The Public Perception of the Image of Hackers

Mon, 05 May 2008 23:11:05 GMT
by pdp

It's been a long day. I am happy to inform you that the House of Hackers community has reached remarkable 80 members since its opening 10 hours ago. It even have got some exposure on Dark Reading (
Hackers in the House), thanks to Kelly Higgins.

The reason I am bringing all this to your attention is because of HD Moore's comment regarding the House of Hackers initiative:

HD Moore, director of security research for BreakingPoint Systems, says his initial take on the House of Hackers announcement in the blog post is that the recruitment aspect of the House of Hackers could lure the wrong crowd. "If anything, hackers who work in security do all they can to appear professional and trustworthy and that really seems to undermine it," Moore says. It could end up attracting "'employers'" who aren't interested in the legality of the work they sponsor, he says.

I think that this comes down again to the public perception of the image of hackers. Unfortunately, it is fine to say Information Security Expert but it is NOT fine to call yourself a Hacker. I guess I repeat myself but hacking has nothing to do with breaking into computer systems. I suppose I am preaching to the wrong crowd but it is time get these concepts straights because hackers kill 50% of their potential by calling themselves Information Security Experts/Analysts etc. Why? Well, if you can solve problems from one sphere in a creative way, surely you can do similar for other spheres. To me, that is exactly what hacking is all about and people who are capable of doing this should make it clear otherwise they may loose interesting opportunities. I define myself as a hacker due to the approach I usually undertake when solving a problem. There is no other word that describes my personally better and therefore I hope I could stick to it for the time to come.

In the case of House of Hackers and HD's comment, well, I guess everybody has different goals. But we are all professional security consultants. GNUCITIZEN has been running under the "Hacker" slogan for 2 years and I cannot see how mine or any of the members' reputation have been damaged. The House of Hackers initiative is here to provide similar principles that we've already embraced under the GNUCITIZEN umbrella and we found them working. Indeed, we are looking for funding and organizations that are willing to try out the community but I cannot see anything wrong with that. If someone wants to abuse freelancers' service, they could as well do that with any other security testing company out there. Just like any other freelance job, you have to prove yourself, etc.

I hope that this post makes people think about all these ideas and maybe change their mind if they have the hacker stereotype already embossed on their values system.