Hack or be Hacked

I recently gained an interest in cybersecurity and although I’m not planning on switching careers anytime soon, I do think there is a level of awareness we should all have regarding the fundamentals of cybersecurity. As a novice to the field, I was surprised to learn that one of the main ways companies take preventive action against cyber attacks is by performing attacks on themselves! As Jeremiah Grossman said, “Internet security can be thought of as a race between the bad guys who find and exploit security weaknesses and the good guys who find and fix them. Hack Yourself First is about winning this race.”

What I found so enlightening with this method of hacking, is how it can be applied to our own personal lives. We either hack our own life or we allow someone else to hack it and wreak havoc on it.

Why Hack Your Life:

So why hack your life? Hacking yourself allows you to find your vulnerabilities. Just as taking preventative action in cybersecurity means executing penetration tests to find the system weaknesses, hacking your own life gives you the opportunity to find your weakness and vulnerabilities before life does it for you.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Therefore, we either prepare for life to throw us curve balls or we fail when it does.

Secondly, hacking your own life builds resilience. Once you’ve identified a weakness, you have the opportunity to implement a solution for a more resilient system. There are many benefits to resilience but for me personally, if I am resilient I know I can take more risks and find my way back to stable ground again.

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How To Hack Your Life

Two months ago my life got hacked, this was not intentional or self-induced. As I look back on this time I realized I learned a lot from this attack and could use my learnings to create a self-induced hack in the future.

I love routine, actually I thrive off of it, but as much as it optimizes me, without being examined it limits my growth. When my whole routine got thrown off, it was as if a tornado came through my life tearing everything apart. The downside was that in the midst of the tornado/hack it was super uncomfortable. The upside though was when it was all said and done I had new clarity into my weakness and the things that were limiting me. So how do you do this naturally?

Change your routine

To think like a hacker you have to do things differently, and this requires change. Change your workout routine, the people you always hang out with or even the ones you feel required to spend time with, change your work projects, and if possible location and travel. Nothing helps break up the routine more than a new environment.

When you are going through this self-induced hacking period it’s going to be really hard to resist the desire to go back to the familiar, but this is where your growth is it. When we take the role of the observer rather then the victim we gain new insight into the reality of the situation.



Get back in the driver’s seat

Although the need to hack your own life may not be as essential to performing penetration attacks in a company, however I do think the same reasoning for why we do it applies. I noticed that once I hacked my own life and threw everything out for a bit I was able to see my points of weakness which in turn allowed me to redesign my life, and get back in the driver's seat. Which is exactly the same reason we perform ethical hacking, so we can be in the driver's seat. Therefore, if you want to be in the driver's seat of your life, hack or be hacked.