For most non technical people, who hear about computer security either in the news because of some giant breach or in the movies, there are two kind of hackers:
- The professional people hired by often large company to ensure network security. These are the good guys.
- The delinquents, who act on their own outside of any professional and legal frames. These are the bad guys.
However such people are missing that before being hired as a professional IT security engineer, one need to develop certain knowledge which must mandatory pass through personal experience.
Moreover, such news and movies added to the technical nature of this matter brings some kind of "mysterious" feeling on this subject, causing often very emotive reaction from people ranging from fascination to reject.
How can we preserve the sensitivity of other people and present ethical hacking in a positive, understandable way?
This question mainly focuses on school administration where teachers and principals may not be rightly informed on the subject and, for the sake of protecting pupils from bad influences, may be encouraged to take wrong decisions.
(Serving as a concrete illustration of the question above)
Let me be frank here. I changed my school two years ago when I was in grade 7 (12 yo). I have always had difficulties in making new friends and this time was no exception. I had always been interested in technology and since I had nothing better to do, I got into coding and, in the process, Penetration Testing. I created my own website on penetration testing and everyone in school started calling me the hacker of the school. In this process, I made a lot of friends and often helped them solve problems related to technology.
But, you have to understand that here in India, you just need a BSc (bachelor of computer science) degree to become a school teacher. The two ladies who taught computers in my school got jealous of me over two years and went and blabbed a whole lot of nonsense to the principal.
The principal called my mother and told her that there was no surveillance at home and that she is a bad parent who is destroying my future. My mother, being the awesome person she is, believes that learning Hacking is just a way to gain knowledge and defended me
The conversation with my principal went something like this
Principal: So what do you mean by ethical hacking? (she insists on calling penetration
Me: Basically finding bugs in code and fixing them before a bad guy can exploit them.
Principal: But why would you want to do that? Can't companies hire people to do that?
I'm a principal do I go and find faults in other schools? (She has been
Me: Because there are open source codes and free software and the organisations can't
afford to hire people to do the job. Also, I think it is fun.
Principal (to my mother):Why are you even letting Rahul do all this?
Mom: Because I think this is a part of learning and since he is getting good grades, I
don't see anything to complain about.
Principal: But why do it at this age?
Mom: Because this is his passion.
Principal: There is no surveillance at home. He is going down the wrong path. I am
banning him from using school computers and forbidding him from taking
computers as his hobby. (referring to the hobby subject in school)
Mom: If he's going down the wrong path, then take him in the computer hobby and bring him to the right path.
Principal: We cannot trust him.
Mom (sarcastic and bitter): So should we take away his phone, lock away the computers,
destroy his passion?
Principal: Mrs <insert surname here>, If I was in your place, I would have done that long ago.
Shortly after this, I changed my school again. How can I prevent a similar situation from taking place at my new school?
PS: I'm in grade 9 now (14 yo)...