Are you worried your son or daughter may be a computer hacker? It’s not the end of the world! This article will discuss what you should look out for, what you should know, and how you can direct your energy to something needed in this world.
Note, this article was made in reference to another, with the name of ‘Is your son a computer hacker”? In today’s world, hackers do not have a defined gender and males, females and non-binary individuals can be interested in hacking and part of the information security community.
This article is inspired by the terrible result that’s currently showing as #1 on google for “Is your son a computer hacker?” The link, located here, is not only outdated (20+ years old) but also filled with incorrect information that’s glorified from the early days of the internet (and honestly, as someone in the IT industry, it’s hilarious).
What you should look out for if you think your son is a computer hacker
I want to start by putting your worries at ease; being a hacker is not always bad; the world needs more of them.
The hacker good guys, known as “White Hat Hackers,” “The Blue Team,” or “The Purple Team,” are in high demand and short supply, and to beat hackers at their own game, you need to think like a hacker.
As a parent, if you think your son is a computer hacker, your only job is to help support him through his learning journey and help to keep him on the side of the good guys. You’ll not only provide him with a life-long passion but also one of the most financially rewarding careers currently available in IT.
The information I’m going to provide will sometimes be technical at times, and we’ll do our best to give breakdowns of what some of that technical information means. To truly understand if your son is a hacker, you’ll need to spend the time to learn the basics.
You don’t just fall into hacking; you must learn the correct tools and processes. Is your son a reader? Here are some of the top books he may have if he’s learned to hack.
A Reddit user asked, “What are your favorite hacking books?” and the best responses provided the following results: (No affiliate links were used)
- Hacking: The Art of Exploitation
- Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State
- TOR DARKNET BUNDLE
- We Have Root: Even More Advice from Schneier on Security
- Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World
- The Art of Invisibility: The World’s Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data
- Hands on Hacking: Become an Expert at Next Gen Penetration Testing and Purple Teaming
- A Hacker Manifesto
- Open Source Intelligence Techniques: Resources for Searching and Analyzing Online Information
- Obfuscation: A User’s Guide for Privacy and Protest (The MIT Press)
- Cyberpunks Cyberfreedom: Change Reality Screens (Reboot Your Brain)
- Permanent Record
- Steal This Computer Book 4.0: What They Won’t Tell You About the Internet
- Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success
- Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money
- 2600 Magazine
Some of these resources are paid for, so if you provide subscription services for your son, note any of the names on this list.
- Wonder HOWTO – Null Byte
- OverTheWire: Wargames
- UnderTheWire: Wargames
- PortSwigger: Web Security Academy
Thousands of hacking tools exist across all kinds of computer systems, but one particular version of an operating system stands out as the ‘go-to hacking tool.’
Kali Linux is an open-source operating system geared towards various information security tasks, such as Penetration Testing, Security Research, Computer Forensics, and Reverse Engineering.
If your son has progressed his knowledge enough, his computer operating system will not be Windows or Mac; like almost all computers, it will be a version of Linux, namely Kali.
Kali Linux will look a little different from other systems, and to get a feel as to what that might look like, take a moment to watch the following video:
Does cryptocurrency & bitcoin mean my son is a hacker?
Cryptocurrency and bitcoin use does not mean your son is a hacker. Cryptocurrency is defined as:
A digital currency in which transactions are verified and records are kept using cryptography instead of a centralized authority.
In short, cryptocurrency is a digital currency not centrally controlled by a government entity. Its value is entirely decided by the open market, much like a stock or index. Being interested in or actively trading cryptocurrency is not related to hacking at all.
Why is cryptocurrency & bitcoin related to hacking?
Because of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrency, hackers & cyber criminals have chosen it as their currency of choice.
Hacking in television & modern media
What you see in movies and television shows and what is often reported by the media is not an accurate representation of either hackers or the practice of hacking.
Very few entertainment pieces show actual hacking, and hackers don’t sit in dark rooms wearing dark hoodies.
Utilizing Wikipedia’s List of computer criminals you can see that the people that have been prosecuted for cyber crimes so far look like normal people!
You’ve discovered your son is a hacker; what do you do?
No, we mean it.
Your son could be part of the ever-evolving, constantly growing, and much-needed information security community with the correct guidance and resources.
The cybersecurity industry is growing
Utilizing a report from GrandViewResearch on Cyber Security Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report it shows that the current spend on cyber security infrastructure and services in 2022 is $202.72 Billion, forecasting growth to $500.70 Billion in 2030.
The industry forecast shows a growth of 150% in the next 10 years. That growth will require talented individuals to fill roles and provide the kind of skills your son is gaining during this adventure.
The cybersecurity industry pays well
The average salary for a hacker (read: penetration tester) in 2022 is currently $120,000 US per year or $61.54 per hour.
Compared to the average US salary of $54,132 they will be making a significant premium in a job that requires no manual labor and will be in demand and secure.
How to support your son in learning hacking
As with any activity, your children may be interested in, you don’t need to understand it you just need to support it. Ask questions, be interested, engage & challenge.
If they like to read, provide them with some of the books we’ve recommended in this post, or get them a subscription to some of the services we’ve recommended (we recommend hackthebox).
If you can get past the negative rhetoric that “Hacking” has and teach your son to be a cybersecurity/information security (infosec) professional, you will set them up for life in a rewarding and challenging career.
If you’d like more information on the subject, don’t hesitate to contact us directly at Nerds On Site.