Thursday, March 11, 2004
Hacker Promises to Protect Sources
"Remember, I did NOT cooperate with law enforcement during their prosecution of me" is Kevin Mitnick's note of assurance to contributors
willing to help with a book of "true, untold stories of successful
intrusions." I's not the usual "citizen journalism," but it could be
Mitnick, a well-known convicted computer-intruderhimself,
is writing his way around the margins of a plea agreement that
restricted him from telling about his own hacks until January
2010. So, rather than tell his own stories, he's offering
anonymity and a
shot at a $500 prize for the "most provocative story" about "your
He also says he will somehow verify the accuracy
of the claims, presumably without breaking any laws himself, so that his fans don't have to run out and get "Free Kevin" bumper stickers again.
"Readers will get an in-depth look into the thought processes that form
the hacker mindset--why they do it, and how a plan is developed and
executed to gain control of their victim's network," says Mitnick.
He already has a publisher interested in the project, according to his "Call for hackers," and he promises an in-depth analysis of the specific vulnerabilities and how they were exploited. His first book, The Art of Deception, talked
about "the human element" in getting past computer security. For the
new book he's also interested in more technical hacks that exploited
physical, network or individual computer systems.
If the bragging rights (anonymous bragging rights?) and the possibility
of a $500 prize aren't enough, Mitnick is also offering a free copy of
his first book and a "rare Advanced Reader's Copy" of the new one, when
ready, autographed and inscribed to the contributor's "real name, your
handle or pseudonym." Watch for them on e-Bay!
(Thanks to Simson Garfinkel at MIT for the blog alert.)
Speaking of computer security, today's New York Times online may have created a new concept in computer
discourse: "Ireless networking."
Perhaps it's related to the search for compromise on RSS/Atom syndication standards? Nah, it's just a typo in a WiFi security article, if a particularly unsubtle one. The Times
usually puts a large red first letter at the start of each
online story, and somehow the "W" escaped from this one and the "I"
became the initial cap. Or there were too many big red I's around
after a late night at the computer, which could be the worst pun I've
dared to slip into this blog. In any case, less ire is a good thing.
Lott's Fall and Bloggers' Push
Several blogs have pointed to this recent Shorenstein Center Case Study: Did Bloggers Contribute to the Downfall of Trent Lott?
(It's 26 pages and 70 footnotes in a 324k PDF file, not too big for a
modem download.) The pages are stenciled "Do Not Copy," with a hefty
copyright statement at the bottom, but I guess it wouldn't be online if
they didn't want people downloading it without writing Harvard's Shorenstein Center a check. (The file is locked to prevent text copying or editing, but it is readable and printable despite the stencil.)
The study, by Esther Scott, is an interesting look at the information
flow between bloggers, journalists and political tipsters that brought
critical attention to the Mississippi senator's remarks on the good ol'
Dixiecrat days, and how the combination convinced a few more
professionals to pay attention to blogs. This may not be the last
word on the Lott-blog story, but it's certainly not the first. Meta
analysis, anyone? Here are some earlier treatments:
Georgetown's online media studies journal, Gnovis had its own 30-page study last fall, under the colorful slug, Parking Lott... (with a 32-item bibliography and a color cover photo of the senator himself). Another Harvard blogger, J. Baumgart did her own research on the same subject some months ago. Online Journalism Review and Wired had covered the affair shortly after it happened, and the Baltimore Sun (Tribune syndicate) touched on the story in a blogs-and-journalism overview a few months later.
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7/19/08; 12:54:42 PM.