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“If you have done well in whatever business you are in, it’s your duty to send the elevator back down and try to help bring up the next generation of undiscovered talent.”

As someone who has been in the security industry for over a decade, this quote from Kevin Spacey resonates with me. I have found the information security field to be particularly interesting due to the fact that formal education has little to do with how well you can perform your job.

The fact that teenagers are raking in bug bounties worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over seasoned and highly trained industry veterans is fascinating. This goes to show that while education is important, passion is critical.

Having at least an interest in security is something that I discovered to be important while attempting to teach our young interns about the nuances of SQL injection, cross site scripting and brute force attacks.

The first year of the internship program had lofty goals with plans to use various tools and procedures employed every day by members of our research teams. However, there was a critical component lacking: something to connect their interests with information security.

In 2016, we found that connection to be robots. Over the course of the summer, the interns built, hacked and secured a robot using common tactics, techniques and procedures used by white and black hats every day. You can read one of our 2016 interns’ experiences here.

On Saturday, October 19, I will be at BSidesPDX discussing the intern program Tripwire has offered over the past two years. I am excited to participate in the new format of talks this year, where three similarly themed 20-minute talks will be held back-to-back-to-back, followed by a one-hour panel with the three speakers.

I will be part of the Security and Education track to discuss how we were able to get our interns not only interested but also excited about information security.

I look forward to seeing everyone there, as well as learning a thing or two myself.