Why Create HackFu?

If you talk to security people about cyber skills in the UK (and indeed further afield), they will undoubtedly tell you the following:

  1. That there aren’t nearly enough talented people
  2. Of those people, there are even less who truly understand “Cyber”

This is a big problem as in this complex and interconnected world, we will increasingly depend on people with the right skills and aptitude to protect governments, businesses and critical infrastructure.

And the impetus is growing rapidly. In the past few years, there has been an explosion in the number of damaging and highly-visible system compromises. If you're reading this, we hardly need to mention who. 

To those of us within the industry, these events have come as no surprise. 

So why is this happening?

When we start to analyse the reasons behind why these events occur, we always come back to a single problem - a broad lack of cyber skills. 

And whilst we won't discuss this in detail here, one thing that most agree on is that both industry and government should be focusing on developing these people who can prevent the security breaches of tomorrow. 

Despite the earlier point about the shortfall in British talent, the UK is still a world leader in security, possessing some of the brightest minds in the field. So from an industry perspective, our view is this - we need to take advantage of our experience and specialism in a way that will benefit as many others as possible.

So what do we mean by that? If a single company like MWR can equip people with the right approach and attitude for solving the difficult problems but more importantly we can inspire them to go on and teach others what they have learned - then, through the "multiplication" effect, we can amplify our efforts and increase our influence. 

We hope that doesn't seem like an oversimplification - we certainly don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge and also acknowledge that we cannot do this on our own. However, what we cannot do is simply to leave the problem for other people to address and hope that they get it right. 

What sort of skills are needed?

Before we start the process of finding the solutions to the tough challenges we face, it’s also important that we clearly understand what skills we need to pass on to others in order to equip people for the challenges we are facing. 

This isn’t solely about teaching technical security information, computer science disciplines, hacking techniques or the use of defensive tools and technologies. If it was, we could deliver those through professional training courses, University degrees, industry bodies, security conferences and Capture the Flag contests. 

Make no mistake, all of those have their place but if this is all we are using to inspire and teach the next generation of Cyber Security professionals, then we are missing the bigger picture.

Learning from a textbook can only teach what we know already, whereas the problems we face in the security industry every day need constantly new approaches and different thinking. 

We believe that to thrive in a rapidly-changing environment such as cyber security, you need to sharpen the creative, problem-solving part of your mind. 

This is something that we have come to call the "HackFu Mind" - something which will be covered frequently throughout this site and on our blog.

How do you create this mindset?

We've now created a case for a progressive approach to cyber-skills education, but how do we do that in practice? 

Well, we believe that the approach needed to develop this mindset should include the following key aspects:

  1. Enabling experience and knowledge to be shared as widely as possible.
  2. Challenging people to use creativity and problem solving skills rather than just learned knowledge and techniques.
  3. Making it fun and engaging for those who have the knowledge and those we need to inspire.

With this criteria, the logical destination we ended up many years ago was HackFu. Given that this was many years before this problem space was even acknowledged its understandable that HackFu has evolved and developed over that time, but at its core remain the same values we began with all that time ago. 

It's an event that pushes the skills of seasoned professionals to the limit (whilst welcoming security newcomers) and importantly, is produced in a highly-theatrical way that gets the whole industry talking.

Having now been through many iterations of this event, it's clear to us that only the type of challenges offered at events like HackFu have the ability to develop that creative problem-solving mind we mentioned earlier.

We believe that HackFu has the ability to create and seed a true understanding of cyber throughout the industry and beyond. 

This could have a significant effect in the race to close the cyber-skills gap - and we're proud to be doing our part. In continuing to develop HackFu and this site we also hope that others will continue this message and multiply our efforts.

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