Matthew Broderick, BBS Systems, and Nth Huddle - What's it all about?
By: Jerry Craft, Nth vCISO and Senior Security Consultant
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In the late ’80s and early ’90s, I was Matthew Broderick from the movie “War Games.” At that stage of my life, I had already burned through a Commodore VIC-20 and ventured into the new world of a Tandy 8088 computing system. This computing screaming demon was pure Intel 86 processor that had a 20MB hard drive and floppy drives. Yes, younger generations, I could write programs, save them, and even store them on a screaming-fast hard drive the size of today’s smallest USB stick. The world became my oyster when I got my first 1200 baud modem and plugged it into my Tandy. I was off to the races!
In true Matthew Broderick fashion, I set up my computer to scan local area codes for computer systems. Chances are that if you lived in the 213, 714, and later 562 area codes of California, then you got a phone call from me. My computer was set up to understand if a human answered or a computer answered. Every night before bed and after mom went to sleep, I would set up my computer to scan the entire 213-000-0000 through 213-999-9999 spectrum for a computer. By morning, I would get a new list of computers to dial into and see what came back. It was like finding treasure, and my thirst for knowledge began.
In no time, I discovered a world of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) waiting for my call. I would find discussions, code to download, and make new friends on each of these BBS systems. Through these BBS systems, I would learn about new hacking techniques, teach myself C and C++, and even gather new code segments used by others. In this process, I found some Diffie-Hellman C code that I would integrate into my own code to transfer files to friends using good encryption. The world was at my fingertips.
That’s when CompuServe came about, and AOL became famous. With a friend handing me a floppy, I logged onto AOL and found what the world of marketing can do for BBS technology. Then the Internet hit, and everyone wondered how it worked.
I was quick to log onto the Internet, especially chat forums and newsgroups. Again, just like the BBS world, I could log onto these groups and get all sorts of valuable information, and once Google took over for searches, my life changed again but not for the good.
I no longer had places to find people or knowledge. I had to sit and “Google it,” and I lost the ability to dive into topics and learn from others. Instead, I searched and found some data, but the launch of Google changed me on this front. I was supposed to be self-sufficient, and once Google came out with videos, everything turned into a video. I missed connecting with others and learning from the collective hive mind of many people specialized in what I wanted to learn. Instead, it was Google.
I left that alone for a while to raise kids, learn a career, and do good work for cybersecurity. I have always craved going back to those formative years of sharing knowledge and getting fed knowledge. It wasn’t until I found Discord that I discovered that “fun” again.
Discord is an app primarily driven to help gamers but is growing into a tool to help build communities and conversation. It’s a place where you can check into, and get knowledge transfer and essential data points again. Like BBS’s of old, you can join communities, get training, develop new code, and share war stories of cybersecurity, IT, and other topics. Plus, if you game like me, it’s a great place to get tips.
So that’s when I decided to ask if Nth could put together a Discord. That way, we can share our company collective knowledge of what we do and the products we use, so that others can get simple questions answered and find some comradery. My idea was approved, and we launched our Discord server, “Nth Huddle", at our 2021 IT & Cybersecurity Symposium. We are starting to see some people connect, and are sharing ideas hoping to start conversations. If this sounds like something that piques your interest, head over to our Huddle page and request to be part of the group. Nth’s highly in-demand Senior Cybersecurity Engineer, Derek Johnson, has shared some of his GOLANG code on creating GO shells, and I have been adding content every day. Come by, start a conversation, and build friendships.