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Author Says It's Time To Stop Glorifying Hackers

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the no-praise-for-you dept.

Security 479

First time accepted submitter Geste writes "Diane McWhorter pleads in this NYT Op-Ed piece that it's time to stop glorifying hackers. Among other things she rails against providers' tendencies to 'blame the victim' with advice on improved password discipline. Interesting, but what lesson are we to learn from someone who emails lists of passwords to herself?"

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Also time to stop (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46446821)

glorifying actors, sports figures, politicians, generals, soldiers, writers, artists, architects, Canadians, cooks, race car drivers, the old, children, dogs, accountants, spies, computer programmers, cowboys, drug smugglers, and the disabled.

Re:Also time to stop (4, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#46446933)

Goddammit, you stole the thunder out of so many potentially good posts, fast-acting AC.

Re:Also time to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447163)

And I still left off plenty, like the working man, astronauts, comedians, clowns, preachers, mothers, fathers, cute little children, taxi drivers, lottery winners, the police, judges, lawyers, English Aristocracy, Russian Peasants, Communist Freedom Fighters, mouse, birds, planes, and natural disasters.

Re:Also time to stop (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 7 months ago | (#46447195)

mice

Re:Also time to stop (5, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46447319)

Come on now, no one glorifies clowns.

Re:Also time to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447427)

natural disasters.

Natural disasters get all the fucking glory, I tell you what.

Re:Also time to stop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447109)

Don't forget journalists who are supposed to report on corruption, but are corrupt themselves. Hey, gotta make buddies for that insider access.

Re:Also time to stop (1)

bennomatic (691188) | about 7 months ago | (#46447119)

Let's stop glorifying the AC.

Re:Also time to stop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447125)

Re:Also time to stop (1)

Marginal Coward (3557951) | about 7 months ago | (#46447205)

You forgot doctors, cops, detectives, private detectives, and lawyers. Isn't it about time to make a TV drama about engineers?

Re:Also time to stop (1)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 7 months ago | (#46447289)

She was a student
Her father was an engineer
Won't you shed a tear
For my yellow rose
My yellow rose

Re:Also time to stop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447345)

No. The engineers would just fix it, drama gone.

Re:Also time to stop (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 7 months ago | (#46447399)

Wouldn't Walter White count as a chemical engineer?

Re:Also time to stop (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447285)

More to the point, guessing passwords is not "hacking" (even as hollywood redefined the word), similar to how sneaking a free refill at 7-11 is not "robbing".

Re:Also time to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447299)

No. Dogs and race car drivers, specifically canine race car drivers, are awesome.

Re:Also time to stop (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#46447383)

Well there is a difference between glorifying people who somewhat try to do positive things with their life, and achieved something from it.

But Hackers, drug smugglers and much of the other black market activity really shouldn't be glorified. Because for every 1 person who does this for some noble deed there are a thousand stupid kids who do this because they think it is easy money.

Re:Also time to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447445)

You include "Canadians"? As a Canadian myself, I find I cannot agree with your statement, and I would very much like you to retract it. Please. If it's not too much trouble. Thank you.

You keep using that word (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#46446843)

Note to the press: "Hackers" doesn't mean what you think is means.

Re:You keep using that word (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 7 months ago | (#46446941)

Indeed.

There's a difference between somebody who takes a list of passwords and abuses it and somebody who finds security issues and reports them responsibly.
There's also a difference between somebody who it a victim and somebody who gmails list of passwords to herself.

Oblig. car analogy: The person stealing your car is a "criminal", the owner of that car is a "victim". The person bypassing the lock on his own car and then reporting the issue to the car manufacturer is a "hacker". The person keeping a keychain in her unattended car, with keys of all her properties, conveniently labelled what each key is for and where it can be found, is called an "Idiot".

One does not preclude the other.

Re:You keep using that word (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 7 months ago | (#46447073)

The difference between "idiot" and "at fault" is huge.

Users will be idiots. Does any IT admin deny this fact? If your system only protects users who aren't idiots, you're a sorry excuse for an admin.

Make your system robust against weak passwords. This is not rocket science. If it's something important, use two-factor auth. If not, make account recovery easy - put real thought and effort into it! And for goodness sake, make sure your DB of password hashes doesn't become public - that's all in your hands, and it's completely your fault if that happens, weak passwords or strong.

Re:You keep using that word (4, Insightful)

Aighearach (97333) | about 7 months ago | (#46447291)

Your system cannot protect the idiots from themselves. That is a trap you fell into somewhere. Most likely you simply agreed it would be nice if it was so. "Yeah, why can't we protect all our users?!"

This isn't brain science or rocket surgery. The idiots have to have a way to access the system. They will NOT remember strong passwords, they will write them in a stupid place or keep them in gmail with public information as the account recovery. And guess what, you can't control gmail. Put some real thought into it, your idiot users will hand their access away to the first thief, and you can't do much to protect them.

All you can do is protect your system and try to make anything important difficult enough to access that the idiots can't get in.

Re:You keep using that word (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#46447443)

> The difference between "idiot" and "at fault" is huge.

It depends on the environment. In some environments, you will be punished for leaving your valuables unsecured. It is considered bad policy to tolerate idiots that invite thieves.

The meat space equivalent of what this idiot journalist does is illegal in some jurisdictions.

Re:You keep using that word (5, Informative)

Rinikusu (28164) | about 7 months ago | (#46447449)

I currently have over a dozen passwords I have to keep memorized for accessing various systems (each with their own unique login IDs and passwords), many of which are changed every 3-6 weeks and do stringent checks on previously used passwords. That's just for work, and not including the dozen or so username/passwords I use online in my personal time. Seriously, it's time to rethink passwords because if you don't like that I write all this shit down in a spreadsheet that I print out and stuff in a binder, well, it beats the other guys post-its on their monitors.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447099)

No, that is not what a "hacker" is. It has nothing to do with "bypassing locks", encryption, etc. Nor does it have anything to do with whether or not someone is a "whitehat" or "blackhat." A hacker is simple someone who loves technology. Loves learning, taking things apart,modifying (hacking) them, etc.

Re:You keep using that word (3, Informative)

Aighearach (97333) | about 7 months ago | (#46447311)

"Hackers" are called Makers now. We lost that language war, but we have a new term now.

Re:You keep using that word (1)

bennomatic (691188) | about 7 months ago | (#46447145)

LOL, I hope we've never had an argument before, because I think this is awesome. Absolutely the best /. post I've read all day.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 7 months ago | (#46447403)

I have to say, I agree that it's time to stop glorifying hackers.

We need people to build things far more than we need people to break them. Building things is cool. Breaking them isn't. If you find it more enjoyable than crosswords, hey, enjoy yourself... but really, it's not a particularly admirable use of your time.

Now, making a spectacle of peoples private lives... that's just plain rude, and no more admirable than a paparazzi peeking through your hedge. No one is going to be comfortable with transparency in our society until people learn how to keep their noses out of other peoples personal business. What this "Guccifer" fellow is doing is peeping tom type creepy.

Locking and unlocking things constantly is inefficient and annoying. It's something you only do if you're surrounded by dickheads and have no choice.

Re:You keep using that word (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 7 months ago | (#46446949)

And neither does "blaming the victim".

Re:You keep using that word (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447029)

Apparently, suggesting things you can do to mitigate your chances of being harmed qualifies as "blaming the victim." In other words, these victims have to suffer in ignorance, even when there are things they could do to stop whatever it is that's harming them.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447327)

This is a newish phenomenon I ran into lately.

People now have a right to do anything they want regardless if it was risky or dangerous. If someone walks down a dark alley with a fist full of cash, and they get mugged, and you tell them, "Well that was stupid." You are now victim blaming.

If at any time you point out how someone could have avoided a situation or made themselves safer, you are now victim blaming.

This seems to have started with the rape culture. Where women have a right to get wasted, get naked, get into a van full of men and wake up in their own beds. While I agree with the premise, it reality things don't work this way. But don't point that out to anyone, or you are putting the blame on the victim.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447433)

suggesting things you can do [...] qualifies as "blaming the victim."

Basically yes, it does, but we need to consider it in more detail.

The phrase usually applies to violent crime in the streets or abusive relationships ("your father's in a bad mood so don't provoke him right now."). The author is trying to take advantage of a consensus she perceives on those topics, which are very different from choosing passwords. In those scenarios "blaming the victim" by responding to crime with victim-advice:

  (1) gives huge amounts of control to the bad actor, which they strategically use by scaring people in arguments, enforcing norms of dress, setting up regimes of so-called "respect", etc.

          sorry, but while choosing good passwords might change your personality a little bit, being annoyed isn't similar to being controlled at all. You still have to do your taxes even if you're a woman.

  (2) doesn't get you back to where you started because your mind is perpetually occupied by the will of the bad actor, every new person you meet must be treated with suspicion, dressing for a party has to consider the opinions of the neighborhoods you will walk through on your way to get there which breaks your ability to form a coherent tribe, and you learn various backwards broken ideas from which it takes a decade to recover (and these ideas are not even objectively wrong, even though they break all possibility of your finding a full and happy life).

          web sites basically work the same whether you choose a good password or a bad one.

  (3) is a substitute for alternatives focused on the bad actors, alternatives which we can see working if we look across different countries and social cohorts (ex. undergrads in the US vs Denmark wrt date rape, street violence in Detroit vs Tokyo, and the outcomes of the weirdly various domestic violence and child welfare laws in various countries).

            going back to the entitled and ignorant "shoot the messenger" news-reporting days of vilifying hackers has no track record of working. There isn't even a plausible hand-waving scenario in which it could work. It is in fact an escalating spiral of badness since, when publicizing security research becomes taboo, geeks with a love for the work are forced to share it secretly among themselves instead of using the research to improve things. Some of their improvements might even include things that will not be annoying to entitled reporters. ...but, it's all the same people, showing you how things are broken and helping to fix them.

I agree that "blaming the victim" is misused here more disastrously than "hacker" is misused, though. I'm not very impressed with author of TFA.

Re:You keep using that word (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46447381)

Expecting a potential crime victim not to be a fucking idiot isn't the same as blaming them for the crime. Yeah, in an ideal world, I should be able walk through the worst neighborhood in town waving a wad of cash at 2 a.m. yelling "I'm unarmed and have a lot of cash!" and not get robbed. And if I was robbed, it wouldn't be any less a criminal act on the criminal's part. But it would still make me a fucking idiot.

Re:You keep using that word (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 months ago | (#46447019)

The commonly-accepted usage of words is determined by the majority. Whatever "hacker" used to mean, it now means someone who bypasses computer security systems to commit crimes.

Re:You keep using that word (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447095)

The term "black-hat hacker" is pretty well accepted and so is "white-hat hacker," the latter of which does not mean "someone who bypasses computer security systems to commit crimes."

Re:You keep using that word (3, Insightful)

fisted (2295862) | about 7 months ago | (#46447111)

Since the "majority" has not a faint idea what hacking is, or was, i refuse letting them assign new meaning to words they dojn't understand.
IOW your argument is stupid.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447133)

Says who?

Re:You keep using that word (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447159)

Exactly. This ship sailed a long time ago. Time to give it up. The original meaning of "hacker" is dead. If you use it in that sense, you will only be miscommunicating with the vast majority that uses it in the new sense.

Seriously people. Let it go. Words change. Many of the words you use now meant something else entirely a hundred years ago.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447241)

Next you're gonna tell us scientists have to use the colloquial means of words.

Re:You keep using that word (3, Insightful)

Aighearach (97333) | about 7 months ago | (#46447351)

The commonly-accepted usage of words is determined by the majority.

While I do agree that whatever "hacker" used to mean is called a "maker" now, you're way off on how word meanings are determined.

It turns out, each word can have multiple meanings, and all the meanings with common published examples are the real meanings! Wow! Blows your mind, right?

How can nerds expect the world to believe in our vocabulary if we can't even read dictionaries?

Re:You keep using that word (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 months ago | (#46447083)

You don't get to supplant the definition of a word because you want to embrace it's favorable connotations while rejecting the negatives: I'm assuming you're referring to hacker vs. cracker.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447439)

But isn't "cracker" a racist term we're not supposed to use?

Re:You keep using that word (1)

Nehmo (757404) | about 7 months ago | (#46447175)

Note to the press: "Hackers" doesn't mean what you think is means.

You might want to elaborate on that. Although you may hack a URL, "hacker" indeed has the connotation of a villainous outlaw circumventing legitimate barriers.
Regarding Diane McWhorter's article, although I must commend the flowery analogies therein, I don't see anything practical to be gained by reading it. And the title of the article doesn't really summarize its content.

Re:You keep using that word (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 7 months ago | (#46447219)

If only we had a time machine, we could go back to the 90s and fight thing battle again. At this point I think it is fair to say, the word means whatever it is used for. Makers are the new hackers.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447257)

+1: Leave the term hacker alone and go corrupt some other term. Time to stop glorifying NYT nonsense.

Re:You keep using that word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447287)

Unfortunately, the language has evolved. Like it or not, the pejorative connotation of 'hacker' is dominant, and attempting to educate the main-stream media about the difference between 'hacker' and 'cracker' (or about any other remotely technical topic) is an exercise in futility.

We need a new word.

Time to stop glorifying the NYT Op-Ed (5, Insightful)

coldsalmon (946941) | about 7 months ago | (#46446863)

Stop falling for the clickbait, Slashdot.

Ignoring them won't make them go away (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46446869)

They don't do it for the press.

Re:Ignoring them won't make them go away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46446915)

Bologna, Cap'n Crunch only got into phone tone whistle tooting for the babes, cash, fast cars, and slick Hollywood movie deals, along with its associated merchandise.

By Neruos (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46446871)

Without hackers you wouldn't have the level of awareness, support, transparency and resolve as you do now. 99% of all related computer/electronic security/functionality is directly contributed by hackers. Personal or hidden agenda's aside.

Hackers are testers and without testing a product fails, period.

Hackers get no RSPECT (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46446879)

And yea, that's spelled right. In all 57 states.

Re:Hackers get no RSPECT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447161)

I went to the doctor and he said, "I need a stool, urine, and sperm sample," so I handed him my president!

Blaming the victim? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46446893)

Next thing you know we'll stop teaching kids to look both ways before crossing the street because we're teaching people not to drive drunk. But this just isn't how the world works.

Victim blaming (5, Insightful)

LocalH (28506) | about 7 months ago | (#46446903)

Why the hell is there a trend nowadays to call it "victim blaming" to give people advice on protecting themselves? Is it really such a bad idea for people to do things to protect their passwords?

I guess telling people to run antivirus is now "victim blaming", too.

Re:Victim blaming (4, Funny)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 7 months ago | (#46446963)

Don't teach users not to run mysterious .exe files from suspicious people without antivirus software! Teach scammers not to scam!

Re: Victim blaming (1, Funny)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about 7 months ago | (#46447031)

Seriously. Like when someone smashes a window, breaks into your house and murders your family. What were you expecting when you don't put bars over your windows?

Re: Victim blaming (3, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | about 7 months ago | (#46447235)

Careful, I'm not sure you can see over the top of all that hyperbolic. It isn't impossible for most people to hold the view that crime is bad an should be discouraged and that taking moderate steps to moderate your risk of being a victim is sensible; if you haven't already tried it then I'd strongly suggest giving it a go.

Re:Victim blaming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447127)

Why the hell is there a trend nowadays to call it "victim blaming" to give women advice on protecting themselves? Is it really such a bad idea for women to do things to protect their bodies?

I guess telling women to not dress like sluts is now "victim blaming", too.

Re:Victim blaming (2)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46447201)

If there is a reasonable and effective method that women can use to protect themselves from getting raped, why would they not use it? Sadly, there is no such reasonable or effective method. Becoming a shut-in is not reasonable, and unlikely to be effective. Rapists don't rape because of someone's choice of clothes, so telling them to not wear certain clothing is just idiotic.

Your comparison is bad and you should feel bad. In fact, just think about what you're saying; you're essentially saying that people shouldn't mention to other people that there are ways to protect themselves from bad things. It's just absurd.

It all depends on how the advice is given. If you're blaming a victim for someone else's actions (say, someone breaking into their home), then I could see that as "victim blaming." However, if you merely fault them for not taking reasonable and effective steps to mitigate the chances that they will be harmed, that is entirely different than blaming them for the actions of another. This "victim blaming" nonsense needs to be put to rest.

Re:Victim blaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447171)

You can't fix stupid nor can you out fool a fool. She has to blame someone.

Re:Victim blaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447191)

Why the hell is there a trend nowadays to call it "victim blaming" to give people advice on protecting themselves?

"Protect" is a really sloppy word, like "piracy."

Re:Victim blaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447389)

Because in a civilized society you shouldn't have to protect yourself from criminal acts.

The origins of the term are in rape awareness campaigns where it was used to combat the "she was asking for it look how she dressed" argument.

Re:Victim blaming (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 7 months ago | (#46447421)

There's a difference between trying to get people to protect themselves and blaming the victim. Telling users "you need to run an anti-virus" is giving advice. Telling users "you were hacked because you're an idiot that runs Microsoft software" is victim blaming. To take this away from the computer world, telling women "you could take a self-defense class or carry Mace with you" is advice. Telling a woman "you were raped because of the way you were dressed - that's just asking for it!" is victim blaming.

There's an important distinction between the two. Even if the incident in question could have been avoided if the victim had taken protective measures, don't try to assign blame to a victim who is hurting from the incident. That's just going to cause ill will and won't lead to the person listening to you in the future. It is possibly to blame the perpetrator for the crime committed while still offering to help make sure incidents like these don't happen in the future,

US blame culture. (4, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | about 7 months ago | (#46446919)

So she emailed a list of passwords to herself, didn't bother encrypting it, and kept it in her on-line email account for 9 months, then she's actually surprised when she gets hacked?

I look forward to the day when America gets back to the point where people start taking responsibility for their own actions again, instead of always looking for someone else to blame (and sue) for their own stupidity.

Re:US blame culture. (-1, Troll)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about 7 months ago | (#46447233)

I look forward to the day when America gets back to the point where people start taking responsibility for their own actions again, instead of always looking for someone else to blame (and sue) for their own stupidity.

Judging from the increasing number of brain-dead liberals infesting America, I think you're gonna be waiting a LONG LONG time......

Re:US blame culture. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447411)

Judging from the tea party, even after all the liberals have gotten themselves killed, we're going to have to keep waiting until they pull the jesus stick out their ass.

Author is s twat (3, Informative)

scorp1us (235526) | about 7 months ago | (#46446947)

He *emailed* himself his own password list then whines when his account gets hacked.
NO SURPRISE HERE.

*She* (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 7 months ago | (#46446971)

I corrected it myself.

Re:Author is s twat (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 7 months ago | (#46447007)

If she used webmail, or TLS/SSL-encryption when sending the email, that should be safe.

Unless the email account is hacked by other means. But usually, that will screw your passwords anyways, as all registrations either sent you passwords, or will allow you to reset them using the email address.

Re:Author is s twat (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 7 months ago | (#46447237)

No, it's not "safe". It violates the first three rules of passwords:
1. Do not write passwords down
2. Do not store all of your passwords together.
3. If you do break #1, do not store your password in an un-safe location.

Why is she allowed out on the internet at all? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46446951)

If someone gets to her gmail account - WHERE SHE KEPT A LIST OF PASSWORDS SHE MAILED TO HERSELF - then why isn't she thinking "gosh, maybe 'loverlady' isn't a good password after all"?

Diane McWhorter? (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 7 months ago | (#46446955)

Why do I recognize that name? What other stupid shit has she said?

Maybe it's time to stop glorifying... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46446965)

Jocks

Only NSA can do that ! (1)

jcdr (178250) | about 7 months ago | (#46446969)

All others have to be quiet naive idiots ?

Uh huh... (0)

o_ferguson (836655) | about 7 months ago | (#46446975)

Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"... Damn kids. They're all alike. But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him? I am a hacker, enter my world... Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me... Damn underachiever. They're all alike. I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..." Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike. I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me... Or feels threatened by me... Or thinks I'm a smart ass... Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here... Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike. And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found. "This is it... this is where I belong..." I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all... Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike... You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us will- ing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert. This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals. Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike. - The Mentor

"Victim Blaming" (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 7 months ago | (#46446983)

It's not "Victim Blaming" unless someone attempts to punish the victim. Yelling at an idiot to stop throwing his mone the ground while closing his eyes is not victim blaming.

See Adrienne Brown, who really was victim blamed.

Or the poor woman in the Steubenville Rape case.

In other news... (2)

slapout (93640) | about 7 months ago | (#46446987)

Author Diane McWhorter identity was stolen 6 times today

Still No Excuse For NOT Following Best Practices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447027)

Whether they play the victim card or not, we should still hold organizations accountable for not following security best practices such as those outlined by PCI/DSS. Target, for example, SHOULD have known better but decided to dismiss and overlook fundamental security concerns that COULD have been mitigated. The real question is WHO are they seeking glory from? I suspect the answer it is within their own peer groups. You can't ask a community of peers to stop glorifying the very thing they are built around. This is to say NOTHING of those who are in it not for glory but for illegal financial gain or to advocate some activist cause.

Re:Still No Excuse For NOT Following Best Practice (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 7 months ago | (#46447315)

In the case of large organizations like Target, IT expenditures are controlled by management ladder climbers who don't have the knowledge to make the proper decisions on matters that require anticipating "unknowns". If a business case can't be made for spending money on security it gets cast aside because these people are only taught about bean counting in their MBA coursework.

Re:Still No Excuse For NOT Following Best Practice (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 7 months ago | (#46447393)

I'm surprised it took until two thirds of the way down this article for someone to say this. The author seems to be proposing that companies just don't implement security and "trust" hackers to not hack?

I also don't "get" why all these security breaches keep happening where the attacker can download the plaintext of basically all users' passwords...why the hell aren't these companies just storing the password hash? If a user forgets their password, email them a reset link to their listed account email. Wasn't this a solved problem 10 years ago?

(I admit I'm straying into the "this should be so simple and just work!" viewpoint that I complain about non-programmers having, unfortunately.)

hacker? stop demonizing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447035)

Time to stop demonizing anyone who knows how to program a computer as a hacker.
Time to stop demonizing anyone who uses the bit torrent protocol as a pirate.
Time to stop demonizing a lot of people.

Need to stop trying to market brand "hackers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447047)

When you see the phrase of white hat, author has no idea of the concept of hacking. If you hire a lawyer or tax consultant to help with tor networks for your taxes, you hired a hacker. Article not worthy for a geek website, good for a gossip magazine.

disconnect (2)

Tom (822) | about 7 months ago | (#46447051)

but what lesson are we to learn from someone who emails lists of passwords to herself?

That real-world security is very disconnected from the clean and nice scenarios in your books and head, because real users think differently than geeks and do different things for different reasons. Some of them we gloat over and call them Lusers and other deragatory terms, but that's mostly to cover up our own insecurity because most of the Lusers out there have had ten times as many and twice as beautiful women and don't live in their mothers basements anymore.

Yes, I know that's also untrue. The point is that different people have different skills and while many of the non-techie people do stuff that we techies consider stupid, they could laugh just as much about us in other areas of expertise. Maybe not women, maybe for them it's sports or marketing or making friends.

So stop gloating and calling people stupid and look at what they can, in fact, teach you. In this case, there's quite a bit to be learned, not the least of which is that passwords are a moronic concept and need to die.

Re:disconnect (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 7 months ago | (#46447405)

passwords are a moronic concept and need to die

There are two ways to implement authentication: Provide a unique token that you have possession of or provide an identifier that you have exclusive knowledge of. Things that you possess can be stolen by taking them (credit card, rfid badge, SecureID). Some things that you possess can't be used universally (fingerprints, iris/retina). Things that you know, however, can't be stolen so long as you keep them in your head. Which is more moronic?

Victim Response (2)

Jharish (101858) | about 7 months ago | (#46447059)

Hacker says it's time to stop listening to authors. Especially if they think hacker=computer criminal. It's got as much integrity as saying white people=bankers.

My takeaway.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447061)

Things I learned in reading that blabbering op-ed.

Earthlink is still alive. (shocking, but meh...)
Author likely uses same password for multiple publically known email accounts. (lacks even the least amount of personal information security training)
Seems to think Gawker is a respected, um, network. (HAHAHA!)
Thinks pepole hacking celebrity accounts or high-profile public figures is equivalent to what Snowden and similar whistleblowers do, at least as popularity is concerned. (Err...)
Mentions term 'white hat' like it's a mythical unicorn. (turtles all the way down....)

This is like a nail beutician, commenting on the security of a cars CAN bus. I want my 5 minutes back!

How is this brainless drivel even here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447093)

It seems to me like a venture into the fearsome territory of pointless and redundant. How is this a worthy discussion point and not promptly-filtered-by-hippocampus blabber from an entitled and technologically uneducated person? Do people now need detailed explanation from "the authorities on the subject" on absolutely *everything* ?

Reading this, to me, feels like reading anti-evolution blogs. Desperately trying to be an edgy and heard voice of a generation. So much so that "logic" is, for the purposes of being perceived as hip, opinionated and ahead of the times as possible, thrown out along with the baby, the bathwater & the bathtube.

Re:How is this brainless drivel even here (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 7 months ago | (#46447323)

It seems to me like a venture into the fearsome territory of pointless and redundant. How is this a worthy discussion point and not promptly-filtered-by-hippocampus blabber from an entitled and technologically uneducated person? Do people now need detailed explanation from "the authorities on the subject" on absolutely *everything* ?

Reading this, to me, feels like reading anti-evolution blogs. Desperately trying to be an edgy and heard voice of a generation. So much so that "logic" is, for the purposes of being perceived as hip, opinionated and ahead of the times as possible, thrown out along with the baby, the bathwater & the bathtube.

"hippocampus blabber' - I like it....

The quality of the prose and logic suggests that the entire article was written after a double skinny natural vanilla flipped cappuccino at the local Starbucks and uploaded to the NYT using the Starbucks WiFi network without any sort of encryption at all.

We'll probably find her new passwords on Gawker next week.

People are responsible for their own stupidity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447117)

If they are too stupid to act responsibly with a computer, then they shouldn't have access to a computer.

Using a computer isn't a right. It's an opportunity to learn, however, it's also an opportunity to ruin your life.

Facebooking isn't worth losing your identify, ruining your retirement and credit-score.

There should be an IQ test as well as a computer operator's license test, just like for driving.

Not unless somebody glorifies the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447135)

I got into computers because I lied and told my friends I was a hacker.

This led me to learn how computers work, so I could keep just ahead of them.

It led me into taking my computers apart, debugging network issues, and eventually leading me to a career in IT where eventually my job became doing security audits and protecting environments from the thing I wanted to become.

We are what we pretend to be, and nobody knows what the opposite of a hacker is.

Maybe it's time to take away her soapbox (3, Informative)

Akratist (1080775) | about 7 months ago | (#46447141)

There seems to be no end to pinheads like this who run around and pontificate about crap they know nothing about. And, oh, hey, nice try impressing us with how sophisticated you are..."Oooh, look at me! I was at the museum of modern art! I'm ever so much better than you!" And, of course, she is part of the media class which spends a considerable amount of time glorifying violence to bring in entertainment dollars. The reality is that dumbshits like her owe most of their modern existence to "hackers" such as the Royal Society and others who refused to accept what they were told as conventional wisdom of the day and began "hacking" science and the natural world, producing great advances and inventions, and so on. I'll stop the rant now, and just say that useless flapjaws like her are the reason I ignore the major media...reading virtual fish wrappers like her column just wastes time I could spend doing more productive stuff which will actually help improve the lives of people instead of just making me look stupid in front of a national audience.

Agreed! (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#46447143)

It is also time to stop glorifying Googlers and Facebookers.
They should be called voyeurs.

Slashdot is the wrong audience for this rant (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 months ago | (#46447173)

Over the past 10-15 years I've posted here it's become less about developers and more about the network hacker ethic. Information wants to be free right? Especially when it's a torrent of a movie you want to watch while simultaneously arguing that it's not worth your hard-earned money to pay for a ticket. People hee haw when some corporation gets hacked regardless of the sophistication of the attack and hoist the culprits up on their shoulders.

If you watch much Lockup or any other prison documentaries, this is a pretty similar philosophy to the inmates. "Hey, they left their door open or the car unlocked or unsecured, so they deserve what they got!"

Why is this on slashdot? (2)

TranceThrust (1391831) | about 7 months ago | (#46447189)

A badly written rant containing ill-informed opinions, even when accounting for the author being no `geek', as she puts it.

The problem is not the `glorification' of hackers (seriously?). The problem is that laws remain outdated to cope with this digital age. The problem is that governments rely on badly protected and badly regulated technologies.

The problem is not having enough hackers.

Hire an expert (2)

seyfarth (323827) | about 7 months ago | (#46447217)

Anyone with a lot of money and little computer security knowledge needs to hire someone to set up their computers and teach them safe practices. It would be worth several thousand dollars to a milliionaire to avoid the sort of problems Ms. McWhorter encountered. Perhaps she is not rich, but she has won a Pulitzer prize for writing. I think she could afford to try harder to be safe. Ideally an operating system should protect the user, but it is practically impossible to write complex software with no errors. People should be suspicious when their operating system comes with a time trial of anti-virus software. The fact that such software exists, makes it pretty obvious that the system is fragile. Ms. McWhorter writes well, but is clearly not a computer security expert. She needs help with her computer and on-line affairs.

Hackers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447275)

Guys in the suits or the black hats, cuz last time i checked the guys in the suits have hacking the public purse for years.

Dear Diane... (3, Interesting)

stox (131684) | about 7 months ago | (#46447293)

If you want to see what real hackers are about, come on down to H.O.P.E. this year, http://www.hope.net./ [www.hope.net] We're just a short walk away from the New York Times at the Hotel Pennsylvania.

See you there!

Idiots... (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about 7 months ago | (#46447305)

...should not pontificate about "hackers". OK, I'll spot her the inept use of the term, but aside from that, when it comes to cyber security, Diane McWhorter is clearly an idiot. She uses a public mail server to send her passwords to herself, across the Internet, unecrypted, and it's somebody else's fault when such idiotic stunts result in compromised security?
Ms. McWhorter, It has nothing to do with "glorification". Criminals and miscreants will steal your shit if they can, often just because they can. The motivation doesn't matter. What matters is that they will. What matters even more is that one can, with a few simple steps, drive the likelihood of such a theft down to near zero. So when you fail to take those steps, you are being stupid. Its like never locking your house or your car and then crying foul when someone points out your negligence to you.

It is time to start... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46447347)

To read the dictionary and check the definition of hacker in the first place...

Author also wants... (2)

JestersGrind (2549938) | about 7 months ago | (#46447365)

everyone to get off her lawn.

hackaday .. (1)

niks42 (768188) | about 7 months ago | (#46447441)

Dayumn .. Somehow they are going to have to change their web site to Makaday
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