RIYADH: The three-day @hack conference, a cybersecurity event held in Riyadh, attracted adults and children alike. Kids from across the country met to exchange ideas and experiences and to enter competitions.
Faisal Al-Qahtani, an 11-year-old who enjoys coding games, told Arab News: “I started programming when I was nine. I watched some tutorials online to improve my coding skills, and now I use software like Unity, Visual Studio, Blender, Audacity, and many other programs.
“I think this conference should not be limited to cybersecurity. I met new people, and I learned more about programming,” Al-Qahttani said.
Another 11-year-old, Abdulaziz Al-Odan, said he came to @hack to learn more about programming and to meet like-minded enthusiasts. “I heard that there are a lot of competitions here, like Catch the Flag and Bug Bounty,” he said. “But I was lacking a team, so I came here to meet people and now I have completed my team.”
Al-Odan first discovered his talent for coding through Satr — a free Arabic platform for learning programming languages. “I created an account on the platform and learned about Java scripts, and now I have my own scripts,” Al-Odan said.
Ayedh Al-Qahttani, 14, told Arab News that he became interested in hacking when his Sony account was hacked a year ago, which caused him huge problems.
“The hacker who took (control of) my Sony account used social-engineering techniques. I went straight to YouTube to learn about hacking, and I believe that researching is important to develop skills,” he said.
He praised the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones for creating the @hack event. “They gave us this beautiful opportunity to attend such a conference. I learned from many people, and I got to meet my team. I hope we see @hack next year,” he added.