LAS VEGAS. For many, the term ‘Hacker’ is something to be feared.
But after sitting through Johnny ‘I hack stuff’ Long’s Black Hat session titled, “From Me to We’ – the definition of hacker needs to be redefined.
Long told the capacity crowd that he quit his job and moved to the African nation of Uganda in order to support an effort known as Hackers for Charity.
He’s currently living on donations, from fellow hackers.
In his talk, Long detailed his rise to fame as one of he most prominent hackers on Earth thanks to his book, “Google Hacking.” Yet even with all his fame, he wasn’t happy he want to do something useful and make a difference and that’s what he’s doing now – helping the under-privileged in Africa to live better (and more connected) lives.
Long noted that his skills as a hacker were developed in part by his participation in the hacker community.
“I didn’t have a single o-day to may name, I didn’t invent anything but I ended up with a dozen book projects,” Long said.
Long book’s are part of his charity effort. Long’s book ‘No Tech Hacking’ which he packaged as part of his 2007 Black Hat session had all of its net proceeds going to charity.
Beyond just living in Africa, he has successfully solicited the help of the hacker community, with fellow hackers donated money, time and skills. There is also an effort called the informer project, where hackers give paying/donating member pre-releases of stuff.
“There is darkness in our community there is evil here,but that’s the minority,” Long said. “The majority of us are just curious.
But the work hacker is applied and that’s a word for criminal.”
Long is no criminal in my view, he’s a missionary and that’s his message now too.
“The message is to get involved in something bigger than yourself, make a difference,” Long said.
Picture: Johnny Long Credit: Sean M. Kerner