RE: [fw-wiz] Re: Ethics, morality and the industry

From: Bill Royds (
Date: 11/06/04

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    To: "'Firewall Wizards Mailing List'" <>
    Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2004 22:45:56 -0500

     One of the problems that giving such publicity to so many criminal "ex-hackers"
    is that it makes it much more difficult for honest security practitioners to do
    our job. I have never hacked into anything other than under the watchful eye of
    the system owner observing the possible flaws in his/her system while I
    explained what a buffer overflow is, why default configurations are unsafe etc.
    But the very fact that I had this ability made me suspect in some people's eyes.
    Their attitude becomes "You know how computer systems work so you must have
    learned that by criminal hacking like all those hackers in the news". This is
    despite a university degree in computer science and 30 years worth of experience
    in computers. The presence of convicted criminals in the "computer security"
    field means all members of that field are labelled "hackers" in the pejorative
    sense, making it much harder to do our job.

    -----Original Message-----
    [] On Behalf Of Christopher
    Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2004 2:21 PM
    To: Firewall Wizards Mailing List; Adam Shostack
    Cc: Stephen P. Berry; Paul Foster; Marcus J. Ranum; Paul D. Robertson
    Subject: Re: [fw-wiz] Re: Ethics, morality and the industry

    On Tue, 2 Nov 2004, Adam Shostack wrote:
    > On Mon, Nov 01, 2004 at 08:32:16PM -0800, Stephen P. Berry wrote:
    > | >My self-deception is that a refresher is always good, especially as I
    > | >find us practitioners sometimes fall into patterns of thinking.
    > |
    > | A quick grep through this thread indicates that Mitnick has been mentioned
    > | about two dozen times and Shimomura and Markoff have been mentioned exactly
    > | zero times. Discuss.
    > So how many times has Abagnale been mentioned? Any correlation with
    > the pro- or anti- boycotters to correctly name the speaker in
    > question?

    Somebody should get on the stick and put up a survey. I'd love to see
    what the silent and/or moderated-out majority feel about this sort of

    This has been one of the more stimulating and thought provoking
    discussions on any mailing list I've been on recently. Thanks to
    everybody for keeping it interesting and mostly above the belt.

    Kudos Paul (and or substitute moderators) for keeping it from getting out
    of hand.

    There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make
    it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. And the other way
    is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.
       -- C.A.R. Hoare
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