Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

08/09/2008 (6:44 am)

Hacking Reporters Hacked

After weeks of whining about political hacks, this morning we hear about the non-political sort, from the AP report on Yahoo.

The annual Black Hat convention for computer security professionals taking place in Las Vegas offers access to public WiFi to all its participants, with the clear warning that the public network is being monitored by hackers. Anyone sending sensitive personal information unencrypted over the network is likely to have that information posted on the Wall of Sheep, a forum created to embarrass security pros who don’t follow proper security procedures themselves.

One area has always been off-limits to the hackers, though — the separate network created for the press. The press room network is isolated from the public network and protected from intrusion, to allow the press liberty to do their jobs.

This year, three reporters from the French publication Global Security Magazine discovered that though the press sub-network was shielded from public scrutiny, there was no security shield between individual reporters’ computers on the isolated network. One of them set up a server to capture sensitive data from other reporters’ transmissions, and submitted some of the captured data to the Wall of Sheep.

Black Hat did not think it was funny. The three reporters were ejected from the conference, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit, libertarian technology organization, is examining whether it can take legal action against them.

They don’t think it’s funny, but I do. It’s hard to imagine that any US jury is going to find that a “no hacking allowed” zone can be enforced at a hacker’s convention. But this is the US legal system, a black hole in the universe of reason, so you never know.

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August 9, 2008 @ 7:11 pm #

It would damn hard to get reporters to come to such a conference without giving them some assurances of protection. Face it, just about anyone at that conference could have hacked a journalist data stream and the next day horse porn would have graced the ‘local interest’ sections of his hometown newspaper under the religious editor’s byline.

These Black Hat people are professional sharks. If some silly l’user journalist wants to play, he can jump in the big pool.

August 9, 2008 @ 7:17 pm #

It was at this conference that Dan Kaminsky was telling everybody how to hack DNS service requests.

So, no, I’m not kidding about the horse porn.

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