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Saturday, 09 August 2008 03:21

The hypocrisy of Black Hat hackers exposed as reporters are expelled for hacking

By
The annual Black Hat hacker conference in Las Vegas usually manages to get very controversial, very quickly. But nobody was expecting this: three French reporters have been kicked out of the conference after they were caught hacking the press room private network...

Love it or hate it, the Black Hat conference can always be counted on to give the IT security business a swift kick where it hurts. The bruising blow may come by way of a high profile application exploit being put on show, or via a gimmick such as the Wall of Sheep.

Ah yes, the Wall of Sheep. What a brilliant idea this was: a huge screen which displays, in real time, the usernames and partially obfuscated passwords of anyone using an insecure wireless network during the event.

This is achieved without the use of dark magic, just readily available tools that anyone can download from the Internet. It did not take long for several security professionals to make it on to the Wall of Sheep, or into the hall of shame if you prefer.

Apparently, in the name of security awareness, this is all OK. After all, anyone who had been 'sheeped' could ask the organisers for their details to be removed.

However, when three French journalists were caught hacking into the relatively secure press room network all bets were off. Reporters hacking other reporters? Just not on, dontcha know.

The Wall of Sheep people had promised journalists that the press network would be out of bounds, that their details would not appear, that journalists would not be sheeped.

That didn't stop the intrepid French security writers from firing up a copy of Cain and start sniffing around the press room though. And it did not take long for them to reveal admin logins for more than the odd one or two of their colleagues.

Who were the trio of hacking reporters, and why is their lifetime Black Hat ban so laughable? Read page 2 to find out...

CONTINUES


It has been reported that Editors from both Eweek and CNet News were amongst those whose details were uncovered in this way.

The three alleged attackers have been identified as coming from Global Security Magazine in France, and are said to be Mauro Israel, Mark Brami and Dominique Jouniot.

I understand that they were asked to leave immediately, as well as being given a lifetime ban from future Black Hat events.

The problem, it seems, is that Nevada law could have been violated as the hacked parties had not given their consent. The irony of this all has not escaped me, and it is almost laughable that unauthorised hacking at a hacking event by non-hackers is such a serious issue.
Almost as laughable as the security reporter, whose name has been withheld in the interests of saving them from further embarrassment, who apparently said that he felt his privacy was violated and assumed his communications would be secure.

Assumed his communications would be secure, at a hacker conference? ROFL.


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