, surrounded by like minded (and intoxinated) peers and some people having nothing better in their mind than to exploit this... but I digress.

If anything, it will also teach kids that their actions have consequences, and that parents usually have reasons for the rules they impose. If there is no good reason for the rule but to prove who's the boss in the house, I guess it will also teach parents a thing or two about good parenting.

It will also teach kids something about responsibility and that actions have consequences. And I'd definitely expect the "teachers" to read a few lines from the "ethical hacking" book. Dear child, you get a mighty powerful gift, but be aware that this also means that it is your responsibility to wield it carefully.

Re:Hacking is not evil (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 3 years ago | (#36589268)

Will those kids use their knowledge to pick the lock to your liquor cabinet? You bet they will! And they'll get drunk and have a hangover the size of Kansas the next day. Which is by some margin more teaching and less dangerous than you luckily keeping them away from liquor 'til they 18 so they get their first contact with (lots of) it at spring break

While I agree that mistakes could be made in a safer environment than spring break or other college-colocated activities, I suspect that the relative safety of drinking relates a lot to body mass. Alcohol poisoning is probably a lot easier to reach with a small child, so I believe that a kid having unrestricted access (after having picked the lock) to a liquor cabinet is still pretty dangerous.

Re:Hacking is not evil (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36589348)

Depends on the liquor. Careful with that sweet stuff, they'll probably drink quite a lot before they pass out. But as long as it's just hard liquor, they might take a gulp (as they know from their sodas), spit out the better half of it, cough and hack for minutes and never touch it again for a few years.

Re:Hacking is not evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36592892)

(sigh)

> "How should knowledge be evil?"

Knowledge is not evil, and you're missing the point if that's your counterargument. Knowledge is power and you should only give power to people who are going to use it responsibly. Very often, people use power to bully others.

> "Will those kids use their knowledge to pick the lock to your liquor cabinet? You bet they will! And they'll get drunk and have a hangover the size of Kansas the next day."

Maybe. I think alcohol can be less problematic than other things. It's also important to say that some kids will get behind a car and get in an accident. I don't know about you, but at least one kid in my high school died because he was drunk driving.

> "If anything, it will also teach kids that their actions have consequences"

Oh? First of all, you haven't made an argument that Defcon (or anyone else giving away knowledge on pulling scams is doing this), and second, it's dangerous to give people power and then pretend that they're going to heed your sermon about behaving responsibly.

This is different how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36589276)

last defcon I went to was like a fucking rave/hipster hangout.

Kids are not an issue (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36589414)

I was 15 when I went to the first Defcon at the Sands. Children have a natural curiosity about what makes things work and it makes perfect sense to expose to "hacking" and other out of the box ways to think about things. My experiences in the computer underground paved the way for my current career in IT.

No news, actually. (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36590214)

Whoever is worried about this is forgetting something - most of the kids I know are already very good at finding out what they want to know. It is better to guide them than to stick your head in the sand until they make the kind of mistakes you could have prevented by guiding them.

I was involved in part of the last Access All Areas in London. I recall an 11 year old kid with a re-chipped NEC P3 analogue cell phone, joining in in conversations in the vicinity (which was actually rather funny), and a 12 year old girl who decided to use the systems there to email her friend - by telnetting to port 25 and doing the whole SMTP session by hand.

Ah, those evil memories. I had just bought a Samsonite case with a digital lock, and someone tried to open that for two days - in the end resorting to typing every number from 0000 to 9999 and still not managing it (despite me opening it various times during the day). The solution was as evil as it was funny: I had discovered you didn't need to use all 4 digits so the actual code I used was "9" - the rest was me faking key presses 8-).

Teach the kids, please. Otherwise we'll stop making things safer, which is never a good idea..

What a great idea! (1)

Cow Jones (615566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36591540)

I wish I had a kid of my own... I would love to send him or her to this conference. When I was a kid, it was perfectly normal and accepted to go to judo or karate classes. What our parents expected was that we would learn how to _defend_ ourselves from attacks, if that ever became necessary. Quite unlikely in the place I grew up, but at the very least we'd learn how to take falls properly, and we'd get regular exercise. This DEFCON Kids conference is just like that. At the very least, the kids get to hear about what can happen on the net, and they learn how to deal with it in a safe environment (yes, safe - because, let's face it, this conference is going to be monitored from here to kingdom come).
Instructors at kids' martial arts classes make it very clear that what you learn there is to be used for sports and self defense only. Kids naturally look up to the instructors, maybe even more so than to their parents, and they learn an important moral lesson at an early age. I think this conference is a great idea. Regular classes with mock intrusions would be even better. I live in a non-english speaking part of Europe, so I can't send my own offspring to DEFCON Kids (and I'd still have to get kids somehow, got to read up on that), but I'm tempted to set up something similar over here.

CJ

subject (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#36596562)

I would take my son if I could afford the extra airfare and $150 DC entry fee for him. Maybe next year.

"Prime targets for criticism include lock picking [...]"

Yeah, it turns out if you practice actual parenting, your kids will be OK with these skills. My son wanted me to make him a set of picks. Since I had already instilled good picking habits in him (don't pick locks you don't own and don't pick locks you rely on), I didn't hesitate to make him some with the extra caveat that they were not to leave the house.

Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36609906)

A lot of us at the first few DEFCON's have kids now.

Get your kids on The List (1)

zorch (136055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36643498)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/30/us-germany-hacking-idUSTRE75T2Q420110630 [reuters.com]

This year it will kick off the first Defcon Kids conference for children between eight and 16 to learn the skills of computer hackers, as well as to protect themselves against cyber attacks.

U.S. federal agents plan to use the occasion to size up tech-savvy youngsters who could form the next generation of digital crime-fighters.

Or the next group of suspects...

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