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This year many attendees rallied around a hacker named “Barkode” who has a blood disease and needs an urgent bone marrow transplant. Volunteers running a blood drive on site offered free mohawks to all donors. Conference organizers said the drive was so successful that extra supplies were needed to handle the donations.

Wolfe and Behr Crouse of Conroe, Texas proudly sported mohawks. Wolfe, 11 and Behr, 8 outlined the family hacking hierarchy.

“He’s the hacker, I’m the lockpicker. I get him in the building,” Behr said.

So how long has he been a lockpicker? Less than a day, his mother laughed. He got the bug after picking locks with some success at DefCon.

The boys’ parents, Rick and Kirsten, are both techies. They came to DefCon to introduce their boys to the culture. Rick has attended for the past three years. He said he wanted Wolfe and Behr to see the constructive applications of hacking.

“The technology itself isn’t good or evil _ it’s what you do with it,” Rick Crouse said.

Kirsten Crouse added that they wanted to show examples of math and science in action to convey the importance of doing well in school.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for the kids to see what the options are out there,” she said.