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  • Putting a face on the 'underground'

    So I watched yet another news segment where they completely trash the hacker community as nothing but thieves and terrorists I wanted to slap the reporter silly.

    They spent the majority of the time talking to 'professional pen tester' (a guy in a suit in and a porche) who was using the exact tools that this community helped develop to show the problems they were blaming us for (nessus, metasploit, netstumbler, kismet featured at various points).

    Obviously this got me pissed off (which is not hard) because as we know, alot of Defcon folk in their day jobs *are* the 'professionals' in the suits. I wanted to slap the reporter silly and tell them to tell it to my/our face instead of talking about us behind our proverbial backs.

    It seems to me that media can trash the 'hacker' label partly because there is no 'face' to the community to link us to the rest of society. The term 'hacker' is lobbed about as a vague term that imagination fills in as some malevolent hellspawn that is in no way human and can be treated as such.

    I'm wondering and asking the collective masses here if it would help much to help put a face on the community if some stepped forward to show that we as a community are human. Wouldn't it be harder to use the brand hacker if it was shown/known that these same people have families, are productive members of society, spend their time helping keep things secure?

    Often the only glimpse that the media and society and the public get is at Defcon where we often don't put on the best appearance (no offense to anyone, I'm guilty too of being in vacation mode and not wanting to wear a suit). The rest of the time we're regular citizens and live among the rest of the population quite happily.

    Probably just a pipe dream but it seems to me that we need a human face on our culture to ease some of these tensions with the media and the rest of society. Am I wrong, crazy, stupid or all of the above?
    Never drink anything larger than your head!






  • #2
    Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

    DEFCON 16 the Year of The Suit. Ok everyone we all should wear suits at DEFCON next year. I'm not making fun of you Renderman, you are to use an expression preaching to the choir. We could all wear pink boas, give to charity, become born again(yuk) and the media would find something bad or wrong with us. :)


    xor

    Then again I like being viewed as a bad seed. :) It's the bad boys that get the girls. :)
    Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

      Perhaps a fake movie, kind of like, "Dateline NBC,":
      "Hackers Among Us"
      (Nasal voice-over)
      "They are there when you go to the bank. They are there when you check your email. They are there when you use your Cell phone. They are even there when you drive your car. Who are they? Hackers. They are in the technology that you use everyday. In this episode of (something or other) we'll expose how Hackers have conspired to play various roles in your life through the technology you use."

      "From the earliest of times, hackers broke rules, and defied contemporary thought, breaking ranks with contemporary thought police, demonstrating innovative ways to combine existing technology."

      (Jump to scene of cavemen that saw fire and used it, but could not make it. Show "hacker" making fire with dry wood, dung, pressure, and friction. Then show other cavemen (script kiddies) killing the fire maker for being a witch. Then show several cavemen (script kiddies) repeating the fire making procedure procedure on their own, and one of them as an arsonist starting fires to burn down a forest.)

      "Hackers have invented new technologies, and if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have arsonists."

      (Jump to scenes of late 1500's.)

      "Hackers have used math and the scientific method to show how Geocentrism could not be supported with evidence." (Images of Galileo Galilei detained by force.) "If it wasn't for hackers, the Earth would still be at the center of the universe.

      (Jump to scene of World War II, and Bletchley Park.)

      "Hackers even helped to build machines to crack encrypted information, and help Allied espionage against the Axis governments. Who do these hackers think they are? Haven' they ever heard of invasion of privacy?"

      (Jump to scene where Middle manager has decided to run a new program they found on their MS Windows Install CD ROM called, "Rollback.exe," and then gasped to see their happy GUI and interface go away. Now show "hacker" using forensics tools to diagnose the cause of file loss, recover lost files, and eventually help ensure none of the middle manager's work was lost, and tell them to not run applications from foreign media.)

      "Yes. Hackers are even around today, helping to keep inept, unskilled, and bumbling managers from losing their jobs, instead of allowing their mistakes to force termination of employment. Hackers harm profits by allowing unskilled employees to remain employed!"

      (Screenshots and review of each of the above.)

      "Hackers continue to break with tradition, and seek out knowledge, information, and learn new things. They continue to experiment and break rules and convention. Maybe a hacker lives next door to you. Maybe they are a science teacher. Maybe they are leading a User Group attended by your children. Watch out for hackers!"

      (Commercial.)

      "In our next episode, we uncover methods used by hackers to expose security weaknesses in software used by banks and the government, and the secret disclosure system used by some hackers to keep this information secret until software vendors have a new patch available. Why do they conspire to hide the truth about weaknesses and limit access to this knowledge? Doesn't the public have a right to know?"

      "To Catch a Hacker has been brought to you by the Illuminati, and a generous grant from Yoyodyne Propulsion."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

        You forgot TheCotMan; hackers come up with movies; like Demon Seed one of favorites. :)

        xor
        Last edited by xor; September 9, 2007, 19:51.
        Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

          Locksport is going through the same crap, though you guys have obviously been dealing with it longer.

          I believe people do get out there, trying to put a face on it, but until that face is generally accepted by the mass media and mass public, it won't be pervasive enough to prevent local news stations from broadcasting fear-inducing shock pieces.

          I have been perpetually frustrated that talented locksmiths are celebrated by their local and, at times even national news outlets (I've been reading through a lot of newspaper archives lately) but talented lockpickers are seen as a terrifying threat to our safety and security.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

            I am not trying to be mean or cynical or anything negative at all when I say this, it's only just my opinion. I find what you are suggesting offensive and cowardly, not to you specifically, but the idea in a whole. I think of myself and some of the my geeky "hacker" friends and colleagues as non conformists. I like to compare what you are saying to decades worth of the same mis treatment as the geeks and freaks in high school had to put up with. The same Jocks and Preppies that feared the drama kids and made fun of the math team are basically the same lump of society as reporters.

            Those who create fud are ignorant and no offense to them but they will probably always be so. I know myself I didn't change my looks to "fit in" to be more socially acceptable to the oppressors and ignorance. A lot of stereotypes are misunderstood and segregated, to show them "we wear suits" and "look at our cute kids" is basically saying that we should appear to be more like them so they will see us for who we really are. My grandmother was always good with the old timey quotes about turning the other cheek and standing your own, etc etc, but I tend to think its summed up nicely with WHO GIVES A F*CK what they think, we have each other and as always when they need something they will come running to us "Hackers" for help.

            You can not dress something up and make it look pretty or put a different name on it and expect the problem to go away. (HAVENT we learned that?) I love how some people in the community take offense to being called a hacker and some love it. Reverse Engineer or Hacker or Network Administrator, you still have to explain what it is you do to others and if they cant imagine doing it themselves they go one of two ways, write you off as kinda too smart-scary or think you should be in a lab somewhere creating nanobots to take over the world. they just don't get it. The News has a way of creating FUD over anything, it's how they keep people watching it, sometimes i think they might have good intentions but someones feeding them bad info.

            Once again im not trying to be mean to anyone specifically its all my opinion. If we have come to the point where we want the meaning of a word to change, a parade, million hackers march or community rights rally then perhaps we should contact the ACLU and create a non profit. The word hacker is always going to be in peoples minds the way it is. I will say however i have noticed the media using more specific terms when they refer to the black hat hackers as botnet hacker, phisher, spammer, identity thieves, etc. I think that eventually people will realize on their own terms as the technology starts getting cooler and cooler and when my grandfather understands basic security measures the fear starts to fade away they will have a new name for the face of evil.

            I know i can get pissed off too and I get self conscious often but i do believe people are gonna have to like me for me. I don't expect gay people to be less happy to fit in, to suggest it is a hangable offense, so don't expect hackers to have lower IQs, wear less black t-shirts and drive SUV's. F*CK That.
            "Haters, gonna hate"

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

              Great opinion Nikita, however let me clarify a bit.

              I was not suggesting that we wear suits to con, far from it. I mentioned suits because what we wear to con is not necessarily what we wear all the time (I tend to, but I polish up nicely when the occasion calls for it). The only view the public gets is not representational of the other 362 days of the year. I'm sure you'd find that a great majority, while odd and eccentric, are no where near the image that is portrayed.

              I don't care what individuals think. Anyone who's taken the time to know me can make an opinion either way. It's the mass hysteria that bugs me because most reporters never ask the questions of the other side and in our case, usually only go to the suited professional who's best interest is to label us as evil since it drums up work for him/her.

              I was also not trying 'take back' the term hacker. I'm quite proud to be called that. It's when it's used as a negative that I take issue and my point was to have enough presence to essentially be able to say to detractors of the community "say it to my face".

              I am preaching to the choir I know, but my OP was about combating some of the negativity by playing the humanity hack of making it so we were seen as people, not as some malevolent swarm.

              Feel free to add civil thoughts, comments. Without civil discourse we won't get anywhere.
              Never drink anything larger than your head!





              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

                I, for one, think that we should change public perception of hackers starting at next Defcon; by having all the males dress in pink miniskirts, with all females dressing in bright white business suits.

                That, or we should stop corporate security professionals from overturning oil tankers with inventive viruses ... that might work... fucking whitehat bastards.
                if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

                  Originally posted by renderman View Post
                  Great opinion Nikita, however let me clarify a bit.
                  Thanks, I was trying to not come off bitchy, which i have a habit of doing, so I'm glad you didn't take it that way ;-)

                  I was not suggesting that we wear suits to con, far from it. I mentioned suits because what we wear to con is not necessarily what we wear all the time (I tend to, but I polish up nicely when the occasion calls for it). The only view the public gets is not representational of the other 362 days of the year. I'm sure you'd find that a great majority, while odd and eccentric, are no where near the image that is portrayed.
                  Yes but why should we clean up nicely? What happened to just being ourselves? (But I do get what you are saying, hackers don't always wear jeans, t-shirt and trench coat to work, they don't live in a dungeon ok ok ( DA Excluded, lol) ) It would be nice if they discussed what happened the other 362 days but to be brutally honest, that is incredibly boring to the average person...incredibly mundanely boring. The real articles, the good news, the stuff we actually read is way over the head of the average reader and reporters out there. They don't give a rats buttocks about the real news, the only ones who read and write it are geeks themselves. Example would be Joanna vs Ptacek or Joanna vs. certain AV vendors. The average person has no idea what the hell is going on and would find it boring. But its hella entertaining to us, however if you start talking about credit cards and nigeria scammers then they have interest. If you described your job to a chick at the bar chances are she has no damn idea what you are talking about and thinks whatever it is its boring and she will never be able to explain it to her girlfriend at the gym. I describe my job and people are like "Oh you mean like with like hackers and credit card fraud nstuffs?!" No, No that is not it, but unfortunately that is all they know. They don't give a damn if you have been working to keep oracle secure for 5 years, everyone has a lock on their door and why is it a 12 year old can open it?!?! In every industry when you explain your work or even in when you create your work, you have to dumb it down so that a 5 year old can understand it. You are competing for their attention span... you can explain all day why you are a righteous simple man like them. The 5 yr old just hears that you just told them Barney is just a man in a purple suit. They don't understand why you hold such an interest, why would you write a book about hacking your house? scary scary man...terrorists.

                  I don't care what individuals think. Anyone who's taken the time to know me can make an opinion either way. It's the mass hysteria that bugs me because most reporters never ask the questions of the other side and in our case, usually only go to the suited professional who's best interest is to label us as evil since it drums up work for him/her.
                  Like I said before, I sometimes think they have good intentions just bad information. You are right. 99% of the mouth breathing bastards they get on cnn to discuss identity theft and threats to average consumers are only promoting fud to pad their own wallets. What pisses me off is when I see a show or report and they have someone talking about something and they will cut them off as they are getting to the solution or stating that the threat is not as big as it is hyped up to be. It's sad actually. especially when they are cut off saying " X would be useless to your average HACKERS, it's the govt and courts.....".

                  I was also not trying 'take back' the term hacker I'm quite proud to be called that. It's when it's used as a negative that I take issue and my point was to have enough presence to essentially be able to say to detractors of the community "say it to my face".
                  I don't think you can have just one meaning of the word. I think that it will always be a multipurpose descriptive word. You could compare this issue to other minorities and certain descriptive words used to describe them both within their own circle and negatively by prejudiced people.

                  You just can't take it personally, eventually people will figure it out and I think that they are coming to that. I think that our "stranger danger" campaigns have made the average user aware of the threats out there, but they aren't yet so good at figuring out that every hacker isn't someones creepy uncle who doesn't shave. Hell my grandmother understands that you shouldn't open an attachment. She just doesn't unless i call her and she knows that .jpg is from me she will never see the pictures of my dog in a stupid hat, maybe thats cause her computer wont let her without her active consent....but... The industry has made it easier, the software has made it easier the media has made it easier to warn the average soccer mom about the simple stuff, pop ups and phishing, wifi routers, and myspace is certainly encouraging todays youth to figure shit out, even if it is in a combative and sometimes aesthetically displeasing way.

                  I am preaching to the choir I know, but my OP was about combating some of the negativity by playing the humanity hack of making it so we were seen as people, not as some malevolent swarm.
                  Do we need a Rip Taylor or MLK of our group? Do we need a group of people to go around and speak for hacker rights? Maybe but I'm not sure, I get what your saying, i really do, don't get me wrong. I just don't think it's worth it to try to convince them we are people too, screw them if they don't get it. Also, If we put a mascot face on it what happens when that face is convicted of insider trading? (We were just talking about ole Martha) I think we will do what we do, do it good and eventually enough people will get us. I get rather pissed off at the media too, im not trying to sound insensitive, i yell at the tv all the time so I get where you are coming from. I guess maybe you should just get involved more? Call the producers and point out the lack of research the offenses in the reporting, start a campaign. I guess i just saw it as turning hacker into the "H-bomb", although I get you aren't saying that, its just if you get enough people censoring eventually you cant say anything. where as if you left it alone it might just grow old and boring with the lack of attention. I don't know maybe i am negative nelly but i remember trying to come to the defense of myself or others only to end up being portrayed like a troll. Turn a deaf ear and show 'em your best I guess.

                  Feel free to add civil thoughts, comments. Without civil discourse we won't get anywhere.
                  Without civil disobedience we wouldn't have anywhere to go.
                  Last edited by Nikita; September 10, 2007, 19:13.
                  "Haters, gonna hate"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

                    I think I found the face for def-con

                    AcidicA, another orange shirted goon.
                    myspace.com/acidicasound


                    You throw like girls. I know, I helped run the dunk tank ;)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

                      What about the Hacker Foundation? It would seem that Agent X and Nick's organization would be the perfect "face" to put on the "underground."
                      Thorn
                      "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

                        Originally posted by converge View Post
                        I, for one, think that we should change public perception of hackers starting at next Defcon; by having all the males dress in pink miniskirts, with all females dressing in bright white business suits.
                        Please, not white. I can't keep white clothing clean.

                        -mouse
                        One Voter really can make a difference. Ask me how!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

                          Originally posted by AcidicA View Post
                          I think I found the face for def-con

                          My eyes, my eyes!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

                          xor
                          Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

                            I'm just going to goto Defcon 16 naked and prove I'm no threat to no one!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Putting a face on the 'underground'

                              I for one think we should take a vote on the following:
                              A:

                              B:

                              What Yall think?


                              (I actually meant to send CyborgPirateNinjaJesus to Johnny Long cause it totally fits from his talk this year)
                              "Haters, gonna hate"

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