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Education Programming Security

Why We Need To Teach Hacking In High School 124

An anonymous reader writes "Following one of the best descriptions ever of a hacker I've ever seen, Pete Herzog, creator of the 'security testing' (professional hacking) manual OSSTMM outlines compelling reasons why the traits of the hacker should be taught in school to make better students and better people. It starts out with 'Whatever you may have heard about hackers, the truth is they do something really, really well: discover.' and it covers open education, teaching kids to think for themselves, and promoting hacking as a tool for progress." A good read, despite confusing hacker and hacker a bit. I remember getting to set up Debian on a scrap machine in high school, only to have county IT kill the project because of the horrible danger experimentation could have proven to the network...
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Why We Need To Teach Hacking In High School

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  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @04:15PM (#46361549) Journal

    I went to a private high school. It was small and didn't have many resources. Still, I was fortunate to have a very supportive environment for my exploration and learning related to computing.

    The teacher who taught programming had actually managed IT/network stuff in Micronesia, so she was not in the habit of throwing old tech out. We received a lot of donated equipment from various businesses, and she saved most of it in a storage room. When she found out how interested I was in technology, she basically gave me the run of the place - allowed me to take home equipment to play with, just hang out in there during lunch and after school, put together new machines for the lab, etc. This was where I first learned about other architectures - got my hands on an old DEC Alpha.

    When she saw that I had already self-taught some programming, she allowed me to skip directly to an advanced programming course, and teach myself as an independent study.

    Later, she let me set up an NT server with roving profiles and network home directories for the lab, so that students in the general office suite classes could save their work on the network, keep it backed up, and their teacher would have centralized access to it. Prior to this, they were all using floppy disks.

    Without that environment I'd still have been interested and involved with tech, but it sure made it easier and more interesting, and I learned a lot. I suspect that many teachers might not have been willing to allow a student so much freedom, or that policies might have forbidden it.

  • Re:I don't think so (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @04:25PM (#46361669)

    This, because, as alluded to in TFS, it always creates more work for them. Observe:

    I remember getting to set up Debian on a scrap machine in high school, only to have county IT kill the project because of the horrible danger experimentation could have proven to the network...

    I'm here to tell you that an uncontrolled machine ran by amateurs is a prime example of 'danger to the network'. I still recall the day the new guy named his Ubuntu box the same thing as our domain suffix. Only because I knew what was supposed to be on the network and what wasn't was I able to get things back up and running again. The same thing can happen with a simple IP address conflict.

    In short, to do this with any educational value, IT would have to segregate the network to prevent accidental student damage. From what I know of most educational IT, they lack the time, money, and (sorry to say) skills/training to do this for their production networks, let alone standing up test labs for hackers to play with.

    Maybe in an IT-centric school, sure. But primary education? Puhlease.

  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @04:42PM (#46361805) Homepage Journal

    And the trick, good soulskill, is that not everyone is an INTJ for whom this is the natural way to attack a problem.

If you had better tools, you could more effectively demonstrate your total incompetence.