Early Wednesday morning, Google Play removed Cybrary’s Free Cyber Security Training Android app from their App Store. This was presumably motivated by concerns that lessons on Penetration Testing (a core skill for any cyber security practitioner) could be abused. This concern was misplaced, as I wrote about last week.
I am so pleased to share that Google reconsidered their position over the holiday weekend, and the Cybrary App is now live again and fully functional on the Android App Store.
As Cybrary co-founder Ryan Corey eloquently explains in his own post today, the core problem was a misunderstanding of the cyber security process. “Breaking software or networks? Searching for vulnerabilities?” These sound like the things “bad hackers” do. But the approximately four million cyber security professionals worldwide know that these are critical steps to improving code and networks.
Obviously, other parts of Google know this. As I pointed out on Twitter last week, Google accepts advertisements from Penetration Testing firms, and even lists Penetration Testing as a minimum requirement for their Security Engineering jobs. One step toward getting the broader public (and the latest adopters of all — policymakers) to understand “Hacker Culture” is aligning first with the broader tech community.
The 5,000 Twitter mentions on the day before Thanksgiving, nearly all of which implored Google Play to reinstate the Cybrary app was a gratifying step in the right direction.
Another step would be to stop associating the word “Hacker” with the underbelly of the technology world. The term originally meant simply someone who uses clever techniques to solve a problem. Who could be against that?!
Hacker Culture currently suffers from at least two distinct challenges: (1) This public perception, and (2) A lack of diversity among its most prominent practitioners. Perhaps we could help solve both issues at once, if the standard image run with every “hacker” article in the media were changed from this:
For those not familiar with her, that’s Georgia Weidman, world renowned penetration tester, author of Penetration Testing: A Hands-On Introduction to Hacking, and instructor of the Advanced Penetration Testing course on Cybrary.
Which, did I mention, is available once again on Google Play? Thanks, Google!