DEF CON Head Of Security Calls On Hackers To Help Save Lives During Outbreak

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Marc Rogers, DEF CON's head of security
Marc Rogers, DEF CON's head of security, posing for a photo at an event. Photo: Twitter / @marcwrogers

Marc Rogers, Head of Security for DEF CON, the world’s largest hacker conference, gave a number of tips to his fellow hackers on how they can help save lives amid the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic in an open letter.

“The internet is our home. We above all in society are best equipped to handle physical isolation. We have huge support networks and deeply close connections. Most in society are not like us. We can help them,” Rogers said, addressing the hacker community in his letter published on March 15.

He suggested that hackers can utilize their skills and mental health capabilities to help those who need help in these times of crisis by supporting them and showing them alternative ways of continuing human connection.

Pointing to the importance of community for every individual, he recommended that hackers create online groups and organize virtual events for their non-internet friends and “keep inviting them even if they don’t come.”

He additionally called on his community to organize a “supply chain” and establish a communication channel for medical needs, but warned them against printing thousands of parts without guidance, as “medical devices often have subtle complexities that can be harmful or fatal if you get them wrong.”

According to his blog, Rogers has been a hacker since the 80’s and has worked in the security sector for almost 20 years, including for Vodafone. Aside from his position as the head of security, he is part of the CFP review board for DEF CON.

DEF CON was first held in 1993 and has been organized every year in Las Vegas, Nevada, ever since, with the attendance of computer and information security researchers, hackers, journalists, government workers and people interested in the field.

The 28th edition of the convention is scheduled to take place on August 6-9, 2020 at the New Caesars Forum, Harrah’s, Linq, & Flamingo Hotels in Las Vegas. Currently, there is no announcement from DEF CON’s organizers about a possible delay or cancellation.

You can find the full text of Rogers’ open letter here.

G. Hilal Aygun (Stellmach) is a journalist with 10 years of professional experience in the field. She also practiced as a lawyer for two years prior to her career in journalism. She founded NOVO Gazette to create a platform for independent journalism. You can follow her Twitter account: @MyRedSelf

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