Why Is This Even Necessary

The views expressed in this entry, as in all entries on my website, represent my personal views alone. They do not necessarily represent the views, policies or standards of my current or any previous employers. No content on my website is promoted or endorsed by my employers. I am a free man, and my thoughts are my own.

In a few weeks both Def Con and Blackhat will be going on, and there’s going to be a lot of media scrutiny for them due to the recent NSA leaks, Snowden and the Aaron Swartz incident. All of that along with the usual announcements of new security tools, exploits, and other goodies.

Not to mention the increasing frequency of people at IT conferences sexually harassing and assaulting other people.

So really, that I even have to sit down and write this blog article to explain how to behave as a human being is frankly insane. But well, a lot of hackers may be considered ‘crazy’ by some standards. So be it.

Please do me a favor and distribute this far and wide to colleagues, friends, and anyone you know who is attending DefCon/Blackhat along with any B-Sides or other security conferences. Nothing in here is unique to InfoSec, everything below applies to how human beings should interact. But apparently some remedial training is now in order.
(If you find any errors let me know. I’m also more than open to refinement of definitions, suggestions, etc)


  1. Don’t be a dick.
  2. Seriously, follow #1. I don’t care about your age, gender, race, religion, creed or unix editor preference. “Don’t be a dick” means “Don’t do things to make people hate you just because you want to.” If you don’t feel like doing that, stay home.
  3. Keep your hands to yourself.
  4. Don’t assault other people. Threatening people verbally is assault. Assault does not need to be physical.¬†¬† See also: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Assault_vs_Battery
  5. If you want to have sex, find a willing partner. At a different time and place.
    HINT: Your hand counts.
  6. If someone says they were assaulted or harassed, assume they are telling the truth. You are not the law. Let a LEA handle it. But don’t ignore it.
  7. Follow all the rules for your conference.
  8. Save drama for the Internet.


  • No – No
  • Yes – Yes
  • Maybe – No (See also Commandment #5)
  • Chauvinism – Patronizing, bellicose behavior towards another based on group membership. May or may not include gender discrimination (see: Sexism)
  • Sexism – Discrimination based on gender. Not necessarily related to sexual contact, though sexual harassment can be a form of or extension of sexism.
    HINT: Saying someone can’t do something based on their gender is sexism. Saying one gender is better than another is sexism as chauvinism.
  • Sexual Harassment – Unwanted sexual contact, suggestions, images, jokes, sounds, etc.
  • Sexual Assault – Physical execution of sexual harassment. Also, a felony aka jail time. Does not require sexual intercourse. Touching a person in an intimate area is sufficient.
  • Rape – Fully executed sexual intercourse by force, coercion¬† or threat. Still a felony.
  • Statutory Rape – Sex between a minor and an adult, even if the minor has given willing consent. Because the law doesn’t recoginize minors as being able to give consent.
    NOTE: The thing you want least in this world are law-enforcement agents thinking you have had sex with a minor. You’ll be better off setting yourself on fire.


  • You don’t need to be male or female to write code. It helps to be able to read, type and certainly helps to not be an idiot. Good coders learn and grow. Rockstar coders flare and die-out.
  • Same goes for systems administration, database administration, hacking, defending, video games, etc.
  • Rape and sexual assault are not related to gender. They are felonious criminal acts related to forced sexual contact. It’s a crime because SOMEONE IS FORCED TO DO SOMETHING AGAINST THEIR WILL.
  • Just because someone smiles at you, laughs at your jokes and seems cute does not mean they want to have sex with you.
  • You can get free porn on the Internet. Seriously. Don’t go to a conference to get your jollies.

None of this is a joke. It’s not funny. It is disgusting and vile that an industry which has grown enormously in 10 years and is generating huge income is now saturated with mysgonistic rape-minded assholes.

And if individuals do not correct their behavior, if we allow ass-clowns to continue to harass, assult and intimidate other people FOR ANY REASON, then the element most responsible for this behavior will end up eliminated:

  1. You will not be allowed to expense hundreds of dollars in liquor.
  2. Companies will stop paying for you to go to conferences.
  3. Conferences will stop letting you attend.
  4. Companies will stop hiring young, hip hackers without education.
  5. You will end-up poor, alone and hated.

Because as far as your employers and clients are concerned, you are only useful until you are a liability. And right now, a lot of you are 99% liability.

Grow. The. Fuck. Up.

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