Frequently Asked Questions

We get asked what 1NTERRUPT is about all the time, so here are the answers to some of the questions we’re asked the most.

Do you teach hacking?

Yes, we do – in the time that we have. (If that surprises you, please read through the What?! Are you nuts? section.) You won’t become a hacker in a day, but for those who are new to the field, you’ll learn some of the foundational concepts upon which you can start down the path. For those who are more advanced, we have breakout sessions for you, too, on advanced topics to help you broaden your knowledge.

What?! Are you nuts?

No. We want to take back the word “hack.” We think the concept of hacking gets a bad rap, and here’s why. Hacking can be used for good or evil as determined by the moral compass of the hacker. We focus on hacking for good. Hackers have an inquisitive mind and tend to look at things in a slightly different way than most people. They are always asking, “What if…?” We respect the hacker mindset and are here to help provide future hackers with the tools and skills to channel that energy positively. We believe that learning how to appropriately build these skills helps better protect us all.

What about ethics?

Hacking and ethics go hand in hand. Good cyber security has more to do with making good judgment calls than technology, so we make sure we emphasize the positive side of hacking and decision making. There is also an interactive ethics session to refresh the idea.

What is your code of conduct for participants?

Our code of conduct is pretty simple: Be cool to others. The link to full policy can be found on our event policies page.

Is a laptop required? Are there limits to the kind of laptop I can bring?

We recommend bringing your own, but it’s fine to share. We do recommend limiting sharing to two people per laptop. It’s just more comfortable with two.

We support Microsoft Windows, Apple MacBook, Chromebook, and Linux are all supported. For Chromebooks, you must be able to run Android apps to use the free Microsoft Remote Desktop app, which is also available for Windows and MacBook computers. Linux users need rdesktop.

Please see our supported devices page for details.

Do you have a privacy policy?

Yes. You’ll never guess where it is – on our event polices page.

What’s the Treasure Hunt?

We believe people learn best by doing. Books don’t give you real-world experience; doing does. So we’ve built a virtual environment that mimics a power utility’s network. There are wifi access points, file servers, web servers, social media servers, as well as controllers for traffic lights and water pumps that we’ve made ourselves.

And here’s the fun part: Bad guys have broken into the network, shut off the water pumps, and messed with the traffic lights. It’s our participants’ job to hack back into the network, find the bad guy(s), and basically save the world. It will take technical, social, and deductive reasoning skills to work your way through. And if you’re new to all of this, don’t sweat it. That’s what the breakout sessions are for, plus we have volunteers available as coaches. And if you’ve already got skills, there are still a number of gems hidden throughout the network to challenge you.

What are the breakout sessions about?

Most of our participants are new to networking and cyber security, but we do also get a number of those with more advanced skills. So we have two tracks that make the day fun for both types of participants and those in between. We want the day to be fun, as well as informative, and we’ve designed the day accordingly.

Do you teach coding?

No. Our focus is more on network and web security and the human factor as it relates to cyber security – a bit of psychology, if you will. We do have an Intro to Web Security breakout that touches on HTML and such, but that’s as close to coding as we get.

Is this a job training program?

No, it’s not. 1NTERRUPT is for middle school, high school, undergrad, and home-school students between the ages of 13 and 22.

What is the cost to participate?

Exactly $0, nothing, nada, goose egg. Our program is non-profit and paid for through corporate sponsorships and personal donations. We even provide food and have swag for the Student Participants. Sweet, huh?

Who participates?

Everyone. There are no observers*. Student Participants will be matched up on teams that will attend the breakouts and participate in the Treasure Hunt. (We’re into collaboration.) For parents, teachers, ROTC officers, etc., who are bringing one or more participants, you will also be put into teams and will follow the same agenda as the participants. You should have your own laptop with you.

If you do not wish to participate, we’d be happy to recommend some coffee shops, restaurants, and other activities in the area.

*This statement isn’t entirely accurate. We do invite observers from the community – such as from higher-ed, local government, press, etc. – from time to time who are interested in collaborating with us and/or to learn more.

I’m a teacher and I’d like to bring a group of students as a class exercise and be their coach. Can I do that, and if so, what can I expect?

Absolutely. We love that idea! Here’s what we’ll do with you: First, you’ll be put on a team of other adults and will go through all of the breakout sessions that your students attend. That will help give a shared experience with your students and you’ll know exactly what your students have learned. Once the Treasure Hunt begins, you’ll rejoin your students’ team as their coach.

And we’re completely confident that you will not, under any circumstances, give your team answers. Coaching = good. Giving away answers = defeats the whole purpose. The Treasure Hunt is about hands-on, real-world learning and they won’t learn if somebody else gives them the answers.

I’m an adult bringing one or more Participants with me. Can I be their coach?

Sorry, but no – and here’s why. First, we love the idea that you’d want to coach. The more parental involvement in their kids’ interest, the better. But what we’ve found is that participants are more likely to collaborate, suggest ideas, and speak freely when they are amongst their peers on a team.

We will put you on a team with other adults so that you can attend all of the same breakouts and participate in the Treasure Hunt. That will give you a shared experience that you can talk about with your kid(s), and we think it will be more enjoyable for the both of you to have that experience from the perspective of peers.

Why are exhibitors at 1NTERRUPT? What kinds of things are on exhibition?

Our three principles are creativity, community, and meritocracy. Therefore, we want to bring in some representatives of the cool things going on locally to give participants a chance to learn more, and get further involved in our community. The groups you’ll see at 1NTERRUPT events will vary from city to city, but the types of exhibitors you can expect to see may include those from makerspaces, hackerspaces, higher education, cyber security, internship opportunities, etc.

Where can I learn more about events in my community?

Please visit the chapter page for your community. We currently have chapters in Worcester (ORH), Portland (PDX), and San Francisco (SFO).

How can I become an event volunteer or breakout leader?

The more community involvement we can get, the better for everyone. Please contact your local chapter to start the process. Where we work with minors, our volunteers and breakout leaders must pass a background check and agree to our volunteer code of conduct.

How can I start an 1NTERRUPT chapter in my community?

We would love to hear from you! We are planning for some limited expansion in the US in 2017 while we build out our infrastructure. Our event licensing model is an annual, renewable license and it’s pretty cheap (there are some core costs that need to be covered like cloud hosting costs for events). It gives you the right to use our licensed content, logos, etc. We’ll also advise you during the process to help make sure you have a successful first event.

Drop us a line at info[at]1nterrupt[dot]com.