Hannah Silvers: Hacking

Today’s #PassionPreview comes from Hannah Silvers all about hacking for humankind: “My dad works in information security, and I started tagging along with him to local security meetups when I was old enough. I went to my first major security conference when I was in high school, and now I've worked in information security consulting, competed in a high-profile social hacking competition, and given a speech at the biggest hacking conference in the world.”

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Why hacking? “Hacking is all about figuring out how systems work and what happens if you break them. As a white hat hacker, you try to make sure no one who wants to do harm can take advantage of those weak spots. That's why I love security education. Whether you're looking at hardware or humans, you make your community safer by figuring out the ways an attacker could compromise important systems and then helping to build up defenses against them.”

To someone not interested in hacking: “Communities need hackers like us who can find the weak spots before an attacker does. Think about a really important system, like voting. Some hacking conferences now bring voting machines in for attendees to break, then release reports about how they did it for companies to fix. We're all safer because of it.”

To someone interested in hacking: “Get out there! There are official DEF CON chapters in most major cities, and there are tons of local, informal hacker spaces that are always welcoming newcomers. The hacker community is a family that's always learning from each other. I guarantee you know something that another hacker wishes she knew. Don't be intimidated. Go for it.”

Passion Emoji: 💪