Monday, September 03, 2007

Hacker Is Not a Dirty Word

Last week I spoke at the Chicago Electronic Crimes Task Force with my friend Keith Jones. I talked about trends in digital security and Keith described his experience as an expert witness at the Duronio trial. One of the themes was the defense team's attempt to attack the credibility of Jon Tan/Karl Kasper as a forensic investigator because he is a "hacker."

I have a feeling that the "hacker is bad" defense weakened last week when Microsoft started a new blog titled Hackers @ Microsoft:

Microsoft employs some of the best hackers in the world and actively recruits them and develops them. They work on all kinds of projects, whether it be in development, research, testing, management and of course security.

I'll keep my eye on this Microsoft blog to see what sort of topics they plan to cover.

4 comments:

yoshi said...

[checks calendar]
yep is 2007

The word "hacker" has been lost for years if not decades. Similar to the word "innovation" (which microsoft did in during the anti-trust years). We may believe its means one thing but the public at large (largely thanks to the media) now has a different impression. Its time to move on...

Why this is news now I have no idea...

Richard Bejtlich said...

yoshi,

The point of my post was to contrast the position of a defense attorney in a criminal case (saying "hacker = bad") vs that of Microsoft (saying "We hire hackers.") If Microsoft's position had been announced prior to the trial it would have greatly reduced any effectiveness of that defensive strategy.

stretch said...

Because when I think hackers, I think Microsoft. =P

Seriously though, it seems the stigma attached to the word has been slowly dissipating over the last few years (it must be if even Microsoft will use the word openly). Of course, we have a long way to go.

root123 said...

Whether the word hacker is Dirty or Not...But one thing that is commom to all hackers is they chase after innovations. And I think Microsoft loves innovators regardless of good or bad.