By Bill Brenner
May 06, 2010
I go to a lot of security conferences, almost always without my family
in tow. The logistics and money involved with trekking them from one
part of the country to the next is usually beyond my resources. But when
a conference is local and there's something in it for the kids, I'm in
Last month's SOURCE Boston and Security B-Sides conferences coincided
with school vacation, which put me in a bind. Fortunately, the security
community is very kid-friendly, and nobody minded when I brought Sean
and Duncan to B-Sides. In fact, I think the hackers enjoyed their
At B-Sides one of the first speakers was a young security practitioner
talking about the challenges of people his age breaking into the
industry and finding the right combination of employment and respect.
While I was getting inspired to write "How young upstarts can get their
big security break in 6 steps" during that talk, Cisco cloud security
guru Chris Hoff was getting a blast of inspiration from his children's
adventures at SOURCE a couple days before. The result is a concept any
security practitioner-parent should embrace.
On the HacKid Conference website, Hoff explains the idea:
"The gist of the idea for HacKid (sounds like 'hacked,' get it) came
about when I took my three daughters aged 6, 9 and 14 along with me to
the Source Security conference in Boston. It was fantastic to have them
engage with my friends, colleagues and audience members as well as ask
all sorts of interesting questions regarding the conference. It was
especially gratifying to have them in the audience when I spoke twice.
There were times the iPad I gave them was more interesting, however."
The idea is to provide an interactive, hands-on experience for kids and
their parents which includes things like:
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