The Hacker Mind Podcast: Hacking Charity

Robert Vamosi
July 28, 2021
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Hackers are charitable in ways that might surprise you. Whether it is in Africa or rural Arkansas, hackers find ways to use their skills for good reasons.

Jack Daniel and Jason Kent return to The Hacker Mind to discuss the various ways hackers are helping society by contributing to charitable organizations … even starting their own. From BSides, to DerbyCon, to Shmoocon, even on the Apple App Store you can find evidence of their hard work.

Vamosi:  Jinja is a town in southern Uganda on the shore of Lake Victoria, near the source of the Nile River. It is Uganda's fourth largest city, having once been its capital, and it's about 50 miles east of Kampala, the current capital of Uganda. 

Today Jinja is known for its tourism. its whitewater rafting, kayaking, and quad biking. It is also known as the unlikely epicenter of a small but growing group of hackers. 

Hackers for Charity is an organization founded by Johnny Long that enhances technology in Jinja. Hackers for Charity was born out of Johnny's own success and burnout. His book, Hacking Google was a best seller, but after, he just wasn't feeling it. Here's his talk from DEF CON 17

Long: I managed to achieve some level of success in this industry as an author and a media personality and a public speaker. I had a dream job and a wonderful family and I had it made. And of course now I'm unemployed and living off of donations, and most importantly pretty happy.

Vamosi:  Burnout is a major concern in the InfoSec world. Many who are very successful hit a wall with technology. Or with social media. They have the fame, they have some money, and yet they're pretty miserable with their day to day lives.

Long: See, I had lots of stuff I had the fame in the cool job in the free beer and the rock star friends but even with all of this stuff I was pretty miserable. The good thing is I figured out what my problem was my problem was I didn't feel like my life counted for a whole lot. In fact I didn't feel like I was making much of a difference at all. Whether in life or in this industry, or whatever,

Vamosi:  Only quitting your job and moving to Africa for charitable work is really expensive. Typically, there's a need for crowdsourcing, and that's what Johnny did

Long: hackers paid for our mission trip to Uganda Africa, some of you remember this. Well, the folks in Uganda that we worked with, that was a wheaty they found out I was a computer guy and they're like you're gonna do computer stuff like rock on so we cleaned up some computers and put together a little computer lab and I took a handful of wireless cards and I pulled their office together into a wireless network, and I was proud of this picture, Google loading wirelessly in their office in the middle of nowhere Uganda because of us. That was awesome. 

Vamosi: Small victories, sometimes have big consequences. 

Long: But it caught me off guard. Towards the end of the trip, because they showed me what this did. And what this did is this basically reopened this office. This office had sort of crawled to a halt, because they were processing kids that had lost their parents and they were trying to find profiles and sponsors for them, sponsors that pay for their schooling and all that stuff, and their network, their computers were so screwed up that they had to like stop. And now, kids were streaming into their office and getting food education, medical care, my work in Uganda had immediate life changing results right away,

Vamosi: You might not think of hackers as charitable people as individuals who might be working to make the world a better place. Then again, if any of this comes as a surprise to you. You might not know any real hackers.


Welcome to the hacker mind in original podcast from for all secure, it's about challenging our expectations about the people who hack for a living. I'm Robert Vamosi, and in this episode, I'm talking about hackers doing charitable work in the real world, using their skills to improve the lives of others. And along the way, perhaps also teaching others how to be more curious about the world we all live in.

So what is a hacker? There's this media image of a black hoodie antisocial individual. There's also another media image of someone in neon purple hair in ripped jeans. Then there's this image of a hacker who looks like they work in a big corporation across town. Oh, all of these are correct. 

So I asked Jack Daniel, community advocate for Tenable and co-founder of Security BSides, for a simple definition of the word.

Daniel: The loose, not modern media definition of hacker is basically somebody that pushes limits and tries to get things to do cool stuff. Sometimes that cool stuff is in the real world, you know, years ago, Johnny long launched hackers for charity and did a lot of outreach in good outside of the techniques very specifically outside of the tech world in a variety of people do volunteer work, that isn't within the community, they're, they're reaching out whether they're helping schools or churches or, you know, just doing other things for the betterment of the world, not just specifically about tech, and so

Vamosi: Unlike what you might see on TV or in the movies, or in a book, hackers, are indistinguishable from anyone else. Really, I sit in sessions at Black Hat and DEF CON and people in the crowd there might otherwise be at a local movie theater or a shopping mall. These are people who could also be attending a Salesforce conference. Okay, maybe not a Salesforce conference, but you get the idea. Each has their own unique story, their passion and interest that often goes beyond the world of just ones and zeros.

Daniel:  Yeah, so lots of lots of different things and it's abundant that the hacker crowd. Here's a bunch of people who have a bunch of interests. And so, you know, there, there are people who so there are people who quilt, there are people who knit, there is a group of us who are into iron work all the way haven't done a lot of plaques within a few years because of life, but you know there's there's a group and some of us are involved in those local things.

Vamosi: And often these interests are the root of how a hacker becomes a hacker.

Daniel:  You know that being an old car guy that things are starting to get old hot riders, you know, you push the car to make it feel faster until something broke you fix that so it wouldn't break again you pushed it you found the next weak link. And you, you know, you took a little lightweight economy cars and put big engines in them to make they make them go way faster than anyone ever intended, and things like that. So, that sort of mentality of, let's see what I can do with this, or, you know, how can we push this and get it to do what I want to make it better.

Vamosi: The thing is, hackers don’t just do this for themselves. They get the word out that this can be done, or that. 

Daniel:  And, and it comes into you know the old hacker mindset of sharing. Simultaneously, self taught, it's a bunch, but also sharing information of his own history of, you know, BBs is forward to conferences and forums and to a certain extent Twitter is still. It's not what it used to be because of the noise level but there's still a ton of good content that comes out in social media if you curate your lists and don't engage with the trolls, which is hard to do. It's there

Vamosi: Jason Kent from Cequence agrees.

Kent:  Oh, you know, hackers like to solve problems, right, if, if a hacker does anything it's all problems. They all bang on that problem until it's solved, and when you see somebody without shoes, living in a place where they need shoes, you want to solve that problem.

Vamosi: This goes back to the 19th century line, if you give a fish to a man. He'll have food for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he  will have food for a lifetime. The original quote is from Isabella Ritchie, the daughter of William Makepeace Thackery, who wrote, If you give a man a fish, he is hungry again in an hour. If you teach him to fish, you could do him a good turn. Either version, the idea here is to empower others to help themselves, to hack.

Kent:  What we do what we tend to do as humans is hand them shoes. But what hackers do is say well why aren't there shoes, well there's no cobbler, because there's no one that knows how to make shoes so let's teach someone how to make shoes. 

Vamosi: Sometimes hackers don't even need technology.

Kent:  Yeah. One of the common threads amongst almost all hackers is they really love technology and they really hate it. Most of us have some non technical thing that we do I keep bees, I go farm. You know I do a lot but I do a lot of high tech stuff on my farm I've got hydroponic tomatoes and hydroponic peppers and you know all these things that your traditional farmer doesn't have as well as traditional farmers, I've got a tractor.

Vamosi: Jason's journey started like most others with a conversation. In this case, at an East Coast hacker conference known as Shmoocon.

Kent:  Yeah, so. Shmoocon and like, I don't know 1312 Something like that. I ran into Johnny long, and one of the things that he does to raise money is, is a leather project. People that tool leather in Africa. And then he, he brings it to the states and he sells it, and it's funded a lot of really interesting programs over there. And when I was a kid I took a leather tooling class. And I looked at his leather tooling and I thought, Man, you should get these guys a little bit better tools. You know there's plenty of places where we can get better tools for these guys and we had a long discussion around it. And I told him I wanted to help.

Vamosi: So Jason and Johnny started talking in earnest, how best to help the people have jinja, Uganda.

Kent:  And at the time I was working as an SC, and I got quarterly bonuses and I told him the next bonus I get, I'm going to buy you some thing that's going to change the way you do the leather program, but I don't know what that is. So you got to tell me.

Vamosi: There are some unique challenges with providing machines to someone in Africa. For one thing, how do you ship it there for another. How about the electrical grid, which is not always dependable,

Kent:  and he ended up settling on a stitching machine that is, is hand driven you pump it, you know, it doesn't have electricity. It's good for Africa. It's made out of cast iron again good for Africa. And so I said I'll bring you on, and I put it in a suitcase and I loaded it on a plane and I flew to Uganda. and I brought him this stitching machine, and, you know, we became really good friends after that. 

Vamosi: So there's a lot of opportunities here to help others in Africa. So once arriving there, Jason put himself to work to see what else was needed to be done.

Kent:  So my involvement has been largely, you know, finding other places to help around that as well as, you know, talk about the people of Uganda and the people in the world that live in small places and have very little means. And so, we've spent a lot of time advocating for people that just need a little bit of hand up. I don't like to just hand people money. I like to hand them ideas, they'll go find their own money. But if they never see at work, they'll never know.


Vamosi: While in Africa, Jason started seeing ways that he, too, could get involved.

Kent:  but one of the things that happened while I was there was I started a charity. With the guides called an island Water Initiative, we trained plumbers, and I'm not a plumber and I never have been a plumber but I built a biogas digester with a plumber and the rest is history, I guess,

Vamosi: Biogas might seem to be kind of high falutin technology in the United States, but in this case it comes from a basic fact, they have cows, they need fertilizer too.

Kent:  When we started this bio gas program I knew that there were cows, you know, Because my church had donated cows to various orphanages over there. And I knew that people had cows but they didn't know what to do with the manure, and there's you can only pile it so I,

Vamosi: Again, this might not seem like an obvious problem with the technical solution, but if you follow Jason's thinking, it makes a whole lot of sense.

Kent:  And so we spin up bio gas projects in Africa where if you have a cow, and you're constantly complaining, what do I do with this manure, you can turn that into bio gas and fertilizer, and a folium feed and an insecticide and you know, there's all these systems that you can build around just simply having a cow.

Vamosi: This goes back to some cultures where if they killed a buffalo, they tried to get as much use from it as they could, with nothing wasted. Here, we're not killing the cows, but we're also not wasting anything.  So plumbing, makes a lot of sense in this case,

Kent:  The reason why we train plumbers, is you need somebody that can get you know, fit gas line to come out of the biodigester and to build the digesters but once you run it through a bio digester you get methane gas out of one side, and you get a liquid digestate out the other side that's, you know, it can be hydroponic fertilizer, it can be regular. Feed insects don't like the the plants that is touched, and all of a sudden there's all these benefits from this waste stream and things apart and one of my favorite things to do is to find a waste stream and turn it into productivity. 

Vamosi: Yeah, find a waste stream and turn it into productivity.  A great motto for any hacker. Bottom line, people like Jason are making a change for the better. 

Kent:  The last time I went to Uganda, I went there with no project and I went there purposefully to sit and think. And people thought I was, You know, Nutter, for, for traveling all that way but you know what I learned while I was there, we have to solve problems differently.


Vamosi: That’s not to say Jason and others came to Africa to impose their technology and their way of thinking. Quite the opposite

Kent:  We need to let the Africans, solve the problems in Africa. What we need to do is facilitate themselves. Now, the problem is they don't have the critical thinking skills. We can approach that, right, and we can address those things. So hackers really like this idea of, let's get to the root of why this exists, and solve it there

Vamosi: Which raises the question, can curiosity be learned?

Kent: Absolutely. Just takes them, you know, in a desire to learn about anything 

Vamosi: But can it be taught like a subject in school.

Daniel:  Most of our formal education, structured education, starting in the earliest grades, is a processing plant. And with the exception of, you know, if you're lucky one or two teachers in particular in the early years. There's this boot camp-like mentality of getting you to obey, getting you to, and you need that, You know you can't have disruptive environments, you. It's really hard, especially now with a lot of standardized testing, it's really hard to let children explore, let them play, let them find their place, let them within safe limits push boundaries. And so if you don't encourage that young, if you don't support that young, it gets beaten out of people. I think I have no proof of that, but my gut feel is that a lot more people are born curious than in curious adults. And it may be unfair but I think it's fair to blame our education system for a lot of that, and societal expectation of conformity, although we seem to be making a little progress there with a lot of pushback.

Vamosi: So there are cases where someone was denied something, and then went about learning and succeeding, all on their own. 

Daniel:  So how well does that translate to hackers, I don't know, but the idea of, well, we got some challenges, what can we do, what can we do to make it better. What can we do to make it less bad. You know that's another one of the things that we struggle with insecurity is there's no in a lot of other places in life we struggle for perfection, and in that's great, we struggle for things to be wonderful. But in reality, if you can make it hurt less tomorrow, you've done a great job. And that often is something you can do with a little creative thought. 

Vamosi: And so hackers and others may not necessarily be born to be such, they can be encouraged to think differently. 

Kent:  it's one of the things that we just love to solve problems so much. They don't have to be technical problems, They can be any. Bring it to me I'll solve. And one of the things we've lost in the US is the ability to put a lot of great minds together and we didn't use NASA scientists to get to the moon is a bunch of people who became NASA scientists to get right. We've forgotten that along the way, and the hackers bring that back.

Vamosi: That’s a great point. As he mentioned, Jack got into hacking through his work with automotive. So people don’t have to trained as hackers, they can evolve into hacking, and bring their rich backgrounds into the community.

Kent: I've met some really great people I've had an amazing career where I've gotten to meet some just amazing people, and every now and then you meet somebody that's like, yeah, they're gonna end up somewhere doing something amazing watch, and you can meet anybody. I've met people that have library skills, and you would wonder well how is that going to apply to hacking and then they get a job in an InfoSec role, you know, keeping all of the compliance documentation together whatever right, wherever your skills are you can probably apply them here.


Vamosi: Sometimes this is tricky. For Jason, flying in a bunch of tablets might help solve a problem, but it might also create other problems for him or his charity. 

Kent:  So hackers really like this idea of, let's get to the root of why this exists, and solve it there. If the problem is that there's a government that's holding us back, we'll figure out a way around it. You know I have traveled to Uganda several times with things that they're supposed to tax me for but we learned a long time ago that if you just put the act of charity stickers on everything, as part of an NGO and they can't tax you, you know, throw me a problem I'm going to figure out what that problem is and I'm going to solve that problem.

Vamosi: And sometimes technology in an of itself is not the answer to the problem at hand. 

Kent:  Google did that thing, a while back that guy that he pedaled his bike down to the library to figure out why his potato plants were dying and that Google gave him a mountain of technology and when Johnny when met that guy it's all still in the boxes, it's all piled up in the corner of his hut, he doesn't want that stuff he just wants his potatoes to not die.  There are several places in Africa where we do agronomy kind of training, you know, you have a few acres of land and you want to plant some seeds you got to really understand how that works. So just handing out a tablet that has, you know, basic agronomy stuff on it and letting them figure it out, is huge, you know,

Vamosi: Sometimes, something that we take for granted, such as the ability to go online and learn something, it's not always possible elsewhere. So one has to be creative and how to solve that.

Kent:  You know I can walk into a village in tribal Uganda handout 25 iPads and a little box that has a Khan Academy offline on it, and I can give the village a K through college education with a teacher that doesn't need to be a teacher to learning how to, you know, manage that kind of thing. If you want to change the world. You have to realize that you have to change the way you see it, Not the things you do in it.

Vamosi: Similarly, hackers for charity doesn't just want to ship technology, they also want to train others, and sometimes those others include fellow charities.

Kent: We work with all kinds of charities. They're the reason Hackers for Charity exist isn't because we, you know, want to hack charities, it's because we want to assist charities, with technology products in places that that's really difficult to do.

Vamosi: So you want to help out. You get on a plane and land in Uganda. Couple of immediate problems.  One, you might be suddenly surprised when your mobile doesn't work -- that is until someone teaches them how to hack.

Kent:  hack. So there's places all over the place where we come in and we say, All right, let's see how we can help you. In addition to that one of the biggest things that we help with is technology where technology is hard, you know, a bright eyed bushy tailed 21 year old grad student will show up in Africa, with their iPhone that's provider locked to their provider in America, all of a sudden they can't communicate, And they're used to being able to communicate. So being able to just simply hack the phone and unlock the provider on it has helped endless grad students, you know, get to the point where they could do things their laptop won't connect to the Wi Fi, or whatever grade. We see lots of those kinds of problems and we saw them all the time.

Vamosi: Sometimes it's just a matter of being creative, on the spot and applying your skills in a whole lot of different ways.

Kent:  And so that's one of the things that Johnny taught me a long time ago, and it's one of the things that I bring to the organization. 


Vamosi: It's not just Africa that needs our help. 

Kent:  We see huge amounts of charity being funneled into all kinds of places in places like the Philippines and where they're, you know, poor sections of town or just simply giving people jobs skills is important,

Vamosi: And it is not just ongoing struggles like Africa or the Philippines. Sometimes assistance is needed as the result of a natural disaster. For example hurricane maria in puerto rico

Kent:  Yeah so, I mean it's happening all over the place when the hurricane hit Puerto Rico. There are hackers in Puerto Rico, we sent them radios and lights and, you know stuffs that they, their core problem was when the power went out so to delights and when the lights went out. That was the security of the area that everyone was in no street lamps meant that thugs were running around. Well, you give a team of people radios and lights, ways to communicate and suddenly the thugs are being beat just by the fact that people can run inside and lock their doors.

Vamosi: Derby con was a hacker conference in Kentucky that lasted for about nine years. It was founded by Dave Kennedy and others, and is best known for its charitable spirit, and community. 

At DerbyCon in 2018, Jose Quinones, Carlos Perez presented A Hacker's Cookbook based on their world in Puerto Rico the previous year.

Daniel:  at Derby con community, both the organizing team and the volunteers but also the people that hung out at Derby con are part of it raised an incredible amount of money over the years. And it went a lot of different places include including Puerto Rico in it launched some things, but you know that that raised a lot of charitable contributions.

Vamosi: Someday I’ll have a whole episode around what was DerbyCon. But there are other conferences, as they mentioned, BSides, DEF CON, Hackers for Charity, they all help.

Daniel:  you know other ones have done that, not as not as much of a core kind of component of the event, but, you know, we've certainly seen events support a variety of things from food banks to, you know. 

Vamosi: And then there are other organizations. Such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation or EFF.  They’re a great resource for privacy information--and they have a browser add on called Badger that keeps your information from advertisers and others. Download it from the site. Jack’s a supporter of EFF

Daniel: They don't just protect us, I mean you know they're they're out there protecting those of us in the digital world but you know what the E FF does is not is not limited to what we do, they're trying to put their vision of a safer more secure and more private, digital life out there on the front lines and so when we work with EF f. We're doing that for everyone, not just us.


Vamosi: You don’t have to travel the world to find problems to solve, sometimes they're right here at home. 

Daniel:  A huge interest in mental health and mental health adjacent issues I've been involved with Joshua Corman and several others. For over a decade we've been talking about the impacts of stress and burnout and some survival tips, and trying to raise awareness in, you know, the, the bad news is we haven't made any progress in eradicating it the good news is that not just us but a lot of people have made real progress and raising awareness of the issue, which is a first step. 

Vamosi: And then there are individuals who did work beyond their work. Jack has been chronicling other people in InfoSec.  The Shoulders of InfoSec Project seeks to chronicle leaders in the community. There’s an Antivirus Pioneers page, a Web Application Security page, and finally a Rest In Code page for those who have passed. It's an amazing archive to have. One of those listed under Rest in Code was Bob Abbot

Daniel:  You know, Bob dabit when he was at Lawrence Livermore, did the computer programs and computer operating systems for healthcare. You know he wasn't just securing things at Lawrence Livermore, you know, he later went on to form, probably the earliest red team

Vamosi: So there are people like Ron Rivest, who is the R in RSA along with Whit Diffie who is perhaps best known for the Diffie Hellman algorithm, a key-exchange protocol that enables two parties communicating over public channel to establish a mutual secret without it being transmitted over the Internet. They too have been civic minded, in a variety of other things because of their interest in protecting people's rights to information, making the world a better place,

Daniel:  people like the early cryptography, people in our field, were, were interested in privacy and security and have continued to do that. So for people that are interested in, and have been involved in anti war movements and beyond or movements in. a variety of other things because they're interested in protecting people's private information and making the world a better place and we lose that often about people like Ron Rivest, and we're Duffy and people like that or you know Willis Ware.

Vamosi: Willis Ware was an extremely notable early contributor to infosec. The Ware Report was written in response to a request from ARPA, the forerunner of DARPA, tasked with identifying issues with "multi-access, resource-sharing computer systems". It was precinct in many ways, urging the development of internal and external encryption technologies to protect data on more open systems. In fact much of the thinking behind the Ware Report was incorporated into the infamous "Rainbow Series" of Defense Department regulations for trusted computer systems.

Daniel:  Most of us that are historians of any level are a threat, whether read the war where report from late 60s. In the early 70s Think about it as a computer science thing but because he had the vision he did he was very concerned about privacy. And that goes back to the mid 70s Pushing the US federal government to have a privacy law to protect everyone, not just those of us who know to worry about it and know how to do something about. 

Vamosi: And then there are those in our field such as Dan Kaminsky who quietly helped others.

Daniel:  Yeah, there are a lot of people that do a lot of things. you know we've, we've recently lost Dan Kaminsky. Like I said, when we talk about this, the first one that came to mind was, was Dan work with color blindness and a technical solution to that.

Vamosi:  DanKam is an app that Dan created that attempts to provide a variety of mechanisms for allowing the color blind to determine colors of objects around them.  It is still available from App Store for a nominal fee. Here’s Dan being interviewed on NBC News: 

NBCNews: If you're colorblind, you really just cannot tell that read from that green, Dan Cam is named for its developer, Dan Kaminsky, and internet security expert by de Kaminsky says he built the app to help a friend who is colorblind, and is frankly shocked by just how many people, he ended up helping people are telling me they're in tears,

Daniel:  his work to effectively give color sight to colorblind, was an amazing project, and that's the kind of thing.

Vamosi: And then there are the unsung heroes, individuals who work in their local PTA and other organizations, just one of the millions, working day to day but also teaching basic security skills, tech, to those who don’t know information security.

Daniel:  and so there are a lot of people that share their time to educate those outside of our communities on the fundamentals of security, securing themselves. You know there's there's a group and some of us are involved in those local things and we get into conversations about No, don't, don't, don't share the mail list that way please don't show me a list that way. Why not well here's why you don't want to do that. And so those things kind of happen organically, as well as the the more structured stuff, and, but we do tend to focus a lot of effort inward, and you know that kind of goes with the take care of your own community first and then reach out. So that's a tip. Yeah, there are a lot of people that do a lot of things. Like I said, when we talk about this 


Vamosi: After several years in Uganda with his family, Johnny Long has since relocated to the United States.  He remains however, creatively applying his hacking skills to non traditional areas effectively wherever he can..

Kent: When he was transitioning back into the US he came and stayed at my house for a couple of months and he went to this place called the eponymous idea foundry, where it's a, it's a maker space that has, you know, amazing fun tools, and he spent a month with a blacksmith, you know just making knives, and he decided that he wanted to come home, and I wanted to support him and

Vamosi: After spending time in Columbus, Ohio, Johnny resettled in rural Arkansas.

Kent: So Johnny came back here and he started taking things like a CNC machine and robotics, out into rural parts of the US

Vamosi: Here, I might add that a computer numerical controlled router, or CNC, in this case is actually not a computer router, in the networking sense, but a hardware router in the old school sense in that it cuts wood or plastic using computer software. 

Kent:  He lives in, he lives near Walmart, but he lives kind of far from them. So he's in the middle Arkansas right. Lots of poor schools and that kind of thing so he does technology programs, same thing he's doing in Africa. He does technology programs here and

Vamosi: Given that Johnny Long as since relocated to the United States does Hackers for Charity remain?

Kent:  but all the stuff that he started in Africa is still there. You know the training center is still there, the best computer training you can get in Uganda is in Jinja Uganda, the actress for charity computer training and corporations in Uganda send their staff there to learn how to use simple thing, word, all the way up through programming and how to use different kinds of tools.

Vamosi: it how has Hackers for Charity continue to operate against a worldwide pandemic.

Kent:  Yeah, so it turns out it's expensive to travel and if you're interested in charity you don't spend a lot of money on travel, for the charity I mean I've gotten Uganda several times, but you know I keep up with the guys in Uganda, they got hit really hard I mean think about the way we dealt with the pandemic in the United States was, you know, we kind of spent a couple of weeks at home and then but we didn't really and then everybody had to wear masks sorta in Uganda, they banned automotive travel, they banned people from walking down the street.

Vamosi: So different countries handled the pandemic, very differently.

Kent:  You had to stay home for a month. And people live hand to mouth there. Right, so the days that anybody could go into town. I sent cash, you know, Western Union luckily was still functioning and wasn't flagging me as a terrorist or whatever and I could send a few 100 bucks, so that I could feed 50 families, you know, 

Vamosi: even before technology, people were able to remain in touch, it might have taken months for that letter to arrive by ship or Pony Express, but there was communications. Today things are much better.

Kent:  That kind of thing is how I got them through the, through the pandemic and just yesterday I got a photograph of eight of our students just graduated from our apprentice program. We were able to keep things moving very slowly and I'll be it, you know, I don't know how much weight everybody lost but I'm sure it was a lot, because they couldn't eat and stuff. We got through it just by simply staying connected, and understanding the need was there. One of the major guys in my charities son was killed in a car accident during the pandemic couldn't hold a funeral forum couldn't, you know all the things that you can imagine were impacted by it. And he got hit by an ambulance. And so, you know, being able to be there for them in a way that was what they needed, required us to communicate with them so

Vamosi: I realize zoom isn't a great medium for communications, but it helped bridge the physical gap,

Kent:  Nut we've got this great global communication network and that's how we survived it. I mean, if anybody wants to argue with me that the internet's not super important right now I'll, I'll point you right back to every zoom kid that's spent time at classroom on zoom this year. We all have to learn. We've got to communicate like we have been, you know, hackers have been doing this for a long time and that communication got us all through this.

Vamosi: I'd really like to thank Jason Kent, and Jack Daniel, for veering off of our normal infosec  interviews and discussing this important other side to hacking. There have been a lot of great advancements made by hackers in our various communities and those advancements don't all involve Kali or Burp suite. Sometimes they involve hands and feet on the ground real world work as well. 

Let's keep the conversation going. You can follow and DM me @robertvamosi on Twitter. You can join our subedit. And you can visit the hacker to find out more about our new Discord server. I want to hear from you!

The Hacker Mind is brought to you every two weeks commercial free by ForAllSecure.

For the hacker mind, I remain your always civic minded Robert Vamosi.

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