Hackers for Charity is People

For far too long we have been kind of missing what Jonny has been asking of us. Sure, we provide money and buy and wear the shirts from Hackers for Charities. And let’s be honest, wearing a shirt is a cool way to show support and get extra attention from the TSA. But, I think we all know there was a bit more to it than that.

What Jonny is asking for is us. People. Money is nice. But it does not replace actually being there, helping. So, SecureIdeas, Security Weekly, TrustedSec, Ed Skoudis and Black Hills Information Security decided we wanted to take a slightly different approach. Rather than simply donating money every so often, we are going to actually provide support in the form of real people. Specifically, providing consultants from our companies or our own time. Further, we will cover the costs of travel and the salary for our folks while they are onsite or working for HFC local in the states.

Why? And, what makes this different?

As to why, it is the right thing to do. There are many, many right things to do every day. There are so many charities and organizations to support. But, this one is “ours.” Hackers for Charities was created by one of our own in the security community. It is the only charitable organization with amazing reach and support for which we can say, “it stated here.” Jonny is our family, we are his, as he goes, so we go. It would be a tragic loss if that ever went away. It is a tremendous gift Jonny has given by asking us for help. We need to protect it with fire.

As to what makes this different. We know that right now there are hundreds of security professionals who would love to spend a week helping Jonny, but in order to do so, they would need to take vacation time. We want to help remove that barrier. By either providing our time personally, or by allowing our people to go without financial penalty to support one of the finest causes we have.

Now, that was easy, here comes the hard part. We are calling on other security consulting companies and professionals to do the same. If TrustedSec, BHIS and SecureIdeas can afford to send one or two professionals for a few weeks imagine what some of the larger companies can do.

Here is a humble recommendation for those companies who have HR departments who are uncomfortable with supporting specific charities, or charities that are attached to a specific religion. Let your employees choose the charity. It could be HFC. It could be a charity attached to Islam, Christianity, Hindu or Buddhist or not religious at all.

Let them do it.

“You who live safe

In your warm houses,

You who find warm food

And friendly faces when you return home.

Consider if this is a man

Who works in mud,

Who knows no peace,

Who fights for a crust of bread,

Who dies by a yes or no.

Consider if this is a woman

Without hair, without name,

Without the strength to remember,

Empty are her eyes, cold her womb,

Like a frog in winter.

Never forget that this has happened.

Remember these words.

Engrave them in your hearts,

When at home or in the street,

When lying down, when getting up.

Repeat them to your children.

Or may your houses be destroyed,

May illness strike you down,

May your offspring turn their faces from you.”

― Primo Levi

Paul & John

Paul Asadoorian

Paul Asadoorian is currently the Principal Security Evangelist for Eclypsium, focused on firmware and supply chain security awareness. Paul’s passion for firmware security extends back many years to the WRT54G hacking days and reverse engineering firmware on IoT devices for fun. Paul and his long-time podcast co-host Larry Pesce co-authored the book “WRTG54G Ultimate Hacking” in 2007, which fueled the firmware hacking fire even more. Paul has worked in technology and information security for over 20 years, holding various security and engineering roles in a lottery company, university, ISP, independent penetration tester, and security product companies such as Tenable. In 2005 Paul founded Security Weekly, a weekly podcast dedicated to hacking and information security. In 2020 Security Weekly was acquired by the Cyberrisk Alliance. Paul is still the host of one of the longest-running security podcasts, Paul’s Security Weekly, he enjoys coding in Python & telling everyone he uses Linux.

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