EthicalHackingPressRelease

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PRESS RELEASE - December 13, 2010

Hacker community condemns denial of service attacks, advocates ethical hacking.

In response to recent press covering of denial of service attacks on numerous websites and the arrest of a teenager from the metropolitan area of The Hague, the hackerspace Revelation Space in The Hague, The Netherlands, calls for a meeting about ethical hacking. Present at this meeting on December 18th 2010 will be, among others, IT lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet (legal consultancy firm ICTRecht), veteran hacker Hans van de Looy (Madison Gurkha) and internet journalist Brenno de Winter (nu.nl, webwereld.nl).

The arrested teenager, who was allegedly involved with the attacks on websites of MasterCard? and other companies that obstructed Wikileaks activities, was known to visit the hackerspace and was a regular in the online chat room for the hackerspace. This motivated members of Revelation Space to bring attention to the subject of 'ethical hacking'.

Disrupting websites with a 'Distributed Denial of Service'-attack (DDoS?) or by any other means, does not align with the ethics of the hacker community. Koen Martens, founder of the hackerspace, responds to the actions of "Anonymous": "I liken a denial of service attack to slapping someone in the face when you run out of arguments to prove someone wrong"

A hacker is a creative and curious individual, someone who wants to find out how things work and perhaps tries to find flaws in their design. An ethical hacker will act responsibly with the knowledge gained and will not abuse this knowledge. An ethical hacker is aware of the consequences of his or her actions or the sharing of the gained knowledge, and will always strive to operate within the boundaries of law.

As such, the attacks on sites such as MasterCard? have nothing to do with hacking. Anyone can download, install and start a computerprogram and then become part of a coordinated online crime. There is no creativity involved: DDoS? attackers generally use existing tools without realising how these function.

Although legal action is part of a proper response to the action of this minor 'script kiddie', it must be acknowledged that everyone has made mistakes in their youth that they are not proud of.

The young man and his accomplices should not be excluded from the community. They should be shown a better way to reach goals. One of the participants of the hackerspace admits that as a teenager he also did not always consider the consequences of his actions, and explains: "What really helped me was the interaction with real hackers, people with a sense of ethics. We can do much more for this young man, in the context of hacker ethics, than the people who raise him."

The event will be held on Saturday, December 18th, from 12:30 till 18:00, CET, in Revelation Space, Binckhorstlaan 172, Den Haag, The Netherlands. The meeting is organised in cooperation with the Hxx Foundation, the Utrecht hackerspace 'Randomdata' and the Dutch chapter of international hacker collective 2600.

Contributing to the meeting are internet journalist Brenno de Winter (NU.nl, Webwereld.nl and podcast 'the security update'), ICT-lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet (legal consultancy firm ICTRecht), veteran hacker Hans van de Looy (Madison Gurkha), Jurre van Bergen (ethical hacker with a special interest in government sites) and Walter van Holst (IT-lawyer with consultancy firm Mitopics and board member at European umbrella organisation for civil rights EDRi).

Everyone is invited to this session. Members of the press are explicitly invited to attend. Please note that the main language will be Dutch.

Revelation Space is a 'hackerspace', and is part of a world-wide movement. A hackerspace is a space where curious and creative people ('hackers') meet to share ideas and work on projects. Many of these activities are in the area of technology, and deal with IT, computernetworks, electronics and wood- and metal-crafting. But visitors also concern themselves with and discuss society in general.

'Script kiddies' is IT-jargon for people, usually teenagers, who use existing and freely available software ('scripts') to perform mischievous pranks they perceive as admirable. We contrast this with 'hackers', who on the basis of knowledge and skill come up with creative solutions and tricks, as well as with 'crackers' who (illegally) break into computersystems. Both the activities of script kiddies as well as those of hackers and crackers are considered in a constantly changing ethics.

Not for publication: for details and questions, please contact Koen Martens on +31 6 24707813.

- References:

Revelation Space%BR% Binckhorstlaan 172%BR% 2516 BG Den Haag%BR% The Netherlands