Computer Crime Research Center


Good hackers, bad hackers

Date: August 07, 2007

I came here thinking it would be easy to tell the white hats from the black hats among computer hackers. But at the Black Hat and Defcon hacker conferences, it's not easy to tell the difference. I mostly saw gray.

Who could I judge? The heavy-drinking federal agent at a party under the bright neon lights of the Vegas strip, or the young man at Defcon who was wearing a black skirt and had a pony tail hanging from the base of his mostly shaved head?

Every side has to grapple with ethical issues. Should the government hire known criminals? Is it OK for technology product vendors to spy on or deceive criminal hackers in order to protect us? Should hackers disclose recipes that criminals could use to exploit weaknesses?
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