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In Hacker Highschool, Students Learn To Redesign the Future

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the nsa-recruiting-tool dept.

Education 85

caseyb89 writes "Hacker Highschool is an after school program that teaches students the best practices of responsible hacking. The program is open source, and high schools across the country have begun offering the free program to students. Hacker Highschool recognized that teens are constantly taught that hacking is bad, and they realized that teens' amateur understanding of hacking was the cause of the biggest issues. The program aims to reverse this negative stereotype of hacking by encouraging teens to embrace ethical, responsible hacking."

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On golden wand. (3, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40937971)

In Soviet Russia, high school hacks you.

Re:On golden wand. (5, Funny)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about 2 years ago | (#40938099)

I just awoke from a 30 year long coma, and I find this joke to be fresh and original!

Re:On golden wand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938139)

On Slashdot, the joke is on you!

Re:On golden wand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40940677)

On the joke, the slashdot is in you!

Spelling Check (2)

GerryGilmore (663905) | about 2 years ago | (#40938041)

Actually, the word is "amateur", not "amature" - unkless you mean "not mature"....

Re:Spelling Check (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938157)

mmmmmm, the irony is palpable.

Re:Spelling Check (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#40938175)

But that of course would be "immature"—no, friends, "amature" is a fine example of a brilliant mondegreen malapropism, combining all the best features of the ambiguity of amorality with the passionate interest of amateurishness. It is the state of the teenager who has absolutely no idea what maturity is, and so proceeds through life passionately foolish. Like 4chan.

Re:Spelling Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938721)

Dear 4chan failfags,
You may or may not read this, but it is the best that I can do.
I hope this reaches you somehow, since it is very important for you to see this.

I just wanted to say that you are all the biggest piece of shit trolls and fucking wanna-bes I have ever seen in my life. All of you are a bunch of utter fucking good-for-nothings who sit on your ass all day and jerk off to child porn. All of you should be fucking shot and every time someone mentions 4chan I feel like I want to punch my fucking dog in the face.

I bet I couldn't find a single fucking one of you that would be worth his weight on this website. All you are probably the biggest, the most uneducated, boring, cowardly pieces of shit the internet has to offer.

Reading your shit here makes me fucking laugh. That you seriously think places like 4chan, and anything that goes on here means shit all.

--actual 4chan thread OP circa right now [4chan.org]

And the very first reply is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938749)

drumroll please for the very first reply........

Can you timestamp your cock for us OP?

:) 4chan

Re:Spelling Check (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#40939331)

Or instead it might be used to refer to those individuals who, possessing the wisdom of experience, decide that the cultural demarcations of "maturity" are non-productive, even counter-productive, and cast them off in preference of a more childlike irreverence for propriety. I believe the traditional Taoist philosopher filled such a niche, and reportedly delighted in tweaking the nose of their rigidly proper Confucian contemporaries (In a playfully benevolent manner, of course. It's been said that neither philosophy can be fully understood except in it's relation to the other)

Re:Spelling Check (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#40939967)

I'm pretty sure that's postmaturity. Postrock, postmodern, postmature.

Re:Spelling Check (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#40941447)

Postmaturity... I like it.

Re:Spelling Check (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#40941883)

Or instead it might be used to refer to those individuals who, possessing the wisdom of experience, decide that the cultural demarcations of "maturity" are non-productive, even counter-productive, and cast them off in preference of a more childlike irreverence for propriety. I believe the traditional Taoist philosopher filled such a niche, and reportedly delighted in tweaking the nose of their rigidly proper Confucian contemporaries (In a playfully benevolent manner, of course. It's been said that neither philosophy can be fully understood except in it's relation to the other)

And suddenly the Hurd was enlightened.

Re:Spelling Check (1)

twmcneil (942300) | about 2 years ago | (#40938271)

I was scratching my head trying to figure out the intended meaning of that sentence. Thank you for the clarification.

Re:Spelling Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938385)

Did anyone else hear that "whooooosssshhhhhhhhhh"?

Re:Spelling Check (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#40941893)

Did anyone else hear that "whooooosssshhhhhhhhhh"?

Do you mean like someone blowing on a microphone? I'll keep my ears pealed for it.

Re:Spelling Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40946101)

Actually, the word is "unless", not "unkless". Unless you mean "sans uncle".

Hacking was always good. (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#40938097)

The bad people just got the title 'Hacker' assigned by stupid, lazy people in the media -- you know, the kind who are utterly mistified as to why anyone would want to surf a web.

Re:Hacking was always good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938243)

Just give up on the term already.

Pick a new word to describe hacking. They don't know what it was called before, they won't notice.
Then 'hackers' can be the bad guys everyone wants them to be, but we aren't 'hackers' anymore, so we don't care.
Everyone is happy.

Re:"we" (2)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#40938311)

its funny how you assume yourself to be one of the good guys

Re:Hacking was always good. (1)

anubi (640541) | about 2 years ago | (#40938361)

For me, the word "hacking" is a term used to denote taking something intended for one purpose and using it for another purpose.

Its the ultimate in recycling..

To do this right, it requires enough intelligence to understand how the thing you have works, what you want it to do, and how to arrange things to get what you have to do what you want it to do,

What's not respectable in that?

Re:Hacking was always good. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939661)

You want to understand how a gadget works? That's against the DMCA, you terrorist hacker criminal scum. Be a good consumer and drop that screwdriver right now or I'll be forced to put you down.

Re:Hacking was always good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939839)

For me, the word "hacking" is a term used to denote taking something intended for one purpose and using it for another purpose.

Its the ultimate in recycling..

Yes, there is a great deal that students might explore using recycled components. They should be exposed to a variety of things and experiment with something that they find fun and challenging, not a chore. When there is a level of excitement involved, brain chemistry is altered, better supporting being creative and remembering things. There's a serious need to awaken a creative spark in people.

Re:Hacking was always good. (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#40941903)

For me, the word "hacking" is a term used to denote taking something intended for one purpose and using it for another purpose.

Its the ultimate in recycling..

Sort of Object Oriented theft?

Re:Hacking was always good. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40946861)

Sort of Object Oriented theft?

How is my doing anything I want to any piece of equipment I own in any way "theft"? When I was a teen in the '60s, guitar fuzzboxes cost well over a hundred dollars, I'd make them out of a ten dollar transistor radio and two dollars worth of parts.

I guess I was a theif, then. I was always hacking hardware. I guess I'm still a thief, because I'm in the process of turning an old computer into a DVR.

Re:Hacking was always good. (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#40952525)

Sort of Object Oriented theft?

How is my doing anything I want to any piece of equipment I own in any way "theft"? When I was a teen in the '60s, guitar fuzzboxes cost well over a hundred dollars, I'd make them out of a ten dollar transistor radio and two dollars worth of parts.

I guess I was a theif, then. I was always hacking hardware. I guess I'm still a thief, because I'm in the process of turning an old computer into a DVR.

Nothing you describe is theft. Sorry if you thought otherwise.

Re:Hacking was always good. (1)

vlad30 (44644) | about 2 years ago | (#40939959)

Just give up on the term already.

Pick a new word to describe hacking. They don't know what it was called before, they won't notice. Then 'hackers' can be the bad guys everyone wants them to be, but we aren't 'hackers' anymore, so we don't care. Everyone is happy.

I always liked "Macguyvered" although that seems to be used for improvised

Re:Hacking was always good. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#40943975)

The truth that no hacker wants to acknowledge is that they find it actually cool to be occasionally mistaken for the bad guys.

Re:Hacking was always good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938325)

Shave your neckbeard and take a bath, fatty.

ethical, responsible hacking (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#40938145)

All defined by who you hack.

Re:ethical, responsible hacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938675)

Well, if they're trying to draw attention to the original definition of the word which is to "find a clever solution to a problem", I have a hard time seeing who they could "hack" and it be considered unethical or irresponsible. If you mean find a clever solution in some way that trespasses on somebody's property or harms their person, well, that's unethical and irresponsible no matter how you do it so pointing out that the virtually infinite ways to kineticize either or both of the aforementioned behaviors towards someone also include hacking is redundant in the extreme.

Disappointed... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#40938191)

I thought it said "redesign the furniture".

Hold on a minute! (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#40938259)

This may be just what the great security-bureaucracy of the US finally needs to take over the internet; pestilent waves of freshly hatched script-kiddies defacing the front-pages of their overlords!
Or will it conversely be the knowledge that the masses so vitally need to see clearly through the hysterical rhetoric of the cyber-paranoid?

Re:Hold on a minute! (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#40938333)

maybe then a new wave of "hackers" will come along and drop sea mines on undersea fibre cables and launch antisat missiles at geostationaries over the US to isolate these fresh waves of script-kiddies

Re:Hold on a minute! (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#40938545)

Surely a centrally-managed internet ID for all would mitigate against such atrocious acts of violence. I know I'd never drop a mine on sub-sea fiber-cables if I had to post comments with my real name -- and I'd not even dare launch a missile if SOPA or ACTA were in effect, nor do I suspect would the Chinese, or even worse; the Canadians. Maybe so. Maybe so. But now that I think of it, I'd never do these things anyway. But just in case someone else would, at least the authorities wouldn't need a pesky warrant to know about it in advance.

What we really need is a Digital Blackwater [eccentrici...gency.info]

Re:Hold on a minute! (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#40943373)

They won't give written tests at the Hacker High School; when you enroll you are given an automatic "F."

It's up to you to hack in and change it to an "A."

Re:Hold on a minute! (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#40946237)

That actually would make for a reasonable curriculum and would be fun. Problem-solving, critical-thinking, with a tasty but menacing carrot dangling about.

Re:Hold on a minute! (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#40946813)

...come to think of it - might as well make it "PASS - FAIL."

No one would hack in to give themselves a 'C!'

Loaded term. (4, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#40938299)

"Hacker" is a loaded term. It might not be fair, but that is the fact of the matter. As such "Hacker Highschool" is doomed to attract everything from raised eyebrows to terminology-holy-wars. (Speaking of holy-wars, try having a rational discussion over the meaning of "jihad"). Maybe that is the point -- to attract attention. Whatever the case, concept of "hacking" is ill-served by the term.

People should be curious, and free to pursue that curiosity in a responsible matter. That isn't something to learn, it is something to avoid un-learning. Once you have had it stamped out of your soul, I really wonder if you can pick it up again.

Re:Loaded term. (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#40938573)

As such "Hacker Highschool" is doomed to attract everything from raised eyebrows to terminology-holy-wars.

Perfect. Sounds like a gimme for easy publicity. Not only that but one of their main goals is to "reverse this negative stereotype of hacking by encouraging teens to embrace ethical, responsible hacking". So if they are doing good work that fits the original definition of hacking and part of their mission is to change the perception of the word hacking then what better way to do that than to associate good deeds with "Hacker Highschool".

Re:terminology-holy-wars (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#40938701)

(Satire)
We all know that Hackers are terrorists, right? The EULA-Abiding masses should never be clicking anywhere outside the nice little boxes on the page.

So we can power the state of Montana with the clash between National Security and Think of the Children, right?

"Let's train our children to be terrorists!"

Re:Loaded term. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938751)

The meaning of the term hacker hasn't changed and isn't the problem. Hackers have always been perceived as intruders, as trouble. They've always seen themselves as students and masters of techology, driven by curiosity more than anything else.

What has changed is the environment. The law has become stricter, prosecution of violations has become much more relentless, enforcement more ubiquitous and punishment harsher. It has simply become quite dangerous to be a hacker, which means that well-meaning hackers no longer hack other people's systems. Even hacking your store bought hardware and talking about it can get you into trouble these days. The kind of hacking which normal people perceive as hacking has become black hat territory. People who have motives other than curiosity are not so easily deterred. That's why the "good guys" call themselves security researchers nowadays, and they almost need to be experts of the law too to avoid the many pitfalls.

Re:Loaded term. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939143)

It hasn't changed since the mid nineties when you kids got internet connection and information started flowing into your mom's basement.
A hacker was originally someone who could take a UNIX program and coerce it to work as he intended. A subset of these hackers used their knowledge to break into other people's systems.
Break is too strong of a word here as the defences were akin to sticking a "DO NOT ENTER" mattrix printed label on your dorm.
So, one of these hackers got arrested and then published a book which is what really created the modern hacker term. It is disputed wether their "community" was already using the word in that sense.
It didn't really penetrate the general public until the infamous movie that shall not be named aired, though.

Re:Loaded term. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939363)

Hacker lore is older than the 90s, even the network intrusion kind of stuff. I have a book from 1992 sitting on the shelf behind me that talks of hackers in past tense. The "Hacker Manifesto" is from 1986. Phrack was published from 1985 and uses "hacking" from the very first issue. Naturally, with the Internet still in its infancy at universities, hacking networks mostly meant hacking the phone network back then, but it was already hacking in the sense that most people associate with the term. The internet is great stuff, but it's advent to the mainstream wasn't the start of everything. Besides, Hackers is a great movie. If you think otherwise, you're taking it too seriously.

Re:Loaded term. (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 2 years ago | (#40947857)

When I was teenager in the mid 1970s, we called it "hacking", but we also knew about the "MIT" definition of the word. Probably because the MIT computers (which did not have security) were one of the most interesting things we discovered while hacking (mostly password guessing) into systems on the ARPANET. Some other ("real") hacking did involve exploting failure-to-bounds-check deficiencies in some operating systems.

1990s or 1980s phhht. Kids. Lawn.

Re:Loaded term. (2)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#40940637)

The meaning of the term hacker hasn't changed and isn't the problem. Hackers have always been perceived as intruders, as trouble. They've always seen themselves as students and masters of techology, driven by curiosity more than anything else.

Just look up "hack" in the dictionary (e.g. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Hack [reference.com] ). Calling yourself a "hacker" is pretty much asking to be viewed in a pejorative light.

Which is probably not a coincidence. "Tinkerer" sounds lame. "Hacker" is edgy.

Re:Loaded term. (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40946645)

Hmmm... until now, I respected that dictionary, but its definition of "hack" is sorely lacking. As a noun, "hack" can also mean a cab driver or a magazine writer, and those weren't included.

They do better with "hacker" though --

hackÂerâ
noun
1. a person or thing that hacks.
2. Slang . a person who engages in an activity without talent or skill: weekend hackers on the golf course.
3. Computer Slang .
a. a computer enthusiast.

b. a microcomputer user who attempts to gain unauthorized access to proprietary computer systems.
Origin:
1200â"50; Middle English (as surname); see hack1 , -er

Which is probably not a coincidence. "Tinkerer" sounds lame.

Thats a good example of the evolution of language. Before there were engines, engineers wer called "tinkers" becaise of the TINK TINK sounds they made bending metal. So if you were repurposing someone else's invention, rather than "re-engineering" (since there were no engines) you were "tinkering" with it. The tinker morphed into tinkerer after the invention of engines, which were, of course, invented by tinkers. Or tinkerers.

Re:Loaded term. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939443)

The concept of ethics will be ill-served by state-run McHacking as well, as it were. But you will get one of those nice white hats and get to pontificate self-righteously.

 

Re:Loaded term. (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40941507)

"Hacker" is a loaded term. It might not be fair, but that is the fact of the matter. As such "Hacker Highschool" is doomed to attract everything from raised eyebrows to terminology-holy-wars.

The term is not all that bad, so they're bound to have more than a few parents interested in it.

Plus, it's a term that will get the high school a fair share of free publicity for it. Branding-wise, I think they made the right call. A "computer programming high school" or a "computer science high school" simply would never attract the same level of attention.

Hacking isnt bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938305)

I refer you to the words of The Mentor, who can describe it better than I ever could:

Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...
Damn kids. They're all alike.
But did you, in your three- piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him? I am a hacker, enter my world... Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...
Damn underachiever. They're all alike.
I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..."
Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.
I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me... Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks I'm a smart ass.. Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...
Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.
And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found. "This is it... this is where I belong..." I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...
Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...
You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert. This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual,but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

+++The Mentor+++

[May the members of the phreak community never forget his words -JR]

Source: http://www.angelfire.com/freak2/r4v3n_phr34k/lastwords.html [angelfire.com]

I hope they don't try to teach math... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938393)

Now, my math may be a bit off, but I read through their "Lesson 12 - Passwords" and found this sentence:

With a 2 letter password, and 26 letters in the alphabet, plus 10 numbers (ignoring symbols),
there are 236 possible combinations (687,000,000 possibilities).

And I can't for the life of me get those numbers. (26+10)^2 = 1296, right? Or if we count uppercase (26+26+10)^2 = 3844
The square root (only two characters) of 687,000,000 is ~26,210. Last time I checked, there are not 26210 writable characters in our alphabet. Or in UTF-8 for that matter.

Increase the password length to
8 characters, and there are 836 combinations (324,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
possibilities).

836 combinations? Now im just confused. That's even less than 4 two letter passwords! (4*236 = 944)
And where does that 323*10^30 possibilities come from?
I can't be THIS bad at math, can I ?

Re:I hope they don't try to teach math... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938533)

This nigger thinks it's people.

Re:I hope they don't try to teach math... (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#40938599)

maybe its really training to make potential hackers more stupid

ps. i couldn't figure out how they get 687 million possibilities for a 2 character password with only alphanumeric characters either, and i'm supposed to be an engineer (though i'll admit to anyone that i need a calculator to add numbers together). actually i'm not even sure of what is meant by combinations and possibilities. i haven't done combinatorics for a long time, but i thought combinations=possibilities (think of cracking a safe combination lock, which is usually like a 4 numeral password). maybe we're both THIS bad at math... look out anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves in a building that i've been involved in the design of.

Re:I hope they don't try to teach math... (3, Insightful)

moeinvt (851793) | about 2 years ago | (#40944737)

They mistakenly did 2^36 instead of 36^2.

I'll always remember the words of my HS maths teacher "A combination lock should be called a permutation lock".

With a safe or a password, "possibilities" means "permutations". 123 is distinct from 132 in that case. If we're talking "combinations", those are the same.

Re:I hope they don't try to teach math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939607)

Why not ping them an email with the question, and if you have suggestions to improve it, become a contributor. That you cannot work out the maths may mean it's either in need of correction, or in need of a clearer explanation how that number came to be. Or your math sucks, but that would be an unkind assumption. A lot of this stuff was written on a very short time, so errors may exist - go and help out.

Regards, one of the contributors.

Re:I hope they don't try to teach math... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939689)

I think it's a typographic mistake and 236 is meant to be 2^36 (superscript got lost somewhere). That's 68,719,476,736 (so their calculator isn't working either). This also explains the "836 combinations", which they mean to be 8^36 (3.24E32). Of course all of these numbers are horribly wrong. The same text with the same typographic mistake and the same wrong math appears several times on the Internet, but the lesson is dated 2004, so it may well be the source of those copies.

There used to be "bomb building manuals" as far back as the BBS era where an attempt to build one of the devices would qualify the evil anarchist for the Darwin Award. What I'm trying to say is that "free tutorials" on doing illegal things have a long history of preying on the gullible.

Re:I hope they don't try to teach math... (2)

GNorman505 (2704899) | about 2 years ago | (#40941479)

Good catch - and one of the errors in the 2004 version that we caught in the review process for the 2012 edition. You'll see the new versions begin to arrive on the download page of HackerHighSchool.org soon. Give the new lesson a read when we've finished reviewing and release it. I think you'll appreciate how far we've been able to raise the quality of the curriculum, mostly because of a really terrific group of contributors. If you're this careful a reader, we'd be glad to have you join us. Glenn Norman HHS v2 Project Manager

"Hacking is bad" (4, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | about 2 years ago | (#40938427)

I don't recall this being an issue when I was in highschool (a mere 6-10 years ago). There weren't too many resources to encourage learning and advancement in computer science outside of your really basic CS courses and AP programs that taught Java (3 or 4?), and how uninspired they were. I think that was the main issue. Lack of resources. I ended up buying K&R, Stroustrup, Irvine, and some other college-level texts and reading myself to learn. If I had much more resources available to me, I would've been years ahead of that even. By the time I was in my first year of college, I already knew more than the 4 years at university would have taught me (sans a few algorithms, but that was later corrected with Intro to Algorithms, which was far better than anything on our curriculum). This prompted me to change my major because outside of a top-5 CS school, there wasn't the available resources and people to really push me. Math, however, was suitable, and far more difficult, I found. I had to spend a lot of my own free time finding resources to fuel my desire to learn. I think this was the main problem, between 5-10 years ago in terms of educating young hackers. Finding the odd RCE paper, agner's papers, some defcon/blackhat stuff, leading to more research papers from people at MIT/Stanford/etc was the real source of insight for me, outside of some classic CS texts. To this day, those fields still have a very high barrier to entry, and not for any good reason I can tell.

As far as "hacking is bad", in 8th grade I pointed out that I could access my teacher's drive containing grade books from our lab, circumventing the group policy that prevented me from opening a 'Run' box or 'My Computer' or navigating there in explorer. I just opened up anything with a Save As, knowing that dialog wasn't at the time tied to policies and navigated over to network places and could see everything, and everything was on public shares (WTF upon WTF). I got kicked out of the lab for a day for pointing that out, and I don't know if they ever fixed it, but that was the extent of punishment there for "hacking." I also nearly got fired from my first job in college for attempting to implement a roaming trojan on our CS lab's computers (they had this annoying habit of restarting after 15 minutes of inactivity when logged off with DeepFreeze). Since we had administrative access via our logins, the idea was to write a simple tool that would bounce from computer to computer like a fire, keeping it alive even though DeepFreeze was installed on the lab (the only way to extinguish it would be to reboot the entire lab at once). The reason? Our files for projects were stored on network drives in a heavily firewalled lab-accessible only location. And that's also where we were to submit homework. So instead of being able to submit homework from another lab on campus (there were quite a few more), or from wireless, we had to go over to the CS lab during lab hours, log-in (took 15 minutes sometimes), and somehow manage to move our files to the lab machine (USB or e-mail, fun times) and then finally copy them into the homework directory. My goal was to have that trojan running in the lab and have it connect out on port 80 to a server of mine so I could submit my homework at any time from anywhere (hallelujah!). Nevertheless, while trying to break some things, I inadvertently e-mailed myself some toolage to my university e-mail address instead of gmail, which got flagged by the antivirus, and which got my boss asking "why are you sending yourself this tool" which then led to them noticing I sent it from one of the CS lab computers, which meant I had the actual files on a lab computer.. ouch. Simple mistakes, yeah?

It's never been about the malice. It's always because a roadblock is in the way: how do I get around it, or an incredibly difficult question being posed: how do I make this do what I want? And that way of thinking about everything is why I have the skills I have today, and why I was interested in CS. I think we need to foster and allow such creativity. If you run a CS department with such a horrible lab setup as that, either fix it when the students ask (I did), allow the students to implement a reasonable solution (mine was far from reasonable, but was fun nonetheless), or in the event that someone rises to the capacity far exceeding what's expected of them to overcome a problem, NEVER get in the way, because stopping someone from doing something extraordinary is the best way to kill enthusiasm and creativity. At worst, we should redirect a potentially damaging idea like mine to a more controlled region (say 2 unused computers on the same network, if only to test if the thing would've worked, and maybe apply some self-guided study credits for it).

We just need more availability of resources to students at every level of difficulty and over a broad range of topics and we need to encourage kids to be curious and figure things out, even try to break things (that's how we test our code, so why not). Then again, with all the recent media hysteria over "cybercrime", "cyberwarfare", "lulzsec", etc, perhaps people are getting a little more scared of what is possible with computers. Ignorance, that's all. When you point out that Apple will reset anyone's password if you just ask them to [slashdot.org] , and then mention "that's not hacking, that's just how insecure most things are," perhaps you can make people understand that it's not technical skill with computers that's dangerous, it's WTFs like that [thedailywtf.com] .

Re:"Hacking is bad" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40940061)

The extent of punishment for "hacking" at my highschool some 15 years ago? I got expelled and almost prosecuted for a federal crime!

I was barely 15 at the time and the things I did were far too simple to warrant expelling me, especially when drugs and fighting were merely waved off or suspended. Legally I was required to finish one more year of school which proved to be difficult as I was blacklisted by every high school in my city. I had to finish my year (which was only a couple weeks in) by attending a 10 week course 1 day a week for 4 hours.

On the upside a few weeks after that I received my first video game contract to create a game and years later managed to get into an exclusive biomolecular science degree that only accepted 15 students per year. Though I do still have some weak spots in my education, particularly in english as I'm more of a math geek and have never taken the time to educate myself on the proper use of language.. So be gentle on my mistakes here ;)

I was always a little curious as to why my mother never went nuclear on my ass and simply pinned it down to a bit of good luck! A few years later I found out she did explode just not at me. The principle of the school apparently got a massive lecture on why they would expel a kid who was clearly bored due to a lack of challenges at school and placed the blame on the school for failing to properly educate me.

Re:"Hacking is bad" (1)

beschra (1424727) | about 2 years ago | (#40942119)

Glad to see you made good out of a really crappy experience. Cheers!

Re:"Hacking is bad" (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about 2 years ago | (#40942737)

Though I do still have some weak spots in my education, particularly in english as I'm more of a math geek and have never taken the time to educate myself on the proper use of language.. So be gentle on my mistakes here ;)

As far as I can tell, you write as well as most of the other students I knew from classes as an English major at Berkeley, so it doesn't appear to have been a major setback... I recently started teaching myself 'proper' writing and grammar, as my schools didn't bother beyond the basics in elementary school -- if you're curious about it in the future, I've found 3 books that make the task more entertaining and are pretty good references:
The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed [amazon.com]
The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed [amazon.com]
Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English [amazon.com]

sociopathic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40940955)

Zero respect for the use of someone else's equipment on their terms. Your trojan is the most egregious example. The computers are not yours, yet you think you are entitled to make them operate to your liking at the detriment of their security. RMS would be proud.

You want the benefits of the education system (the paper) that are conferred by playing by the rules without actually playing by the rules.

You're right about killing enthusiasm & creativity. but this is not how you fix it. You just get people unreasonably pissed off at you because you can't respect personal property. Sure, it's fun and creative to subvert stupid access controls, but don't delude yourself into thinking you're in the right.

How did people fix stupid crap at my university? "Hack" the social structure to put yourself in charge of the labs and policy via undergrad research or simply volunteering. Write your own super secure homework submission tool as a "favor" to a professor you're in good with.

But I guess doing that doesn't get you street cred with your gangstas. Just gets you labeled as a brownoser.

Anyone here at Oxford or Cambridge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938453)

I rejected Oxford after 1) finding out the number of people there from private school, suggesting that potential was being mismeasured; 2) finding out the number there who went on to make a lot of money or gain a lot of power without contributing to the advancement of humanity.

Ten years later, I wonder whether I made the right decision. Is Oxbridge really that easy that someone not 100% dedicated to their field can still get in and succeed? If not, how come people who aren't 100% dedicated to their field get in?

they are being taught bad manners (2)

ozduo (2043408) | about 2 years ago | (#40938525)

wicktionary defines hack as (intransitive) To cough noisily. [from the 19th c.] I was taught to cough quietly!

Oxymoron (-1, Troll)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | about 2 years ago | (#40938603)

"ethical, responsible hacking" ... Really? Is that what Stuxnet was???

Buy these kids an Arduino dev kit. (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | about 2 years ago | (#40938663)

If I was a young geek I'd much rather be hacking Arduino or Lego Mindstorms...

Re:Buy these kids an Arduino dev kit. (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#40943315)

smack you for suggesting that hackers could possibly be anything other than cool sunglasses wearing superhumans who always take the red pill... actually i think seeing sandra bullock in "The Net" was enough to put me off hacking for the rest of my life

ps. mindstorms is awesome

In Hacker HIghschool, Students Learn to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40938719)

spell "HIGH SCHOOL" correctly.

Moron editorz.

Yours In Novosibirsk,
K. Trout, C.T.O.

Re:In Hacker HIghschool, Students Learn to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941325)

Go fuck yourself

APK
P.S.=>

You deserve to have your testicles ripped off and fed to your mother.

Re:In Hacker HIghschool, Students Learn to (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#40943325)

You deserve to have your testicles ripped off and fed to your mother.

P.S. => maybe you should take his testicles out of your mouth before you do that

Re:In Hacker HIghschool, Students Learn to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40942459)

To be fair, it's misspelled like that across the whole freaking HHS website.

Which *really* gives me a lot of confidence in their ability to contribute anything useful to the permanent revolution,,,

Yours in Guadalajara,

L.D. Trotsky

oh yeah (0)

GarretSidzaka (1417217) | about 2 years ago | (#40939411)

like extra-judicial DDoS attacks on Demonoid and WikiLeaks. Real ethical.

NSA recruiting indeed

Re:oh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939529)

I'm actually one of the contributors, and I can recommend that making that tiny little effort to inform yourself before you comment would make a world of difference..

We manage to teach that to 11.13 year olf kids, so I would assume you ought to manage that too.

oh great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40939639)

Now we are going to have a bunch of dumbasses who would have just been script kiddies THINKING they were doing something, to vengeful little twats who are going to cause mischief.

What happened to the days of, "if you want to be a hacker, figure it out?"

At Hacker Highschool... (3, Funny)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | about 2 years ago | (#40941289)

...everyone gets F's. If they can't figure out how to break in and change it to a better grade, they don't deserve to pass.

Re:At Hacker Highschool... (1)

GNorman505 (2704899) | about 2 years ago | (#40941491)

Brilliant!

Re:At Hacker Highschool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40942605)

Bet they all get A's and one guy is richer and the rest are slightly poorer.

Re:At Hacker Highschool... (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#40943339)

the last one to hack the system would surely change everyone else's grade to an F and his own to an A, so that he is the only one to pass

Idiot Proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941663)

Does it teach them the difference between hacking vs. cracking? Seems to me they should start there.

Individual expression (I know it's corny) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40941701)

The hacker ethos is 'put your brain-cells to work in clever ways'. Now 90% of the people in the world are either not clever or don't want to be so we rule them out. That gives us '10% -ish of high school students' to enthuse with 'there it is - that's the world - get on with it!' Most /.ers were there once whether it was hacking punched cards or Minecraft.[I'm guessing here. (>55)]

The crunch of the matter is that there is a lot to learn by pushing the boundaries. If you get good at it you are likely to _have developed_ an aptitude for efficient programming and fixing the stupidities of 'older and wiser and better paid' others.

It works in sex ed classes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40943153)

It's okay to to this or do that but you have to use best practices and follow safety protocols.

ethereal is taught! awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40943983)

http://www.hackerhighschool.org/lessons/HHS_en7_Attack_Analysis.pdf [hackerhighschool.org]

It was hard enought to find a course that would teach you the basics ethereal... awesome!

Redesign the future? (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 2 years ago | (#40944673)

Gag me with a bar of soap.

Education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40982333)

Nice One! Get more information about this http://goo.gl/u5AX3

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