Monday, July 20, 2015

At Hack&Beers is common giving a talk with a beer in one hand

Miguel Ángel Arroyo, maker of Hack&Beers events.

There are very good people creating software ... and others who have a knack for building communities. Miguel Angel Arroyo is one of the latter. In a couple of years he has been at the Andalusian city of Cordoba on the map of the community of Spanish cybersecurity. The kick-off was in May 2013 with the first meeting Hack & Beers, what is now hosted in 10 major cities in Spain, and the number will rise. A year later and with Maria Jose Montes began the brilliant idea of "Hacking Solidario" cybersecurity talks in exchange for food for the Food Bank and the Red Cross. This initiative has already gathered 200 kilos of food.

And not the whole thing. Last year they set up the first security conference in the history of Cordoba, Qurtuba Security Congress, with over 300 attendees. And it's just released the National Association of Professional Ethical Hacking, which is chaired by Michelangelo himself. Technical Management Information Systems Specialist, working on SVT Cloud Services, and studying Computer Engineering; married and father of "two wonderful children", shy smile and darting eyes, Miguel Angel Arroyo, 39, is a natural hard worker.

Where are you from?

When I was young, I was not the typical young wracking devices to investigate, but have always been very concerned about how things work. It started with seven years when I saw my brother, programming in Basic from scratch a submarine game, copying code from a book, for Schneider computer. Simply fascinated me that all those lines of code will result in a fun game of submarines.

It is not easy to build community among hackers, ever so demanding. What is your recipe?

To give you an example with Hack & Beers, I think that the success of this community lies in how open it is, both for attendees and speakers, its free and its fun and relaxed atmosphere. If you also manage to bring security and lovers of beer, you have the ideal recipe.

Why did you decide to found Hack&Beers?

I consider myself a very generous person and I like doing community, and the few I'm learning from this world of security, why not to share it? It seemed a great idea to gather and meet people with the same interests. I had no idea so many people were in Cordoba with the same interests as me concerning hacking. I keep a recent phrase from Jesus' Yago about Hack & Beers: "You must succeed because it is a very open source community." I think it's something that defines it perfectly.

Do you have an anecdote about Hack & Beers?

From the first minute, attendees and speakers are drinking beer. It is quite common to see the speaker giving his talk with the pointer in one hand and a beer in the other. From there, as you can imagine how much the event is relaxed. The interaction between attendees and speakers is continuous, it is not necessary to wait for a question and answer; everyone is free to speak and ask questions at any time. But to understand it better we must attend one. You join? ;-)

You have put Cordoba on the map of computer security

I do not care too get medals. We have spent several years promoting various security events in the city such as hacking workshops in colleges and universities or sensitization and awareness talks for parents and children, in schools and parents' associations. This, coupled with the success of the Hack & Beers, has allowed us a small hole in the map of cybersecurity. It is also true that we did not expect the response of the people of Cordoba whenever we organize any event related to computer security. That's very motivating, no doubt.

You give lectures to students, families... What do they care more about cybersecurity?

Every time they are more concerned. Young maybe not much, because they trust their computer skills to browse the Internet safely, but the parents. The news of harassment or extortion young, are making them reconsider, and they are starting to worry, for example, about what their children do on social networks, and what threats they are exposed to.

How did you have the idea for 'Hacking Solidario' initiative? 

María José Montes was already giving talks on cybersecurity awareness for parents and childrens. Even past year, Hack&Beers' convening power was quite important, and I asked her about using this power for helping needy. First 'Hacking Solidario' was organized in Córdoba, 2014 December, and we thought about collecting for Food Bank and giving our two cents, especially during such special dates. We collected an average 50/60 kilos per lecture.

You work in cloud security, which is now hatching. Do you think it is well planned conceptually?

In Spain we have good professionals in the Cloud and Security, although as with everything, there are things to improve, such as disclosing the need for Cloud providers certified by the Cloud Security Alliance, showing they have taken appropriate steps to Cloud services as safe as possible.

What is the difference between a hacker and an ethical hacker?

These are for me totally different concepts, and I think that we should not confuse ethical hacker with "good" hacker. Initial premise is that hackers are not bad, they are not cybercriminals. So why to use the adjective ethical? I keep in mind that the ethical hacker is a security professional, and ethical hacking a discipline within the world of computer security, such as reverse engineering. In fact, our partnership is an association of professionals practicing ethical hacking, not an association of "good" hackers, that we already take for granted.

Does any sentence guide your footsteps? (A sentence you have not turned into password)

It's a sentence I used when I first started my blog, and the reason is that during the creation of the blog, Wordpress asked me a name for the blog and a little sentence, and it is a little pun: "Are you sure you're secure?" (In Spanish, 'sure' and 'secure' are both "seguro").

Texto: Mercè Molist


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