Talk

Magic, hacking, and tricking people | Alex Hogue

Alex Hogue

TEDxSydneySalon October 2018 · 30 October 2018

Using magic tricks and computer hacking as examples, Alex Hogue shows us that it’s easier to trick us than we might think. It would be nice to think we’re invincible, but as Alex points out, anyone can be manipulated by a magician or hacker who really wants to get past your defences.

Alex Hogue is really into computer security, magic tricks, and high-effort goofs. Unlike the child-genius faux-stereotype, Alex first got into computers at 18, when he studied computer science and pure mathematics at the University of Sydney. Now he’s fully uploaded himself into the cloud. He works on breaking into protected systems to test their security, and to defend these systems from hackers trying to do the same thing. Somehow he ended up an organiser of purplecon, a gentle, pastel information security conference. He’s known for his writing (https://mango.pdf.zone) on unsolicited security research about Facebook and Tinder (finding that it was possible to make graphs of when your Facebook friends are awake), and also for Operation Luigi, in which he hacked his friend (with permission!).

When he was 14, he found and borrowed a book about magic tricks from his local, tiny, probably-haunted library. Through a series of coincidences he ended up studying magic to this day, and got excited about tricking people to the point of obsession, but in like, an accessible way.

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