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CMU hackers give a glimpse into the hacker psyche

posted by Daniel Tkacik
February 23, 2017

Hackers from CMU's hacking team, PPP (clockwise starting from Top Left): Carolina Zarate, Tim Becker, Ned Williamson, and Melanie Rich-Wittrig

Today, billions of things are connected to the Internet – from smartphones and smart thermostats to critical infrastructure like the electric grid or water distribution systems. All of these “things” make up the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s growing at an unprecedented rate.

With the rise of IoT, the demand for cybersecurity skills has never been higher. Positions are going unfilled and companies can’t seem to hire enough talented people to fill these much needed jobs.

Why is this? Part of the answer comes down to the public perception of hacking. 

“The challenge right now is that society doesn’t really know what hacking is,” says CyLab director David Brumley. “They don’t know that this is a career you can go into and that there’s a huge number of jobs and people get paid a lot of money for it.”

Brumley, a professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Bosch Professor of Computer Security and Privacy, is the faculty advisor to the top internationally-ranked competitive hacking team at Carnegie Mellon, the Plaid Parliament of Pwning (PPP).

In this podcast episode, Brumley shares his thoughts on why there’s a shortage of cybersecurity talent right now, and members of PPP share their thoughts on hacking, giving us all a glimpse into the hacker psyche.


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