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Who Needs a Hug?

At the Security Bsides in Las Vegas this year, a call for a hug was sent out.  Two of the leaders in the IT security and compliance conversation, Mike Dahn and Josh Corman, tended to have some friction.  Gene Kim, a friend with both of these guys, had observed that they both wanted to make the IT industry more secure but they had strong opinions about the affect that PCI had on that goal.  These strong opinions caused a lot of tension between the two.

During Gene’s presentation at Bsides in Las Vegas, he called out this common goal and the friction.  After the show, people actually started a pool of when the two would hug.  Hearing this call for action, we decided that we had a real opportunity to bring these two together to further the PCI conversation for the benefit of the security industry.  The PCI Hug It Out idea was born.  Once Martin McKeay and Gene got together, the PCI Hug It Out podcast series was born.

Over the next couple of weeks, you will be able to download a podcast series over on the Network Security Podcast site.  This podcast has been a passion for Martin for a long time.  Gene and Martin will moderate this series because both of these guys are friends with Josh and Mike and they want to see better security in the IT industry.  They believe that PCI can be an important part of that goal.  The series will be an interview with Mike Dahn first, then Josh Corman and in the final episode they come together.  You won’t want to miss any of these conversations, especially the final conversation when the two talk face to face. You can follow it all on Twitter by watching the #PCIHugItOut tag.

Download the first podcast in the series with Mike Dahn here or over on the Network Security Podcast site.

Since there was money being offered, we decided that we could do something good with it.  We orchestrated the day when they met, so didn’t want a betting pool on that.  We decided that the money would go to charity.  By the time we organized, individuals had already pledged over $600.  Tripwire will match up to the first $1,000 for these great causes.  We had a good start and more is coming in every day.

The Charities (Where Your Donation Goes)

So, where does your generous donation go? The first $1000 we raise will go to Hackers for Charity, the next $1000 will go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and any donations above that will be split evenly between the two.

For those of you unfamiliar with these wonderful charities, here’s the scoop on them:

Hackers For Charity:

Rockstar hacker Johnny Long turned one small speaking engagement at the world’s largest (and most infamous) hacking conference DEFCON, along with his expert hacking and writing skills, into a passion for helping people. It’s really quite an amazing story and you can read more about it here.

So what does Hackers For Charity do?

They feed children through their  “food for work” program. They build computer labs to help students learn skills and land jobs that are key to disrupting poverty’s vicious cycle. They provide technical assistance to charities that cannot afford IT services. They provide job experience and references to our volunteers. Their largest project to date is headed by Johnny Long in East Africa. In June 2009, he and his family relocated to Uganda to focus on HFC full-time.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

If your freedoms in the networked world come under attack, who you gonna call? Forget the Ghostbusters, call the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit and according to their site:

“Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 61,000 concerned citizens through our Action Center, EFF beats back bad legislation. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public.”

Certainly a worthwhile cause and we are happy to support them.

How to Donate:

There are several ways for you to donate. First of all, you can send an email to and he will take care of you. Second, you can post your pledge on Twitter with the hashtag #PCIHugItOut or you can add a comment with your pledge to the Tripwire blog (that is where you are now), Gene Kim’s blog, or on Martin McKeay’s blog.  As we get pledges, we will direct you where to donate so that we get the distribution right between these two great charities.

Thanks to everyone that made this series possible.  There is some really great content here.  Please join in the conversation here in the comments section or on Twitter using the #PCIHugItOut tag.

Thanks and enjoy!