Ap coverage of hacker convention



Apnews has an article on the recent “hacker convention” in Las Vegas. In typical media fashion they paint with a broad brush to display it as “a no-mans land where customary adversaries, feds vs. digital mavericks are supposed to share ideas about making the internet safe.”

In reality, realize that the feds that were there are hackers as well in the purest sense of the word. I’ve found a good many “hackers” that discover and publicize security weaknesses do so to help prevent people from being scammed. There’s nothing illegal about discovering a security vulnerability, it’s what you do after you know about it that makes the difference. For instance, let’s say a business you know of leaves a key hidden in a location that has become public knowledge, if you use it to enter the premises you’ve broken the law, as it should be. If you use that information to contact them and say, “look I discovered this and suspect I’m not the only one,” then you may well have prevented someone from making that business an easy mark.

If it weren’t for the article (and the convention that gave the information), I wouldn’t be aware that old ATM’s are being sold on ebay for $1000 or so, and given “new” software and being used to steal bank card information. It pays to be aware of what the “bad guys” might be able to do, and from what I can see, the convention over the weekend was basically about sharing what they know in that area. If only the media were covering it from a different angle they might be asking “how do you identify a legit ATM?”

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