[ISN] A Net home for hackers

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Thu Jan 21 1999 - 11:51:01 PST

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    A Net home for hackers
    By Paul Festa
    Staff Writer, CNET News.com
    January 19, 1999, 6:15 a.m. PT
    Hackers are about to get a place they can call home on the Net. 
    Hacking news and information site AntiOnline has embarked on a plan to
    morph into a full-fledged portal. The next generation AntiOnline blueprint
    features a network of sites serving up editorial content, search,
    e-commerce, technical support, and free home pages, all focused on the
    world of hacking and computer security. 
    In order to achieve its goal, AntiOnline has secured something rarely
    discussed in hacker circles: venture funding. And if that weren't enough
    to distinguish the site from the culture of its scrappy followers, the
    site already is in negotiations to acquire some of its competitors. 
    AntiOnline founder (and now general partner) John Vranesevich started
    AntiOnline in high school and reached a turning point when, by his
    account, the University of Pittsburgh tried to expel him for running the
    Web site from his dorm room. Vranesevich left college and ran the site out
    of the corner of his parents' living room, going on to break numerous
    stories about computer security breaches. 
    Shortly therafter, Cleveland-based Lamwright West--best known for its
    craft stores--approached Vranesevich through its Zarite subsidiary about
    funding AntiOnline. Now Vranesevich has an office, a full-time information
    systems manager, and a staff of 30 freelance writers culled from a pool of
    7000 applicants. 
    "AntiOnline is going to be one of the most unique Web businesses out
    there," Vranesevich said. 
    The new AntiOnline may be first in its class, but in some respects the
    business is falling in line with two Internet trends. One is the rise of
    affinity portals, or sites aggregating information geared toward a
    specific interest or identity group. Affinity portals see an opportunity
    left by the sprawling--and enormously successful--megaportals like Yahoo. 
    The other trend AntiOnline's move follows is the rising interest in
    computer security issues, which affect not just the rag-tag, half-teen
    army of hackers but multinational corporations and even governments
    reeling from the implications of new concepts such as "infowarfare." 
    While Vranesevich acknowledges both those groups as natural parts of his
    target audience, his eye is firmly trained on a much larger population:
    the novice user. 
    "They're lost in this whole ordeal," Vranesevich said. "Companies are
    trying to sell them products, the media is telling them about all these
    hazards, and right now there's nowhere to go to find out what all these
    things are and how to deal with them." 
    Hacking and security resources abound on the Net and elsewhere,
    Vranesevich acknowledged, but those materials fail to reach a broad
    "There are magazines about this that are filled with source code,"  he
    said. "That means nothing to the average user." 
    The new AntiOnline, set to debut February 16, will feature six of its own
    domains, along with at least one other property that Vranesevich is in
    negotiations to acquire. 
    AntiOnline.com will continue to provide news. AntiSearch.com will use
    InfoSeek technology to search a database devoted to information security
    Web sites. IOMagazine.com will provide more technically advanced editorial
    content. AntiStore.com will sell security software, books, and other
    goods. AskBub.com will provide automated responses to security queries.
    And AntiOnline.org will provide free Web space for users. 
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    Today's ISN Sponsor: Internet Security Institute [www.isi-sec.com]

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