The Boss and I have been getting into Fallen Skies lately. Yeah, it’s another sci-fi show with aliens trying to take down the human race and loot our planet for our resources. They’d better hurry up, since there may not be much left when the real aliens show up, but that’s another story. In the last episode we saw, the main guy (Noah Wyle of ER) made the point that our kids are our future, and we need to keep them safe. That thought resonates with me, and thankfully I’m not dealing with aliens trying to make them into drugged-out slaves.

Not sure playing and learning only applies to kids...We are dealing with a lot of bad stuff that can happen online. The severity of the issue became very apparent to me in the spring, when XX1 made a comment about playing some online card game. My spidey sense started tingling, and I went into full interrogation mode. Turns out she clicked on some ad on one of her approved websites, which then took her to some kind of card game. So she clicked on that and started playing. And so on, and so on.

Instantly I checked out the machine. Thankfully it’s a Mac and she can’t install software. I did a full cleaning of the stuff that could be problematic and then had to have that talk about why it’s bad to click ads on the Internet. We then talked a bit about Google searches, checking out images, and the like. But in reality, I didn’t have much clue of where to start and what to teach her. So I asked a few friends what they’ve done to prepare their kids for the online world. Yep – I got the same quizzical stare I saw in the mirror.

That’s why I’m getting involved in the HacKid conference. Chris Hoff (yes, @beaker himself) started the conference in Boston last October, and there will be conferences in San Jose (Sept 17/18) and Atlanta (Oct 1/2) this year. HacKid is not just about security, by the way. It’s about getting our kids (ages 5-17) excited about technology, with lots of intro material on things like programming and robotics and soldering and a bunch of other stuff.

Truth be told, orchestrating HacKid is a huge amount of work. Thankfully we’ve got a great board of advisors in ATL to help out, and I know it will be time well spent. I’m confident all the kids will gain some appreciation for technology, beyond the latest game for them to play on the iPad. I also have no doubt they’ll learn about about how to protect themselves online, which is near and dear to my heart. But most of all, I can’t wait to see that look of wonder. You know, when you think you’ve just seen the coolest, most amazing thing in the world. Hoff said there was a lot of that look in Boston, and I can’t wait to see it in Atlanta.

Remember, the kids are our future and this is a great place to start teaching them about the role technology will play in their future. Registration is open for the Atlanta conference, so check it out, bring your kids, get involved, and reap the benefits. See you there.


Photo credits: “Play, kids, learn, Mill Park Library, Yarra Plenty Library service” originally uploaded by Kathyrn Greenhill

Incite 4 U

  1. Shopping list next: I can imagine it now. I’ll get the grocery list via text from the Boss, and then the follow up. “Don’t forget the DDoS, that neighbor is pissing me off again.” According to Krebs, it’s getting easier to buy all sorts of cyber attacks. Even down to a kit to build your own bot army. Can you imagine the horse trading that will happen on the playground with our kids? It’ll be like real-life Risk, with the kids trading 10,000 bots in India for 300 credit card numbers. Law enforcement seems to be getting better at finding and stopping these perps, but it’s still amazing how rapidly the cybercrime ecosystem evolves. – MR
  2. Don’t call it a comeback. Call it Back to FUD: Stuxnet is making a comeback?. Seriously Mr. McGurk? Does this mean we need to disconnect our uranium centrifuges from that Windows 98 machine I use to fuel my personal reactor? So if I see you at Black Hat, don’t hesitate to tell me I’m glowing. Does this mean we patch our OS and update our AV signatures? Or are you predicting 4 new 0-days we need to prepare for? Does it mean pissed-off US government employees foreign governments are going to attack the US infrastructure? Or are you asking for all public infrastructure to be rearchitected and redeployed? Oh, wait, it’s budget time – we need to get our FUD on. – AL
  3. Do they offer gardening in the big house? Looks like the good guys bagged one of anonymous/LulzSec’s top dogs, Topiary. This 18-year-old plant was hiding out in his folks’ basement in rural Scotland. Of course the spin unit of anon has jumped into gear and is talking about the inability to arrest an idea. That’s true, but a few more high-profile arrests (and they are coming) and we’ll see how willing these cloistered kids will be to give up their freedom. Rich tweeted what a lot of us think. These are a bunch of angry kids, who probably got bullied in schools and are now turning the tables. But they barked up the wrong tree by antagonizing governments and law enforcement. We’ll see how well they do in jail, where the bullies are much different. – MR
  4. Who’s afraid of the big, bad (cloud security) wolf?: Vivek Kundra is saying that cloud security fears are overblown and that the US government is not afraid of public cloud infrastructure. From our research I believe both these statements are absolutely correct! Cloud infrastructure is neither more nor less secure that traditional IT infrastructure – it all depends upon how you deploy, secure, and manage it. We’re also aware that many government agencies are embracing the cloud, since that seems to be all they talk about. But there are a couple important things to note. First is that they are using public infrastructure, but setting up private community clouds. This is how multiple government organizations with common regulatory restrictions and concerns around multi-tenancy can use the cloud and still sleep at night. These government organizations, like private companies, only move a portion of their IT systems into the cloud, creating community hybrid clouds on public resources. Who knew the government could be so avant-garde? – AL
  5. Phishing for meth: If you had any doubts about how easy it is to steal financial data, check out the latest phishing perp. This dude put up a few site to support his meth habit. On one hand, the guy was enterprising, since most meth heads do smash and grabs and mug old ladies to get funds. At least this guy understands leverage. Though I doubt it will help in the big house. – MR