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A hacker in a white hat
From: InfoSec News <isn () C4I ORG>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 02:39:43 -0500


Monday, July 24, 2000

The Washington Post

A recent news release describing Brian Martin awards him a most
unusual title: ex-hacker.

Martin, a thin young man with a wide smile, laughs at the
characterization but doesn't dispute it.

The security consultant says he used to run with a group of teens and
twentysomethings in Denver who would spend their free time "hacking"
(breaking into computer systems) and "phreaking" (breaking into phone
systems) when they weren't frequenting clubs and bars.

He was never caught. But a job teaching computer security at a
community college turned him around.

"After that, it was strictly nothing questionable," he says.

That was more than six years ago. Today, Martin stands among the first
generation of hackers now hitting their mid-twenties and thirties who
have, as he puts it, "matured."

Like Martin, many have become "white hat" hackers, and many of these
now-benevolent computer mavens are now among the industry's most
respected security professionals.

In his spare time, Martin serves as an administrator for the popular
Attrition.org security site, which maintains a list of Web site
defacements and corrects errors in news reports about computer
security issues.

He acts as an informal mentor to young hackers who visit his site.

He has also served as a consultant for the defense in the government's
case against Kevin Mitnick, a hacker icon who made his name by
breaking into large computer networks such as those of Novell, Sun
Microsystems, and the University of Southern California.

Martin was an independent security consultant for two years before
moving to the Washington area to work for a consulting company.

He says he considers himself lucky because his hobbies are the same as
his work and he can't imagine doing anything else for a living.

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