November 10, 2009
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Even I had to double check when I saw Peter Kleissner (from Stoned Bootkit fame) talking about appearing on TV Total in Austria. It’s not often that Security Researchers get TV time over here in Austria, and I’m sad to say, I doubt this interview is going to help that situation much.
Rough translation – “We’ll see who disses who”
I’ve met Peter a couple of times now, as I’ve seen him present over in Las Vegas, as well as at HAR2009 in the Netherlands. He also did a presentation of the Stoned Bootkit at one of the CERT.AT meetings in Vienna. I didn’t really talk that much with him at these events, but he seemed an ok guy. A little young and idealistic, but that’s not a bad things most of the time.
I didn’t manage to catch the segment live, although a couple of colleagues watched. The reviews they gave were not particularly shining. So after getting back from work today I decided to take a few minutes to search YouTube for a link and see what was discussed. There’s a lot I could say about the interview, but I wont. Right now there isn’t an English translation, and I’ve not really got the time to make one. I’d much rather leave people to form their own opinions before I give mine.
For those interested here is the YouTube version of the TV Total interview (6:28) in the original German. If anybody out there wants to do a German/English translation, please let me know. It might be a while before I can get round to writing one up.
The caption on the video roughly translates to “When I grow up, I’ll be a hacker”
EDIT: Youtube video fixed.
October 16, 2008
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The word hacker has many meanings. But despite the twisted view of the hacker presented by the media, a hacker is just somebody who likes to explore possibilities. To test the boundaries of what’s possible, and then break those boundaries. Who knows how many gadgets on the market today are there solely because somebody said “no, I want more”. However in recent years the view of hackers has been almost solely bas. Every time a computer system has a security problem, it’s because of hackers. However, with the increasing trend on moving everything possible to digital formats, how can we assign such labels. Every criminal, from the bank robbers to organized crime, is taking advantage of poor computer security to reach their goals. Just because a bank robber uses a poorly configured computer security system to rob a bank, it doesn’t make him a hacker. He’s simply another bank robber that’s got smart and moved into the 21st Century.
How long it takes the general media to begin to understand this is anybodies guess. However the point of critical mass is bound to come. The day when the news contains the word hacker so much, that it has no meaning anymore. It seems that then and only then will the media outlets realise that just because a computer was involved, it doesn’t change what the criminal is. I just wish that they’d realised that before ruining the reputation of so many great hackers of the past, who’ve brought us real innovations.