Although you may have not heard the term "Random Hacks of Kindness" or "RHoK", there is a good chance you have heard of random acts of kindness. Well think of RHoK the same way but in the cyber side of things.
Being started by NASA, Patrick Svenburg of Microsoft, Phil Dixon and Jeff Martin of Google and Jeremy Johnston of Yahoo. They were all at an Industry panel discussion, and agreed to use there knowledge and come together to create solutions that have an impact on disaster response, risk reduction and recovery. They wanted to do something to help make a change in the world we live in today.
RHoK sets up event called "Hackathons", they have locations all over the world where the hackers meet to create programs that can help solve real world problems. These Hackathons last for two days, and are really like a race in a way. "A RHoK hackathon is a fast-paced competition" said NASA.(http://www.nasa.gov/open/rhok_2010.html)
At the end of their competition each hack will be reviewed by experts for a chance to win prizes and to see their application used to help in these critical situations.
The way this event works is everyone that participates, goes to the location they wish, then they register. After registering the people will pick and chose the teams they would like to work with. After that they start hacking for the next 2 days. The event follows a very specific schedule that everyone follows, so everyone can be on the same track or at least make it fair for everyone to try. Here is a screen shot of the schedule:
I apologize if that image is a little small you can view the whole thing here:
I will also add the list of locations the Hackathon is held:
Chicago, Nairobi, Sao Paulo, Aarhus and Bangalore and numerous global satellite hackathons, including Toronto, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, Mexico City, Lusaka, Berlin, Bogota, Tel Aviv, Juarez, Singapore, Birmingham, Jakarta and Buenos Aires.
If you're interested in doing this you must fill out an application to get invited out to come. The reason being you need to complete an application is because they don't want someone who doesn't know anything about what they're trying to accomplish showing up. That would not help. Any way what you must do are these things:
Here's how it works:
-You fill out an application form describing the challenge you're trying to solve
-Our Steering Committee meets to consider whether the challenge is one we can help with
-We contact you to let you know whether your application has been successful, and whether it's suitable for our next round of hackathons
-We work closely with you in the lead up to the hackathon to make sure your problem statement is well defined
We hack a solution to your problem!
-We continue to provide support and work closely with you to ensure your project is completed and has a real social impact
You can find the application here:
This is a great opportunity and is a great way to give back to the world, although it may not be returning the favor. Having the knowledge to be able to be able to do these things is great. Not many people do or can even learn how to do the things we can. Hacking isn't for everyone and takes heart.
So why not take that great knowledge that we hold and use it for good? I understand some people may not be able to make it to some of these locations or even want to participate. Although that may be true you can still help out. Let people know about RHoK. Get the word around so more people can help.
Hackers can help the world change, make it a better place. So lets do that.
Please note: I apologize this may have been more of a persuasive type of article. It is not meant to be I just really believe in helping each other, and considering this is an ethical hacking community I think we could all agree.