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The Never Ending Hack: Mental Health in InfoSec Community - Danny Akacki (Circle City Con 2018 Videos) (Hacking Illustrated Series InfoSec Tutorial Videos)

The Never Ending Hack: Mental Health in InfoSec Community
Danny Akacki

@dakacki
Circle City Con 2018

This is a presentation about feeling alone. It started out as a story of one hacker desperately looking for help, help to quell the noise and destruction in his own head. It quickly morphed into a call to arms to everyone in the security community fighting their own mental demons. Mental health is a subject not many people are open to discussing. It carries with it the stigma of being "broken" or "flawed". Because of this, many people think they have to deal with it alone. This is the worst kind of security through obscurity because it leaves the very people sworn to protect the data of their clients, vulnerable. How does feeling stressed, depressed or anxious affect our ability to defend against those that seek to hack the human? How can we protect others if we don't have the means to protect ourselves? This talk will endeavor to discuss these topics. The idea started just after DEF CON 24. I finally hit a wall. This wall was familiar; I knew what it looked like but it seemed to be a moving a target. I never knew where it would pop up, how fast I'd be going when I hit it, or how long it would take me get back up. Even today, the only thing I know for certain is the things that used to work have suddenly lost their sway. The therapists called it “major depressive disorder”. I just called it “please, not again”. Then, one day, there was a question. Who else is feeling this way? Am I really alone in this? So, I sent out an SOS to the security community and people responded, a lot of them. Depression, anxiety, addiction, schizophrenia, all happening in our community. People just like me, just wanting someone to talk to. I am not a doctor or anything close to a mental health expert, but I am one of those people flailing in the dark. This talk is a flare, shot up through that darkness. It's a signal that no matter how dark life can get, you are most certainly not alone. I am sharing my story to act as a beacon for others, so they can see there is hope and support available. We are stronger together.

Danny is just a hacker that adores what he does and the community that surrounds him. He is an enthusiastic speaker with a love of Tribal Knowledge Sharing, Japanese whisky and lock picks. Danny has spoken at events like BSides Augusta, BSides Philadelphia and is one third of the Rally Security podcast crew. He is also the creator of DEF CON 610 and InfoSanity.org, a resource and sounding board for those dealing with mental health issues in the Information Security community.

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