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Want a Security Pro? Get Politically Incorrect and Learn Geek Culture

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the fight-trolls-with-trolls dept.

Security 314

coondoggie writes "While complaints can be heard far and wide that it's hard to find the right IT security experts to defend the nation's cyberspace, the real problem in hiring security professionals is the roadblocks put up by lawyers and human resources personnel and a complete lack of understanding of geek culture, says security consultant Winn Schwartau. Take Janet Napolitano, U.S. secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, who has said the country can't find the right people for network defense. The real problem is a misunderstanding of computer geeks, their personalities, habits and their backgrounds, said Schwartau today during his talk at the Hacker Halted information security conference."

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Article is stupid. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811379)

Writer is an idiot with limited comprehension of just about everything.

Re:Article is stupid. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811481)

Writer is an idiot with limited comprehension of just about everything.

So much for an article about learning geek culture.

My mother's basement is well defended (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811383)

My mother's basement is well defended !!!!!!!

The Right People (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811417)

People who accept an 80k for 40k for the govt.

Re:The Right People (4, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#41811795)

Don't forget the background checks where they spend six months or more interviewing your family and past employers. And the random drug tests. And polygraph tests. And the credit check. And...

Re:The Right People (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812257)

... every time you leave the country you have to fill out paperwork about where you are going and who you are going to see. Do they think I am 16?

Re:The Right People (1)

bfandreas (603438) | about 2 years ago | (#41812409)

...and the ineffectual process is devised by lawyers who have contracted the horrible affliction of becoming a politician. They try to hire some guy who looks well in a suit, has the right non-related diploma who will do anything to further his career.

I wonder when basic - and by that I mean really basic - philosophy has dropped out of our curriculum. It's not as if common sense were an arcane art lost to the ages and bank portfolios. We seem to have replaced it with non-controversy and lazy thinking.

I RTFA - about as deep as a parking lot puddle (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811463)

What a waste of time.

Right (5, Insightful)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41811491)

And the Catholic Church could prop up its declining clergy membership by recruiting straight from the local sex offender registry.

Seriously, what the fuck? "Legal niceties" is another term for these rules are in place because we don't want to get fucked over again by someone we trusted. They're there for a reason, and actively circumventing them to search for applicants is inviting yourself to get burned. Maybe some of them could be relaxed, sure, like the one-time drug offense bit for security clearances. But just saying "they're narrowing our pool of applicants!"...Shit, Sherlock, that's why they exist!

Re:Right (2)

ehiris (214677) | about 2 years ago | (#41811627)

With a few exceptions, the reason most exist is because of a lot of greedy lawyers.

Re:Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811777)

And the Catholic Church could prop up its declining clergy membership by recruiting straight from the local sex offender registry.

Seriously, what the fuck? "Legal niceties" is another term for these rules are in place because we don't want to get fucked over again by someone we trusted. They're there for a reason, and actively circumventing them to search for applicants is inviting yourself to get burned. Maybe some of them could be relaxed, sure, like the one-time drug offense bit for security clearances. But just saying "they're narrowing our pool of applicants!"...Shit, Sherlock, that's why they exist!

lol

Re:Right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811963)

And the Catholic Church could prop up its declining clergy membership by recruiting straight from the local sex offender registry.

That wouldn't work.

Most of them are heterosexuals.

Re:Right (5, Informative)

jlechem (613317) | about 2 years ago | (#41812191)

I agree 100%, I used to work for a DoD contractor that required secret security clearance. Somehow I managed to pass but I referred several people who didn't make it past the preliminary background check. All of them were extremely competent and excellent programmers. However I found some were because of bankruptcy and others had actual criminal backgrounds. I agree loosening the rules would increase the pool of applicants but in the eyes of the US government who are you trusting with what can be very sensitive information. They only want squeaky clean individuals to keep their risk down. But then they get guys like Bradley Manning who decide to steal info pretty much from right under his bosses noses so I don't know. It's double sided but I see why they do it.

Re:Right (3, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41812203)

Yep, if I wanted to be a spy (or a manager) I would WANT to drink cocktails and look like James Bond, rather than smoke spliffs and look like Willy Nelson, in fact when I was a manager in the past I did at least wear the uniform, but spliffs have always been better than cocktails. I figure if people are happy to hire me at face value then it follows I am more likely to fit in and enjoy the people around me.

I've had an unusual working life, 15yrs of blue collar, and 20+yrs of white collar, I get along with most people and can hold my own in a conversation with the janitor or the CEO, but I have no respect for superficial judgement. As soon as some cockhead like the guy in TFA tries to pigeon hole me, I will refuse to cooperate. That one rebellious trait makes me unsuitable for security work, I get that. I'm an honest, trustworthy person with a strong loyalty ethic, and with some oil to those rusty neurons could probably get past the technical interview, but I wouldn't hire me for the job so why would they?

Re:Right (2, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 2 years ago | (#41812223)

The problem he is alluding to is quite interesting. We accept double agents. We accept terrorists who are "converted". We accept criminals who have "seen the light of day." But heaven forbid you smoke a doubie! No, that can't be right, that person is distrustful. WTF?

Remember this America went to war against Iraq based on a single opinion! An opinion of an "insider". RIGHT... This is good business because the doubie smoker, well he is a real problem for society and the IT infrastructure.

You've got to admit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811503)

You've got to admin it's pretty hard for the government to hire folks who look like they could be the problem or the solution.

Re:You've got to admit (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41811733)

If you've ever worked for the government, you'll know that they ensure it's hard for them to hire anyone.

Re:You've got to admit (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 years ago | (#41812129)

So you've worked for the Government?

From my experience at the federal level, it's only hard to FIRE a government employee.

Re:You've got to admit (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812457)

I have worked for the Federal Government for some time now (6-7 years). Below is a brief detail of my hiring/firing history.
1 - Apply for intern job (summer 2004), a month (month!) later, go on an interview, be told that I "got the job". Two months (!) later, I start. The first 50 hours are entirely paperwork. I work 20 hours/week for a year after this.
2 - Due to the conditions on my hire, I was only allowed to be employed for 12 months. The plan is to fire me on a Friday, and hire me on Monday (more paperwork). Somebody gets sick, or lazy, or something (never found out). I end up unemployed for a month. My supervisor gives me a bonus (equal to a weeks pay... $240), as an apology.
3 - I get my degree, and get hired on as a full time employee. I start the process early, but it takes three months (during which I work full time at less than half of the full time rate).
4 - I take a temporary assignment. This takes 9 months to set up. It is a two month assignment.
5 - I take another temporary assignment. We don't fill out the paperwork, as it is a lateral for the same pay on the other side of the building.
6 - I find new employment (June 2010). A position is opened up with my name on it. I start mid-January 2011.

Among my group, one of them took over a year to hire (and had to jump through a "temporary hire" hoop in order to wait out a hiring freeze), one of them took 9 months to hire (full time federal), one of them took nine months to hire (full time post-doc contractor), and one of them took 4 months to hire (contractor). I don't know what it looks like in the private sector, but this is INSANE. In a previous federal job, we had two applicants find other employment while we were in the process of hiring them (restarting the 6-9 month process!).

Want to talk waste/fraud/abuse? Have an engineer work 70 hour weeks for 6 months while you try to promote the person who will do the job. This has happened twice in my observation (the first person got promoted out). Fucking disaster.

While you are correct that it is difficult to fire someone (I've seen it done twice), it is also very hard to hire them. It is double-hard to hire people when you tell them that it will be 6 months before they start. You tell that to graduating seniors, and they walk away from the recruiting station.

Re:You've got to admit (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41811751)

Really? Congress could have fooled me to think otherwise.

Re:You've got to admit (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#41811857)

If you've ever worked for the government, you'll know that they ensure it's hard for them to hire anyone.

Really? Congress could have fooled me to think otherwise.

Congress doesn't get hired, the get elected. The process for the later is even more f'd up than the process for the former.

Hey uncle sam! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811529)

Can we get tax write offs for giving you ideas?

I'm sure geeks (3, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | about 2 years ago | (#41811533)

think they deserve special treatment and don't have to be clean, social, pleasant, accountable workers.

newsflash: they do.

Corps and Gov are right to want to make more geeks, so they don't have to make do with the half-defective ones.

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 2 years ago | (#41811723)

"newsflash: they do."

newsflash to your newsflash: then you won't get the best of the pool.

If that's good enough for you, it's good enough for me: I'm not even American, so it's better than enough for me that you don't get the best of the pool.

Re:I'm sure geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811759)

Why should they be exempt? Geeks aren't special.

Follow my rules or find a job elsewhere. I'm not going to put up with bullshit.

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811799)

And then you wind up with the problem of having unqualified staff. Sure they look great and interview well, but they can't do the job required.

Re:I'm sure geeks (4, Interesting)

faedle (114018) | about 2 years ago | (#41811885)

Guess what? The skills that define a "good hacker" are going to tend towards somebody who's "counter-culture."

Most of the really good hackers I've met are very enterprising souls. They don't give a rat's ass about your "rules". They typically are making a passable living working outside the boundaries. They define your rules as "bullshit." They have one motivation: toys. They don't care about your petty office drama, your corporate ladder-climbing, and your marketing bullshit.

It's exactly your mentality that ensures that the US Government (and, by in large, most of the Fortune 500) will continue to fall further behind. Your average hacker can make more in two hours than you'd pay him in a week hacking together some Perl script on a contract basis. And you can bet crime does, in fact, pay here. It pays quite well.

Re:I'm sure geeks (5, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 2 years ago | (#41812173)

I don't want a "good hacker" whose tendencies toward "counter-culture" are a hard-wired reflex. I want a competent engineer who understands what he's working with and knows how to be effective: sometimes by kissing ass, more often than not by saying "fuck off and let me work" with the right level of polish (sometimes none). If your idea of the best of the pool is someone who hacks and tinkers without being able to buckle down to do some real engineering (which means not just being able to pull off epic shit, but doing it in such a way that it's clear that it accomplishes the objective and isn't only documented between the guy's ears), you're asking for movie hackers, not for what you need.

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 2 years ago | (#41812269)

Ok so to get intelligence we want the guy who is clean, knows to be effective and has polish? Really, that is who we want to get terrorist intelligence? Mob intelligence? You name the crime fighting unit (FBI, CIA, Military etc). The problem is that keeping a network safe and away from hackers is the same sort of person. They are not quite legal, not quite illegal. They are towing that line in the middle. They are definitely counter culture and could not give a eff what others think of them.

The intelligence units (maybe they already have these folks) think that network is a cost unit. They are not thinking in terms of cyber war, cyber criminals. I am not saying this is an individual sitting in the basement of their parents home. I am talking about those that work in Russia, or former east republics. These boys and girls are a completely different animal. For them these things are "relative" not "absolute".

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 years ago | (#41812225)

And you can bet crime does, in fact, pay here. It pays quite well.

I suppose you might be right... Eventually, you get caught. Then it's an all expense paid trip to the local "big house" with free meals and health care for the duration of your stay.

Seems to me that the online crime that really pays is not generally done by the lonely hacker living in the basement of his parent's house but the guys who spend years on their plans.

Re:I'm sure geeks (2)

Soluzar (1957050) | about 2 years ago | (#41811971)

They will get a job somewhere else. Possibly working for themselves, or possibly working for someone with a less restrictive hiring policy. They will do just fine, thanks.

It's the employer who rejected them who is missing out.

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811989)

Why do you hire based on arbitrary guidelines? You don't ask desk workers to be marathon runners or graphic artists to speak Swahili so why are you asking computer techs to wear a three piece suit and work 9-5?

Re:I'm sure geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812029)

Deal with the geeks, or half trained monkeys behind keyboards. Your choice.

The geeks are special, they know how to fix your computer. In today's world that makes them special.
You can deal with the reality of the typical geek personality, or you can deal with half trained monkeys. Don't take my word for it though.

BTW: When you are talking to the "Helpdesk" personnel that cannot differentiate between hardware and software errors, you have found a monkey. (Bios not recognizing hard drives IS NOT a software issue, and no I cannot start windows.)

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811889)

"newsflash: they do."

newsflash to your newsflash: then you won't get the best of the pool.

If that's good enough for you, it's good enough for me: I'm not even American, so it's better than enough for me that you don't get the best of the pool.

Do you really think "the best of the pool" means accepting smelly, unwashed, anti-social jerks?

The pool you're looking in must have awfully low standards.

Re:I'm sure geeks (0)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 2 years ago | (#41811913)

Do you really think "the best of the pool" means accepting smelly, unwashed, anti-social jerks?

Stop knocking Vice President Biden!

Re:I'm sure geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812041)

Thanks for making it a political discussion assmuncher.

Re:I'm sure geeks (2)

faedle (114018) | about 2 years ago | (#41811919)

No.

But "the pool" includes people who use drugs recreationally, "ping" somewhere on the Aspbergers/Autism/ADD spectrum (and as a result usually have financial or criminal issues that makes them "unhire-able" by the Government), and to a very large degree don't find a job where there's a lot of spending time in meetings and filling out timesheets and forms to be very rewarding. Often, some of the best candidates have multiples of these issues: some of the best people in security, in fact, have all of these issues.

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 years ago | (#41812151)

"newsflash: they do."

newsflash to your newsflash: then you won't get the best of the pool.

Gee... Having been part of the pool... I'm offended, either by the implication that I lack even the basic social graces, or by the implication that I'm not the best at what I did....

Congrats, you offended a lot of folks in one post.

Re:I'm sure geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812289)

lmao! Cry more, noob.

QQ

Re:I'm sure geeks (3, Insightful)

citizenr (871508) | about 2 years ago | (#41811749)

think they deserve special treatment and don't have to be clean, social, pleasant, accountable workers.

newsflash: they do.

And this is why you get clueless people. Because you hire based on personality and clothes.

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 years ago | (#41812371)

think they deserve special treatment and don't have to be clean, social, pleasant, accountable workers.

newsflash: they do.

And this is why you get clueless people. Because you hire based on personality and clothes.

So show up with your knowledge, reasonably dressed and be pleasant with the people interviewing you and I'll bet they will jump at the chance to hire you. Be a team player, willing to work and eager to help them with their problems and they will be more than willing to keep paying you.

Re:I'm sure geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811787)

Newsflash:

The "defective" ones are already making a killing doing this for the private sector (and criminal enterprises), where they don't typically need to be clean, social, pleasant, or accountable.

Re:I'm sure geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812175)

And universities; where almost no rules apply except getting the job done.

Re:I'm sure geeks (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41811813)

newsflash: Good people get away with it not because they think they can but because they're good people.

Half of my department has social skills that make Al Gore look charismatic in comparison, but they deal with computers and not humans so it is not a qualification requirement and I don't give a shit about it either. There's that one guy that looks anywhere but you when he's talking to you, to the point of making you think he's deliberately ignoring you because he keeps working while discussing things with you. And when mentioned he will simply and bluntly inform you that "merely" telling you something bores him to death, so he has to keep busy with something meaningful while doing it. And behold, he's actually honest, he IS that good that he can flawlessly continue to do whatever task he has at hand while explaining something completely unrelated to you, and that's what I care about.

Since most tech dept heads I know have a similar attitude towards worker choice (function over form), techs actually CAN get away with it if, and only if (!), they are really that good. There are limits (please shower and use some kind of deodorant, at least during Summer), but good techs can actually get away with quite a bit.

Re:I'm sure geeks (1)

chispito (1870390) | about 2 years ago | (#41812253)

There's that one guy that looks anywhere but you when he's talking to you, to the point of making you think he's deliberately ignoring you because he keeps working while discussing things with you. And when mentioned he will simply and bluntly inform you that "merely" telling you something bores him to death, so he has to keep busy with something meaningful while doing it. And behold, he's actually honest, he IS that good that he can flawlessly continue to do whatever task he has at hand while explaining something completely unrelated to you, and that's what I care about

You know, just to put this out there, your coworker may have Asperger Syndrome. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspergers [wikipedia.org]

Re:I'm sure geeks (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41812181)

Are we talking about the same corps and government that are typically bent on screwing over as many people as possible in order to make a buck? Geeks are the only sane ones.

Hiring the right people (4, Insightful)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about 2 years ago | (#41811551)

Your assumption is that the government hires people capable to actually solve the problem. It does, but only in war times. In war times you lose ground when you follow the wrong path. When yo sent the horses against the machine guns. Governments are not interested to actually solve the problem but rather to be in charge of the problem. We know that many security issues could be solved. Simply spent a few millions on security reviews of commonly executed code. and order the companies to provide bug fixes or apply punitive damages, make them partly liable for not fixing security issues.

Re:Hiring the right people (1)

danlip (737336) | about 2 years ago | (#41811731)

The US has been at war for the last 10 years.

Re:Hiring the right people (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#41811853)

Yeah, but in a war they can't lose. That's like calling a boxing match between the heavyweight champion and a 3 year old a fight. You needn't give up control because there's simply nothing at stake.

WW2 was, as far as I'm concerned, the last time where the US actually could get into some serious trouble if they didn't muster any and all effort to fight, and where winning was neither certain nor meaningless.

Re:Hiring the right people (1)

Cwix (1671282) | about 2 years ago | (#41812067)

Wars involve sacrifice, from both military and citizens. The citizens didn't even notice there was a war. American Idol and Survivor distracted them successfully. Ohh a squirrel.....

Re:Hiring the right people (1)

_8553454222834292266 (2576047) | about 2 years ago | (#41812095)

We haven't declared war in a long time. Sure been a lot of illegal military actions since then though.

Re:Hiring the right people (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811823)

... When yo sent the horses against the machine guns ...

The key to success is sometimes keeping an open mind and picking the right tool for the right job given the current circumstances. There were occasions on WW2's Eastern Front where saber equipped horse cavalry won the day over machine guns. The machine guns malfunctioned due to extreme winter weather.

Sometimes you need hairy smelly beasts that make a mess of their surroundings. Just keep them away from normal living and working spaces. ;-)

"roadblocks put up by lawyers and human resources" (3, Insightful)

M. Baranczak (726671) | about 2 years ago | (#41811555)

This isn't even specific to the IT field. This is a problem with every organization that hires people. Unless the organization is too small to have lawyers or human resources.

Re:"roadblocks put up by lawyers and human resourc (2)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#41811713)

Unless the organization is too small to have lawyers or human resources.

And this is why I gave up working for big organisations - I want to spend my time doing a useful job rather than constantly battling against other departments (such as HR) who seem intent on making sure there's as little productivity as possible.

Marijuana/Drug Laws (5, Informative)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about 2 years ago | (#41811611)

I haven't met a too many good hackers who haven't, at least at one time, engaged in some drug use -- whether it be smoking weed (usually), tripping on mushrooms/acid, or cocaine etc..it seems to permeate the culture quite a bit.

A couple three-letter agencies once tried to recruit me, but I didn't want to stop going to festivals/parties, smoking pot, etc. It felt like I would have to become a square and this job would be my life, and I'd have to disown much of the culture I was associated with previously. Plus, I thought if I went forward, I'd never get past the polygraph where they ask you tons of questions about drug use, and it would just be a waste of time.

For context, I am an IT professional with a specialization in security and about 20-40% of my workload is security related.

Maybe if drug testing wasn't required, these agencies would get more applicants. But no one wants to piss in a cup on a monthly basis to work at a rate of pay less than they could get at companies that don't drug test.

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (5, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#41811671)

I haven't met a too many good hackers who haven't, at least at one time, engaged in some drug use -- whether it be smoking weed (usually), tripping on mushrooms/acid, or cocaine etc..it seems to permeate the culture quite a bit.

Now, is that because good hackers tend to be drug users--or is it because *you* are a drug user and thus a larger percentage of the people you meet are drug users?

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (2)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about 2 years ago | (#41811765)

I'm a pot smoker but not a hardcore drug user.

That said, I've spent a lot of time on IRC (this was my hacker training 1996-2002), etc and found there is a significant overlap between 'hacker' and 'stoner' circles, and later on, between 'hackers' and people into psychedelic music or rave scenes..hell, there's a whole genre of the rave scene called "cyber."

of course there's some selection bias because I'm a stoner, but I find the overlap to be too significant to explain away by that fact alone. What's your take on this?

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about 2 years ago | (#41811789)

oh yeah, and I should definitely add that when I started hacking/etc, I wasn't yet a pot smoker. That came years later. But my hacker mentor, someone I knew only on IRC, was a major pothead, and I was very against it at first. Later experiences changed my mind on its harmfulness.

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41811927)

of course there's some selection bias because I'm a stoner, but I find the overlap to be too significant to explain away by that fact alone. What's your take on this?

A non-drug user will see the opposite pattern because the best people who use drugs are also the most discreet.

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 years ago | (#41812207)

Not true actually; I'd say everyone sees that pattern, and those who are cs geeks but aren't drug users have to be just as discrete. Of course, this ignores the part of the culture of people who's social skills are limited enough that they never even realize the drug use going on, as they're too focused on their own problem set to care.

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811793)

I'm not a drug user, and my experience matches that of Midnight_Falcon. Drug laws have turned a group of talented people who aren't harming anyone into a class of criminals, which is restricting the national security talent pool. It's a problem.

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

borcharc (56372) | about 2 years ago | (#41811985)

Have you ever been to defcon?

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

Vancorps (746090) | about 2 years ago | (#41812121)

Only the drug-loving hackers go to defcon!

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812333)

I work in a network security company that I can honestly say to hold world-class expertise on certain fields of network security. This company has zero tolerance for use of illegal substances among their employees. As far as I can tell, there has been no negative effects on this policy on recruitment or getting rid of those rare cases that have been found to break the policy.

On the other hand, extraordinary amounts of alcohol is used on company parties, and in this country, it is largely the basis for social bonds on every field, especially university clubs that effectively form the base of professional relationships on many fields. Users of illegal substances are considerably more rare to be seen in universities, study enough to get sufficient formal ground to attack hard problems, and as a result they position themselves mostly in poorly paid gaming industry.

Details may be different on different countries, but seeing use of illegal substances as some sort of a merit or positive correlator is really self-deception. I don't remember when I would have seen a self-deprecating drug user. At work, we praise self-deprecation and self-criticism - but when we actually deliver results better than the competition, it's time to be proud for a moment. Being part of some metaphysical "hacker culture" in itself should not matter in business (nor government) - having expertise that can lead to real-world solutions should. Even less the use of marijuana proves that you're a well-equipped expert on any field, apart from inhaling...

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 2 years ago | (#41811703)

It felt like I would have to become a square...

You realize this is Slashdot, right?

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about 2 years ago | (#41811773)

yeah, and some of us slashdotters go to things like burning man, and are considered "cool" in some type of subculture.. :)

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41811769)

Yep, as soon as they try to pry into my personal life, I tell them, 'This interview is over. Sorry to have wasted your time.' If I'm not running for political office, or looking to be a cop, with real authority, they can all take a hike.

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811825)

I suspect that if enough people "just told the truth" and admitted they smoked pot on the polygraph test, then maybe, just maybe, they'd discover that it's not an issue. I expect "they" are looking for people who lie, not people who smoke pot. But hey, it wouldn't be the first time I was told how naive I am.

And I believe you hit the nail on the head about the money. Nobody's going to subject themselves to that kind of abuse for a job that pays less than what they can make in industry–unless they're desperate for a job.

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#41811933)

The major reason for drug testing is to prevent blackmail, as was the old ban on homosexuality.

If you don't give a fuck what someone does off-duty, they can't be blackmailed for it.

Re:Marijuana/Drug Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812311)

Interesting... I have two Bachelors degrees, one in CoSci and the other in Mathematics. I consult on security issues for the Gov and Fortune 50 companies (some Fortune 5) on catching bad guys... and I have never used an illegal substance.

Performance degrading drugs have never been attractive to me anyway. If nootropics were legal and available I'd be the Lance Armstrong of Alzheimer's meds.

But alas, I only spend 95% of my time consulting on security topics or building infrastructure.

A true hacker .. (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41811631)

  • Doesn't have time for Firefly or Star Trek.
  • Doesn't even watch TV
  • Doesn't hang around on news websites.
  • Doesn't get out much, if at all
  • Is relentlessly picking apart code, oprating systems, APIs looking for a small clue of some exception not being handled
  • Probably eats poorly, has no fashion sense and has the social skills of a slug
  • Will eventually find a way through whatever the problem is through persistence.
  • Will celebrate his/her find with a pumped fist (the most exercise in a week) and the utterance, "cool."

While not terribly talented and hardly the sort of person likely to hold down a decent paying job (let alone know how to write out a resume or pass an interview) these are the sort of people who find the gaps. Recruiting them to work for you may be iffy. Once they have a paycheck, can afford a sports car, some decent clothes and can afford to go out they slowly cease to be the people you wanted.

Best to just hire them on a per item contract and toss them a burrito now and then.

Re:A true hacker .. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811801)

You're a prick.

Re:A true hacker .. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811845)

Your mom says that's his best feature.

Re:A true hacker .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812085)

You really haven't been in this business very long if you even are .. you absolutely no idea about what you are talking about. You probably should just go back into the country club and stop posting from your Blackberry. You're embarrassing yourself.

Re:A true hacker .. (1)

Quince alPillan (677281) | about 2 years ago | (#41812117)

Doesn't have time for Firefly or Star Trek.

False. That's what multitasking while compiling or testing is for.

This is normal... (3, Informative)

magamiako1 (1026318) | about 2 years ago | (#41811633)

This is nothing new to the IT industry in general and has been going on for years. It's only moved to "Security" now because the wave of nerds that 10 years ago were hired for "basic IT" are now sufficiently advanced where connecting a network together is trivial and their knowledge has moved on.

A concrete example (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811637)

Of the type of non-conformist individual with considerable hacking skills who should be a hiring target [mysociety.org] .

Re:A concrete example (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812315)

Awesome.

However, for cybersecurity work, perhaps you shouldn't be looking for somebody that only uses the internet to send and receive email twice a day. (even to view webpages, rms downloads them and emails them to himself)

There is a wide skillrange with security (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 years ago | (#41811663)

I think there is a wide skill range when it comes to hiring someone with security expertise than just programming alone. And everyone knows HR can't figure out how to hire a skillful programmer over a random Joe who talks himself up. So what hope does HR in finding a security expert, when there's a lot of bullshitters who claim to be good at security but don't know anything?

I know about encryption, and I've found security flaws in applications such as Adobe's P2P networking, but I wouldn't consider myself a security expert or apply to one of those jobs. Yet, I know a lot more than a great deal of people selling themselves as security experts.

The solution is obvious (1)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#41811677)

They need to hire a Relationship Manager.

"Ich bin ein nerd"

Bad Idea (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#41811701)

Sounds like a way to get some Black Hats working directly for the DOD and Homeland Security. Hiring Black Hats is good only when you know they are a Black Hat, and that usually requires they get arrested first. If they are a sketchy unscroupoulous looking person then stay away. They already have to be on the lookout for the Normal Looking Black Hat Anon that's slipped into the organization they shouldn't be putting people that are clearly a risk in.

"Is that a plumber on his shirt? Can't hire him." (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811711)

It's not that they're the wrong IT Security Experts to defend the nation's cyberspace, it's that they're the wrong people to work for the Bureau or the Agency or DHS or SS. So the problem isn't a lack of people who know their stuff, it's a lack of people who fit the typical "agent" pigeonhole.

I know I'll never work for the Government because I have family in Mexico and I'd rather not have Federal noses up my ass whenever one of my many (many) cousins has a wedding or baptism that I'd like to attend.

Two big barriers (5, Interesting)

AarghVark (772183) | about 2 years ago | (#41811725)

There are two big barriers for government IT hiring:

Pay scale
The GS payscale doesn't map well to high-end IT skills. So often you end up with the marginally qualified, or those rare individuals who are not only not in it for the money, but somehow find a way to turn down offers every quarter from another round of head-hunters.

Extra scrutiny
The government security and screening process is a lot tougher than many commercial enterprises. It leads to ironic debtor-prison type situations where an otherwise qualified guy about to have his house foreclosed can't get the job because he is a security risk because he needs the money. The government just doesn't want to take the risk he will be try to pay off his bills by selling access to the highest bidder.

Network security (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811753)

One has to wonder why it's so difficult for them to find people vs. other engineering disciplines. I'd suspect that the sort of people that excel at poking and prodding security vulnerabilities take a similar attitude to social rules; i.e. challenging assumptions and testing limits.

Ok, let's jump into this (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#41811803)

First of all, tfa misses it's point completely, but hits on a bigger one. How to tell a crap sec pro from a good one, and at least I believe the answer isn't on paper. HR does background checks on anybody in any dept. , so saying this is discriminant is to generalize the entire work force, same with drug testing. Culturally... well you gotta have somebody that fits in with the team, otherwise you got bigger problems than network security. Most hacker / security types I know of you can't really tell apart from mainstream culture, the same intelligence that lets a sec pro do their work can also be applied to society's norms and standards. The guy who stays up nights and then forgets to shave and shower in the morning isn't an ideal candidate because just like they can't apply themselves to the real world, they probably won't be able to apply business logic to say creating group policy in active directory.

Now here's where it gets really overcast grey, I put DNS on my resume and you put DNS on yours, I understand DNS cache poisoning, you don't, to HR, to even technical non-sec managers, this looks the same, but guess what, you want the guy who understands how DNS applies to security, not networking. How to tell them apart? Very very hard & resource intensive, a test, interview questions, a real-world scenario. HR wouldn't know where to begin. And it's scary to hire a sec pro who doesn't know what they're doing. Security+ is basically networking + some common sense (ex. don't allow anonymous relay on your exchange server), but a dedicated attack hacker will come equipped with knowledge far greater than this, so unless the sec pro actually knows what they're doing, they're useless. Thoughts? Solutions? Ideas?

Private Sector Pays more (1)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41811811)

Private sector pays IT sec folks 6 figures+, last time I googled the salaries of the alphabet boys I wasn't very impressed.

Example: http://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/FBI-Salaries-E24637.htm [glassdoor.com]

Example: http://www.criminaljusticeschoolinfo.com/fbi-agent-salary.html [criminalju...olinfo.com]

Check, check and check (1)

futhermocker (2667575) | about 2 years ago | (#41811817)

Computer geeks are often socially awkward, they may be accustomed to blurting out whatever they're feeling with brutal honesty, and they "won't kiss ass," said Schwartau.

Ah, but does the security pro want YOU? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811841)

See subject-line above...

* :)

APK

P.S.=> It matters!

... apk

Not enough sysadmins care about security. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811855)

I've had to turn on firewalls and set security policies at several places I worked at. The admins there just didn't seem to care. One guy even turned off all the firewalls and set dictionary passwords on root. After I took over and when I asked him why he disabled them, he said it wasn't necessary. On one system that apparently kept getting hacked, he had to disable direct ssh logins to root. He never completely removed the vestiges of the attack and I saw numerous brute force attempts in the logs. I turned on the firewall and installed fail2ban. I was also able to track down the attack vector to a user who logged in remotely from his laptop during a visit to Europe. Once I had the guy reinstall his laptop and change all his passwords, the attacks diminished.

Especially in small companies, a lot of people became sysadmins because the happened to be the guy that knew some basic tech. They weren't trained as sysadmins, nor were they really technically savvy. They just knew more than their coworkers. There isn't really a sysadmin degree out there. I started out as a programmer porting code between Unix, Windows and PreOSX Macs, but I understood security, even during the dotcom boom.

So basically... (3, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | about 2 years ago | (#41811923)

Network security is a position of trust. There is basically no way around this: implicit in running a network is that you have the tools to see what's on it. Encryption only goes so far in such situations, particularly at agencies tasked, in part, with getting at encrypted data.

This adds up to some employers requiring a greater degree of trust in their employees than is currently the norm. Some geeks, it seems, are unwilling to come to terms with the fact that their life choices may have made them poor security risks in that context. The cases where the risk isn't because of a life choice are sadder, but the risk is just as real, and to ask agencies with bona fide requirements for absolute trust to simply ignore those risks is insane.

Re:So basically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812217)

There's two sides to that.

First of all, are the screening questions actually relevant to trustworthiness in the first place?

Second of all, is the geek willing to put up with the bullshit to prove he knows who the boss is?

The job is the employer's to dole out as he sees fit, and some two-bit peon who wants to bitch about the requirements just shows they are not fit for the job because they have no intent to submit to the will of their boss.

When you work for someone and get paid for it, you are selling them your time, and since they bought your time fair and square by paying you your wage or salary, it's theirs to use however they see fit. Individualist geeks who don't realize that have no place on the payroll.

Have to specify what kind of security job (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 2 years ago | (#41812331)

Security operations on a production network is so different from, say, vulnerability research that it's wrong to use the same term to refer to both.

Then you have to specify what kind of trust you're after. There's an sf story where a character muses about a thug "I would trust him with the crown jewels, but not with my daughter".

Defcon (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811939)

This year's Defcon had a HUGE push by Homeland security and the CIA attempting to recruit. It was funny going to watch Bruce Schneier talk and someone told him that and he bascially said "I hope you didn't believe anything they said". They guy from Homeland security seemed like a good guy and was tring to actually hire good people, but my only question to everything he said was "You do realize you work for Janet N.?"

The Federal government has become a joke. If you go out on a limb for them and it becomes slightly inconvient for them they hang you out to dry. You find them doing something wrong and think about whistleblowing, you will be fired and probably sued (see ATF guy who told about Fast and Furious). You interrogate terrorits and you will be threatened with jail (See CIA agents at Gitmo). They have a history of stomping on people who might make them look bad.

No thanks. The Federal government is corrupt beyond fixing. Anyone who goes in to do the right thing will end up being a casuality.

The author is NUTS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41811965)

The author obviously doesn't know very much about government security practice, even though their handbook is available online for anybody who can Google.

The assumption that there are no qualified, committed, and skilled professionals in the industry who are not geeks (quasi social outcasts) is totally false. There are a lot of us out there that don't look, smell or act like such employees who are willing and able to do this job. If you show up looking like this stereotype and fail the drug test what do you think HR is going to do? Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

I think the real story *should* be that if you really want a job and you don't like to show up during office hours, dressed for work, with combed hair, demonstrating basic social graces and you refuse to give up illegal drug use, your membership in Anonymous and all the other nasty things "Geek Culture" brings to the table, Just go look someplace else for a job. Somehow, I don't think there are very many private companies who will put up with you as a security professional.

Ah, but What is a Hacker Like? (5, Informative)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#41811967)

An important point: Except in some relatively minor respects such as slang vocabulary, hackers don't get to be the way they are by imitating each other. Rather, it seems to be the case that the combination of personality traits that makes a hacker so conditions one's outlook on life that one tends to end up being like other hackers whether one wants to or not (much as bizarrely detailed similarities in behavior and preferences are found in genetic twins raised separately).

General Appearance
Intelligent. Scruffy. Intense. Abstracted. Surprisingly for a sedentary profession, more hackers run to skinny than fat; both extremes are more common than elsewhere. Tans are rare.

Dress
Hackers dress for comfort, function, and minimal maintenance hassles rather than for appearance (some, perhaps unfortunately, take this to extremes and neglect personal hygiene). They have a very low tolerance of suits and other ‘business’ attire; in fact, it is not uncommon for hackers to quit a job rather than conform to a dress code. When they are somehow backed into conforming to a dress code, they will find ways to subvert it, for example by wearing absurd novelty ties.

Female hackers almost never wear visible makeup, and many use none at all.

Physical Activity and Sports
Many (perhaps even most) hackers don't follow or do sports at all and are determinedly anti-physical. Among those who do, interest in spectator sports is low to non-existent; sports are something one does, not something one watches on TV.

Further, hackers avoid most team sports like the plague. Video games being a notable exception, both in terms of team play and consideration as a sport... Hacker sports are almost always primarily self-competitive ones involving concentration, stamina, and micromotor skills: martial arts, bicycling, auto racing, kite flying, hiking, rock climbing, aviation, target-shooting, sailing, caving, juggling, skiing, skating, skydiving, scuba diving. Hackers' delight in techno-toys also tends to draw them towards hobbies with nifty complicated equipment that they can tinker with.

The popularity of martial arts in the hacker culture deserves special mention. Many observers have noted it, and the connection has grown noticeably stronger over time. In the 1970s, many hackers admired martial arts disciplines from a distance, sensing a compatible ideal in their exaltation of skill through rigorous self-discipline and concentration.

Today, martial arts seems to have become firmly established as the hacker exercise form of choice, and the martial-arts culture combining skill-centered elitism with a willingness to let anybody join seems a stronger parallel to hacker behavior than ever. Common usages in hacker slang un-ironically analogize programming to kung fu (thus, one hears talk of “code-fu” or in reference to specific skills like “HTML-fu”).

Education
Nearly all hackers past their teens are either college-degreed or self-educated to an equivalent level. The self-taught hacker is often considered (at least by other hackers) to be better-motivated, and may be more respected, than his school-shaped counterpart. Academic areas from which people often gravitate into hackerdom include (besides the obvious computer science and electrical engineering) physics, mathematics, linguistics, and philosophy.

Food
Ethnic. Spicy. Oriental, esp. Chinese and most esp. Szechuan, Hunan, and Mandarin (hackers consider Cantonese vaguely déclassé). Hackers prefer the exotic; for example, the Japanese-food fans among them will eat with gusto such delicacies as fugu (poisonous pufferfish) and whale. Thai food has experienced flurries of popularity. Where available, high-quality Jewish delicatessen food is much esteemed. A visible minority of Southwestern and Pacific Coast hackers prefers Mexican.

For those all-night hacks, pizza and microwaved burritos are big. Interestingly, though the mainstream culture has tended to think of hackers as incorrigible junk-food junkies, many have at least mildly health-foodist attitudes and are fairly discriminating about what they eat. This may be generational; anecdotal evidence suggests that the stereotype was more on the mark before the early 1980s.

Politics
Formerly vaguely liberal-moderate, more recently moderate-to-neoconservative. There is a strong contingent which rejects conventional left-right politics entirely. The only safe generalization is that hackers tend to be rather anti-authoritarian; thus, both paleoconservatism and ‘hard’ leftism are rare. Hackers are far more likely than most non-hackers to either (a) be aggressively apolitical or (b) entertain peculiar or idiosyncratic political ideas and actually try to live by them day-to-day.

Gender and Ethnicity
Hackerdom is still predominantly male. However, the percentage of women is clearly higher than the low-single-digit range typical for technical professions, and female hackers are generally respected and dealt with as equals.

The ethnic distribution of hackers is understood by them to be a function of which ethnic groups tend to seek and value education. Racial and ethnic prejudice is notably uncommon and tends to be met with freezing contempt.

When asked, hackers often ascribe their culture's gender- and color-blindness to a positive effect of text-only network channels, and this is doubtless a powerful influence. Also, the ties many hackers have to AI research and SF literature may have helped them to develop an idea of personhood that is inclusive rather than exclusive — after all, if one's imagination readily grants full human rights to future AI programs, robots, dolphins, and extraterrestrial aliens, mere color and gender can't seem very important any more.

Religion
Agnostic. Atheist. Non-observant Jewish. Neo-pagan. Very commonly, three or more of these are combined in the same person. Conventional faith-holding Christianity is rare though not unknown.

Even hackers who identify with a religious affiliation tend to be relaxed about it, hostile to organized religion in general and all forms of religious bigotry in particular. Many enjoy ‘parody’ religions such as Discordianism and the Church of the SubGenius.

Also, many hackers are influenced to varying degrees by Zen Buddhism or (less commonly) Taoism, and blend them easily with their ‘native’ religions.

There is a definite strain of mystical, almost Gnostic sensibility that shows up even among those hackers not actively involved with neo-paganism, Discordianism, or Zen. Hacker folklore that pays homage to ‘wizards’ and speaks of incantations and demons has too much psychological truthfulness about it to be entirely a joke.

Communication Style
Though hackers often have poor person-to-person communication skills, they are as a rule quite sensitive to nuances of language and very precise in their use of it. They are often better at writing than at speaking.

Personality Characteristics
The most obvious common ‘personality’ characteristics of hackers are high intelligence, consuming curiosity, and facility with intellectual abstractions. Also, most hackers are ‘neophiles’, stimulated by and appreciative of novelty (especially intellectual novelty). Most are also relatively individualistic and anti-conformist.

Although high general intelligence is common among hackers, it is not the sine qua non one might expect. Another trait is probably even more important: the ability to mentally absorb, retain, and reference large amounts of ‘meaningless’ detail, trusting to later experience to give it context and meaning. A person of merely average analytical intelligence who has this trait can become an effective hacker, but a creative genius who lacks it will swiftly find himself outdistanced by people who routinely upload the contents of thick reference manuals into their brains.

Contrary to stereotype, hackers are not usually intellectually narrow; they tend to be interested in any subject that can provide mental stimulation, and can often discourse knowledgeably and even interestingly on any number of obscure subjects — if you can get them to talk at all, as opposed to, say, going back to their hacking.

Hackers are ‘control freaks’ in a way that has nothing to do with the usual coercive or authoritarian connotations of the term. In the same way that children delight in making model trains go forward and back by moving a switch, hackers love making complicated things like computers do nifty stuff for them. But it has to be their nifty stuff. They don't like tedium, nondeterminism, or most of the fussy, boring, ill-defined little tasks that go with maintaining a normal existence. Accordingly, they tend to be careful and orderly in their intellectual lives and chaotic elsewhere. Their code will be beautiful, even if their desks are buried in 3 feet of crap.

Hackers are generally only very weakly motivated by conventional rewards such as social approval or money. They tend to be attracted by challenges and excited by interesting toys, and to judge the interest of work or other activities in terms of the challenges offered and the toys they get to play with.

--------------------
Excerptions reduplicated freely from The Jargon Files. [catb.org] -- I stumbled upon this after attaining hackerdom myself and was surprised at how well many of the stereotypes fit me and those I would consider fellow hackers.

This is a (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812045)

waste.of.time

The only thing I got out of this... (3, Funny)

pnot (96038) | about 2 years ago | (#41812177)

was confirmation of my opinion that "political correctness" now means "any kind of attitude or phenomenon that I don't like, but I can't be bothered to articulate a proper argument against". A bit like "inappropriate", really.

Yes, pander to the privledged nerd more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41812209)

neve make safe spaces for anyone other than the already powerful

Bradley Manning... (4, Insightful)

IonOtter (629215) | about 2 years ago | (#41812365)

...had a Top Secret / SCI (secure, compartmentalized information) clearance.

They crawled up his ass with the Hubble telescope, looked for people he knows, then went and crawled up the ass of *those* people to find out who *they* know that might know Manning. They hooked him up to a polygraph. They checked, re-checked, cross-checked and followed every single link, social media page, every parking ticket, every word on his school records.

It takes months to do a SSBI. [wikipedia.org]

And yet, when Manning encountered something that he knew for a confirmed fact that what he was seeing/hearing/reading was against the law, he tried to do the right thing, but got shot down by his chain of command. Feeling as though he had no other choice, he allegedly turned the info over to Wikileaks.

What the heck do you suppose a "geek", someone who by their very nature has issues with authority, probably has personal issues around justice, and has tendencies towards just about every "ism" that your average government puts people on watchlists for, is going to do when they see/hear/read something that they think is wrong????

Nabbing geeks off the street to "hack the planet" is fine and dandy for movies about the end of the world, but it doesn't work so well in real life.

What's this article really getting at? (1)

Holladon (1620389) | about 2 years ago | (#41812439)

The author mentions things like one-time/minor drug use offenses and an unwillingness to kiss ass (btw, the latter isn't something HR can really screen for, and there are plenty of other talented professionals in other sectors who've been unfairly burned for this -- it isn't unique to "geek culture"), but falters when it comes to discussing just what he means by "personality." If what he's speaking to is more tolerance for people who see the world in a different way, he's absolutely got a point, and it's one that applies to far more industries than just security. Lots of good, smart folks suffer career setbacks for *actual* outside-the-box thinking (which needs to be distinguished from in-the-rarely-explored-corner-of-the-box thinking, which is what most employers actually want when they ask for people to think "outside the box"). Lots of industries and jobs require a four-year degree when the value of such a degree is attenuated, at best. Lots of people in all kinds of fields get overlooked just because they don't have that magical four-year degree even when their real-world experience and ability and willingness to learn more than make up for it. IMNSHO, that's a loss to society no matter which sector it affects.

But I worry that his mention of "lawyers" may be code for things like anti-harassment workplace rules. I can get behind saying we should tolerate oddness and even occasional brusqueness in service of higher-quality job performance. But I worry, based on the word choice employed, that it's being implicitly suggested that entire swaths of the population are worth counting out for a marginal increase in security. "Geek culture" broadly has been criticized, and in my view often rightly so, for an apparent tendency towards unpalatable points of view vis-a-vis the GLBTQ community, women, racial minorities, religious minorities, etc. In my experience, this is less a case of anonymity revealing what we don't want to see (that explains trolling and maybe a little bit more, but not everything) and more a case of arrested adolescence. As someone who was a bit of an ostracized nerd as a kid, I sincerely do empathize with the tendency to want to crawl into a hole and say "fuck you, world" as a response to unkindness. But there comes a time when no amount of talent makes up for a willful refusal to function in a diverse society. It's one thing to ask coworkers to shrug their shoulders that some of the security guys don't do small talk; it's entirely another to ask them to look the other way when their company's security system is run by a literal neo-Nazi.

It may very well be that the author didn't mean that all boundaries should be done away with. But the article is far from clear on that point.

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