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Hacking your way to an IT career

August 13, 1999
Web posted at: 1:36 p.m. EDT (1736 GMT)

by Ann Harrison
Hackers, IT consultants embrace free security tool

Hacking group reveals IP-security glitch


ALTLANDSBERG, GERMANY (IDG) -- At the first annual Chaos Communication Camp, which took place outside of Berlin last weekend (see "Hackers on holiday," link below), hundreds of hackers and their machines filled the main hack tent exchanging information on the latest exploits and security tools. Most were young, skillful and in demand by corporate information technology departments.

The camp, which attracted some of the most talented European and American hackers, was one of the largest hacker gatherings in Europe so far this year.

David Del Torto, director of technology for security services at Deloitte & Touche in San Francisco, agreed. He noted that hackers like himself were working at all the top five auditing and accounting firms.

Del Torto presented hacker career workshops with titles such as "Take This Job and Ping It/Hacking The Corporate Ladder For Fun & Profit."

The following are some of the tips he offered hackers seeking corporate jobs:

  • Write your own job description.

  • Volunteer for a project in your area of expertise.

  • Network with people.

  • Start your own company.

  • Or sign on to another start-up.

    He also advised the crowd to build tools they themselves would use ("You should be customer No. 1!"), license technology when appropriate and solve problems with free software or generate it.

    "When building reputation capital, it's pretty important to learn to think like the boss," he said.

    In addition to his day job, Del Torto is a member of the Cypherpunks, a San Francisco-based hacking organization that produces what he calls "no-compromise" security technology.

    Del Torto had advice for his Fortune 1000 brethren, too. Asked if young hackers, who may not be partial to suits and ties, are discriminated against, Del Torto recalled that Dan Farmer, author of the widely used Satan network scanning tool, was once turned down by a prospective employer who found his appearance unsettling. He urged IT managers to avoid superficial judgments and focus on the reputation of the individual. IT managers interviewing young people who "act differently" should remember when they were young, he advised.

    Del Torto noted that in the relatively small community of IT security professionals, people are preceded by their reputations. He said he knows programmers who are talented, but he won't hire or recommend them because they don't act responsibly.

    Reporter's notebook: Hackers on holiday
    August 11, 1999
    Convicted hacker gives advice at DefCon
    July 13, 1999
    Low-income youth prepare for Internet careers
    June 28, 1999
    Opinion: How to get started in IT -
    March 15, 1999
    Economic changes blamed for IT labor shortage
    February 9, 1999
    IT's cool enough for Rolling Stone
    December 10, 1998

    Hackers on holiday
    Want to prevent break-ins? Just ask a hacker
    Hackers share secrets at Black Hat Briefings
    Hackers break into Army Web site
    Hackers tell Congress how they operate
    Y2K may mask hacker attacks
    Teen hacker sentenced for downing airport phones
    Year 2000 World
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    Deloitte & Touche LLP
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