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'Hackers Day' in Brazil to defend against cyber-security breaches

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In a country where politicians and public relations professionals have created days to celebrate janitors, stamp collectors, mothers-in-law, and even, er, politicians and public relations professionals, it should come as no surprise to hear that a call has been made to make today Hackers Day.

The announcement, however – coming a week after several government sites were attacked by hackers – comes from an unusual source: the country’s Science and Technology minister.

Of course, Aloizio Mercadante’s invitation was not to celebrate the programming experts but rather co-opt them.

The minister, while condemning the concerted stream of attacks that took down several high-profile sites and stole confidential data, called on “young and talented” programmers to help his ministry solve some of the problems his own ministry’s experts were struggling to solve.

“I want to invite them for a Hackers Day,” Mr. Mercadante said, speaking in his native Portuguese but specifically using the English word hacker rather the cracker, which is what the authors of the mass attack last week call themselves.

The idea, he said, was for the 21st century icons of counterculture to embrace the government and “develop their own solutions” to the ministry’s problems.

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