The Ethics of Hacking
In 2013 the then National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander spoke at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference about acknowledging, and protecting, ethical hackers. He discussed how through surveillance, these individuals would be uncovered, but also shielded, from legal jeopardy. Black Hat is a computer conference that focuses on security consulting, training, and briefings to hackers, corporations, and government agencies from around the world.
Security researchers were enraged over how this violated U.S. citizens privacy rights and also made their jobs more difficult.
Today that has changed.
First, let’s discuss what is ethical hacking? By Alexander’s measure, it was (or is) an individual who works to make the internet safer by uncovering and patching computer bugs. In opposition are those known as criminal hackers who use these bugs to steal money and information upon discovery.
Is It Working?
Aside from the protection from legal repercussions, the government has created bug bounties. These are financial compensations for finding and reporting bugs – providing monetary incentives that can keep hackers away from being lured to the dark side of hacking. This not only builds trust between the two parties but it also further builds the relationship with the acknowledgment of the work being done and rewarded.
Furthering this cohesiveness between parties is the attendance and acknowledgment of the government by its attendance at the Black Hat conference. Whereas they were once attending in a shroud of secrecy, they are now an active part of the community and conference.
What are your thoughts on ethical hacking? Let’s keep the conversation going.