Hackers Strike At Black Hat Security Conference

Dennis Faas's picture

Three French journalists have been booted from a major security conference amid claims they were able to hack the laptops being used by fellow reporters.

It's particularly embarrassing for those reporters, many of whom write for Global Security Mag, an official sponsor of the Black Hat Las Vegas event. Only one of the hackers, Mark Brami, has spoken out; though he blamed colleague Mauro Israel for the 'attack', he said it was meant as a prank. The men involved reportedly told organisers they were attempting to raise the issue of privacy risks among people using public Internet connections.

The incident appears to have been possible thanks to a flaw in the way the wireless networks at the conference were set up. The Black Hat organisers established a WiFi network for delegates to use, but warned that it could be monitored by hackers. Indeed, there was even a 'Wall of Sheep' where participants could post any personal data they find broadcasted on the network without adequate security.

The victims of the hacking were using a separate network set up for the media, which attendees must agree not to attack. However, it looks as if either one machine was on both networks, or one machine from each network was directly connected. The French journalists appear to have used this to redirect traffic on the media network through their own machines. (Source: cnet.com)

The reporters posted a list of security details they had obtained via the hacking, including information about writers from News.com and eWeek. The News.com staff said the details posted about them were incorrect, but one eWeek writer said the information appeared legit.

The ramifications may go beyond mere embarrassment for both the conference and the French magazine. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a group campaigning for civil liberties online, says it's investigating whether the reporters breached any privacy laws. (Source: betanews.com)

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