[ISN] Hacking hackers

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Mon Mar 01 1999 - 01:02:08 PST

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    Hacking hackers
    Adam L. Penenberg
    YOU'RE HOME WORKING on your computer, gulping down Mountain Dew and
    fiddling with code. You're interrupted by a knock at your door. "Open up,"
    someone yells. "FBI." 
    You would think this would be a hacker's worst nightmare. But according to
    Jennifer Granick, an attorney in San Francisco who has handled a number of
    hacker and Internet kiddie porn cases, it's more of a hacker's dream. 
    "Many hackers like it when the Feds think their skills are worthy of
    attention," says the 29-year-old Granick, a graduate of Hastings Law
    School. "They immediately go from 'newbie' to 'elite,' and this gives them
    the cachet they need to land those $100-an-hour computer security jobs." 
    The FBI often relies on hackers for technical knowledge and details about
    the culture, but this information is frequently tainted by the informants'
    lack of skill, or by personal grudges against other hackers.
    Unfortunately, the computer skills of many of the agents who are given the
    task of investigating computer break-ins are often woefully inadequate. 
    So even if FBI agents obtain a search warrant, and confiscate your
    computer equipment because you're under suspicion of having committed a
    cybercrime, that doesn't mean you're an elite hacker, or even that you
    broke the law. You could be innocent. Or guilty. Or framed by another
    hacker. Or a "script kiddie"--someone who uses off-the-net hacking
    software--and still have the Feds convinced you're a major threat to
    public safety. This is what happened with Ehud Tennebaum, "Analyzer," the
    Israeli teen who hacked the Pentagon with some pretty lame and outdated
    exploits. Nonetheless, her worshipfulness, Janet Reno made him an
    international star. 
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