Hacking, Children, and Ethics
A Conversation and A Problem
While at last weekends ShmooCon, I had a chance to be in a conversation wtih @diami03 that got me thinking about Anonymous and where we are today with the whole debacle as regards the youth of today. I am indeed getting older (Methuselah here.. Hi!) and as I look around I see younger and younger folks going to the con’s and performing the new and old hacks out there in the world. It occurred to me at that instant that unlike when I was a kid (when dinosaurs roamed Pangea) the kids today don’t seem to have much in the way of teaching on the subjects of Logic, Ethics, and generally, how to be good citizens.
… And that perhaps it was time that the INFOSEC community engage on this….
I thought I had a genius stroke! But, alas, I was not the first to think of this! There’s hackidcon now as well as presentations like the one that actually was given the next morning at Shmoocon called “Corrupting Youth” by Jordan Wiens. I was heartened to see others had gotten on this already and that perhaps we as a community could do some good and affect the future generations of hacker types by teaching them the ethics of old school hacking as well as hte use of logic and good decision making.
In looking around today.. I’d say we really really need this… And here’s why…
Monkeys With Loaded Guns
Ok, I’ll say it here and now. What has evolved into Anonymous for the most part, has been a disappointment to me. Sure there are many in it just for the Lulz’s (a core issue here) but there are many who want to make a difference in what they perceive as their governments misdeeds. Both of these players have also been infiltrated by the Lulzier group of Anarchists who want nothing more than to just sow chaos for their own nihilistic animus. From this soup we have seen what I call the “Monkeys with guns effect” Scattershot and useless hacks and pranks that further no other agenda than the Lulz or, for those anarchists and others who have infiltrated the ranks, to sow chaos anywhere they strike.
Reasons or no.
On go the monkeys with loaded shotguns filled with buckshot, shooting aimlessly (except for the initial hit on Aaron Barr and HBGary) proclaiming wins and showing how bad “The Man” is by dumping dox and email spools.
This scattershot approach just shows a lack of critical thinking on their part as well as perhaps a lack of control over the minions out there performing the ol’ “Ready FIRE Aim!” routine. Overall though, this is getting old for everyone and that has been the general consensus for a while.
It’s time to cut it out kids.
The Future of Technological Society
Ok, so back to the next generation. How about we follow the model that Hackidcon and Mr. Wiens have set by teaching the new kids on the block not only the technology, but the ethos of hacking. We can teach them so many things both technical as well as ethically and I believe that a program like this would better prepare them for the power they will wield with the internet and all things digital.
Without it, I fear that we will raise another generation of online sociopaths as we seem to have already in some quarters of Anonymous. This is not to say that online rights are not important and CERTAINLY not to say that the governments of the world have been ramping up to over reach even more than ever before in the age of Anonymous and Digital Piracy. I think that the governments of the world have begun to erode all of our rights due to greed as well as fear. Greed being fed by the likes of lobbyists and fear that they are ill equipped to properly deal with the digital age.. Never mind to regulate it.
By teaching the next gen kids how to be good citizens and good hackers, then we might have a chance that in the future the senators and governmental work force will really understand the net, how it works, and what it means. This then will flow down to the laws being considered and implemented. Today we have governance that is unable to understand the tech nor the mindset.
“The Internet is a series of tubes you know…”
So, I ask you all to consider your time and its value to teaching these things to the next gen. Not just your kids, but all the kids you can. Make the time and find out where you can help.
After all… Those kids you might or might not teach… May in fact be the next Anonymous member DoS-ing your company.