One of the things I get asked the most about is questions about how to be a hacker and how to learn hacking skills. And I think there’s a few people I know who really epitomized what that’s all about, and we’ve had pretty deep journeys and in their lives and their careers about about computer hacking.
We talk a lot about the mindset of hackers, which is one of the things I’m super interested in and attracted to. I find to be very helpful way of thinking about things. But you know, when we’re talking about the technicalities of computer hacking, what that means, it really appeals to a certain kind of person and I think a lot of people just don’t know where to start. And so I wanted to share one of the folks that I find inspiring and who I’ve known for a long time. I think his life and his career sort of epitomizes what a lot of folks are thinking about when they’re asking about computer hacking.
And so his name’s Riley Eller and Riley’s sort of a famous in the hacker community because he used to run the most popular party for hackers called Caesar’s challenge. And we’d have this party once a year at DEF CON and only the league got in. Riley has done a great job over the years of figuring out how to get hackers partying, and get us all connecting to each other and making friends with each other.
I think that’s a really important and valuable thing for a community of folks who maybe having focused on social skills so much previously. And so Riley’s also known for being a member of the ghetto hackers, which was the first team of hackers to win the DEF CON Capture the Flag contest three years in a row.
Then they took it over and ran that contest for a few years and really up the game. This was the notorious, you know hacking contest, cause it was the first big hacking contest. It was the place where that got started. And now of course you have hacking contests all over the world, but capture the flag at Def CON is where it started.
The ghetto hackers were one of the first real teams to take that on and they advanced the game and really turned it into a spectator sport at DEF CON. And it’s, it’s gone on and evolved since then. We talk about that a bit in this conversation. We go deep into a little bit deep into talking about a wifi mesh networking at a company called CoCo Communications where Riley worked another one of our upcoming guests on the podcast, Jeremy Bruestle who was the founder of that company.
You can listen to that to learn a little more about CoCo, but a lot of those inventions and those technologies are just coming of age now. And so I think it’s actually pretty relevant and interesting because mesh networking is one of these things that keeps coming up again and again, and the problems are hard and interesting.
So that’s a cool conversation. And then later on, we talk about Caesar’s experience as a hacker growing up, how he got into it, what he’s learned, what he values about it as well as his ideas for how you can become a hacker. I am really excited to share Riley with you guys. He’s made a big impression on me and my life, so I hope you enjoy it.