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Re: Pentester convicted..
From: "Art Cooper" <acooper () pop innerwall com>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 09:25:57 -0600

I agree Bill.  The fact they use information HE provided to then convict him 
is completely ridiculous..

On Wed, 10 May 2006 09:20:22 -0500, William Hancock wrote
Hey there pen-testers, take this with a grain of salt, it just got me
excited.  I am really interested in everyones opinion on the matter 
or corporate responsibility and ownership.

<RANT>
In an article posted to slashdot today

(http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/10/112259&from=rss) a 
man has been convicted of hacking when he casually and helpfully 
reported a security vulnerability to the owners of a web site, in 
this case The University of Southern California.  It reads like it 
was some sort of simple SQL injection and upon gleaning the 
information he reported it.

What are we to do as a community I ask?  We should we, the good guys,
who are paid for our knowledge and ability to exploit mistakes,
oversights, and weaknesses then professionally report them to aid in 
the securing of information capital (or anyone who reports the flaw 
for that matter) worry about prosecution.  It lends itself to a 
forcing the technical community to sit on their laurels and wait for 
the people who don't report issues to exploit them.  Further it 
sounds very clear that had he not notified them, they would have 
never known.

A security pro notices a flaw, checks to make sure he is not on 
crack by 'flipping a bit', deems the threat viable and is likely to 
be exploited, notifies the owners, then get arrested and charged 
with unauthorized access.  We, as a or even The security community,
 should push corporations, governments, and organized body's to take 
responsibility and ownership of their problems.  If they publish a 
site that is flawed or exposing information then they are 
authorizing the retrieval of that information.  I'm not advocating 
that they laws should allow any jerk to try and brute his or her way 
in to a public or private web site, but come on.

If someone leaves their wallet in the park with no guard or 
protection, I pick it up and bring it back to the owner, the owner 
didn't want me to have it but I brought it back to him.  Why in the 
hell should I have to go to jail for returning it to him, why should 
I/we be punished for doing the right thing?

I acknowledge this to be a rant but there must but some way to insist
that when people make something available to the public that it is their
responsibility to safeguard it and appreciate not persecute someone who
let's them know (for free I might add) that a weakness exists.  This 
is simple scapegoating, the University did something not advisable 
as a good practice and instead of owning up to it they villafied a 
professional pen-tester for offering valid advice.

</RANT>

Thanks,
Bill

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