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It’s 1997 and You’re Surrounded by Long-Haired White Guys in Backpacks

Theo de Raadt on computer software and security, circa 1997 at a Hackers on Planet Earth conference.

Theo: When you don’t like your job, do you do a good job?
Audience: No.
Theo: It sucks, right? It’s garbage… Everything that we’re working on trying to improve, it’s stuff that we want to and really fix and make better… It’s all just a best effort.

In 8th grade, my English class was tasked with picking an interesting person from history and writing a research paper on him or her. I chose Kevin Mitnick [1]. I remember reading about Kevin Poulin, MOD, and random text files from BBSs. With these soures and Tsutomu Shimomura’s Takedown, among other sources, to explain his capture from the viewpoint of his capturer [2]. I believe that is when computer security, software development, and the concept of taking something apart with the intent of finding a new or improved way of putting it back together again really caught my interest.

Since, Kevin Mitnick published Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Computer Hacker in 2011. I’m excited to read it, and I’ll post a brief review when I get to this one.

[1] Ms. Podgorski originally denid my request to write on Kevin Mitnick. After a series of tries, I ultimately had to pitch my case to the vice principal and state that it was really on his capturer, Tsutomu Shimomura. They had a more difficult time arguing with that, and I was allowed to write the Mitnick-centric paper.

[2] Takedown is largely perceived as factually incorrect, rumor-ridden, egotistical, and simply an opportunity for Shimomura to take center stage and demonize hackers.

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