hacking, corncon,cyber security,davenport

Kids and grown ups face reality of cyber-security at annual convention

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Hacking and cyber security has been a hot topic since the 2016 presidential election. Organizers at CornCon realized that and brought awareness to the problem at their annual convention.

“It's very topical, everyone talks about Russia but every nation state hacks and does that type of stuff and there's all other kinds of groups that do it too and I think we've got a midterm election coming up and I don't want to get political but this is something that people should get concerned about,” said Shadrack Roberts. Roberts co-founded the event and is looking to grow the program.

“I call it silicorn valley, we're trying to do that here, there's room for growth here,” said Roberts.

The event shows people the latest in technology but also raises awareness on just how easy it is to get hacked.

 “A lot of times people don't think they're going to be good at this stuff until they just try it,” said Roberts.

They also showed them ways to protect themselves by not clicking on ads on social media,  and being careful with what information is given out over the phone.

“How to prevent certain things from happening you know patching your systems, practicing defense in depth, having a very holistic approach to cyber security to make sure that you're not the next victim,” said Anthony Lauderdale. Lauderdale spoke on Russian information warfare and the importance of getting kids involved.

While adults listened and learned, kids got hands on in the hacker village. Complete with drones, lock picking and hacker jeopardy.

“DefCon the biggest hacking conference or cyber security conference they have a problem called roots so what we have done is actually work at roots at DefCon and brought that little micro version here to the Quad Cities,” said Roberts.

“There's tons of potential there it's crazy how good some of the kids are it's just amazing,” said Roberts.

“Start early, get kids interested in cyber security and when they become of school age and they graduate they'll actually have those skills,” said Lauderdale.

Election hacking came up in both age groups.

“It's very topical, everyone talks about Russia but every nation state hacks and does that type of stuff and there's all other kinds of groups that do it too and I think we've got a midterm election coming up and I don't want to get political but this is something that people should get concerned about,” said Roberts.

For the organizers at Corn Con hacking is important no matter who it is happening to.

“To me I look at it like anything else whether it be an ATM or a voting machine you want to insure the integrity of those devices,” said Roberts.

During conventions they have seem kids hack into a voting machine simulation in under a few minutes.