In common usage, a script kiddie (or skid) is an unskilled individual who uses other people’s tools and exploits without understanding how or why they work, all the while calling themself a “hacker.” The term is sometimes used as a form of gate-keeping, putting down novice “wannabe” hackers for lacking knowledge they’ve had no chance to obtain.
Is there anything in your life that you take for granted, without really understanding how it works? I drive my car every day, but I’m no mechanic. I couldn’t tell you how microwaves work, but I use them to make popcorn. I use other people’s inventions every day without ever knowing how they work. I don’t pretend to be a mechanic when I change my oil, nor a physicist when I make popcorn, but the fact remains: in many aspects of life, I’m a total skid. And that’s okay.
In the Hacker Jargon File, a hacker is “an expert or enthusiast of any kind,” or “one who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.” If we apply the same liberal brush to the term “script kiddie,” we could say that a skid is someone who takes advantage of systems in their environment without any deeper understanding or appreciation for how those systems function.
If this is the case, then we’re all skids at first. We’re born skids, dependent on the world and people around us, and utterly clueless as to how any of it works. But as we learn, we grow, until we’re not so skiddish anymore. And that’s the secret: To stop being a skid, all you gotta do is stay curious, and keep learning.
That’s what No Skids Allowed! is all about. It’s not about skid-shaming, it’s about learning and improving and growing, and keeping each other accountable, so that we might accurately call ourselves “hackers.”
It’s not an easy path. Learning can be quite challenging, especially when the topic is as complex and diverse as Information Security. Whoever said, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” clearly wasn’t a hacker… Even the most passionate and skilled professional knows that attaining mastery over a skill takes perseverance and strength of will. And sometimes, no matter how good you are, you’re just going to have a rough day.
It’s totally fine to be an amateur, to make mistakes, to lack knowledge and skill. If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried. And if you ever feel like you’re in over your head, just remember the wise words of Jake the Dog:
Image and quote from Adventure Time by Pendleton Ward