Two young Australian hackers have launched a not-for-profit aimed at giving up-and-coming talent a leg up into the local information security industry.
Hackers Helping Hackers has kicked off its seed funding campaign with a $10,000 personal donation from founder Nathaniel 'Naffy' Wakelam.
Wakelam and co-founder Shubam 'Shubs' Shah - both in their early 20s - have for the past two years been fundraising amongst friends and colleagues to send budding hackers to infosec conferences in the Asia Pacific.
The intent is to bring young talent into the Australian infosec community fold and steer them onto the right path.
“Early on, we were unaware of many of the great opportunities that were out there to support us. We didn’t even know that information security conferences existed," Shah said.
“That’s where the idea for Hackers Helping Hackers came from. I wanted to create a way to support young hackers like me, and help them find a legal way to use their talents,” Wakelam said.
“Diversifying hacking matters. Minorities, including young people, aren’t given the same opportunities as others in the industry, and they often bring tremendous value, skill and brilliance which would otherwise be lost.”
The response to their efforts spurred the decision in late 2016 to formalise this philanthropic endeavour through a registered not-for-profit.
The organisation is now seeking seed funding - from both individual donations and corporate partnerships - to fund its operations for the next year.
The majority of the money will cover sending young hackers to information security conferences. It will also cover the organisation's operating costs.
A single round of recruitment will be undertaken later this year, and an as-yet undecided number of people will be chosen to attend three conferences in 2018.
If the organisation has "the time and the money" it will also set up networking and recruitment events to connect the young hackers with employers in the industry.