One in four US hackers 'is an FBI informer'

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by Dermot7, Jun 7, 2011.

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  1. Dermot7

    Dermot7 Registered Member

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    "The underground world of computer hackers has been so thoroughly infiltrated in the US by the FBI and secret service that it is now riddled with paranoia and mistrust, with an estimated one in four hackers secretly informing on their peers, a Guardian investigation has established." :

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/06/us-hackers-fbi-informer
     
  2. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    I know an FBI agent who does this.
     
  3. nix

    nix Registered Member

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    What a surprise.
     
  4. x942

    x942 Guest

    LOL. I know a few too! Actually they should worry a lot more about FBI "honeypot" servers and the like. One of the jobs I do is set up honey pots for company's and government's and being a (ex)-hacker (now IT/white-hat) I know how bad it is to be caught in a honey pot. They are a hackers worst nightmare if setup correctly.
     
  5. nix

    nix Registered Member

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    Oh, ok. Well, that settles it. We're officially surrounded. :D
     
  6. Noob

    Noob Registered Member

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    *Unplugs modem*
    Now they will have to take my house down if they want mee!! BWAHAHAHA :D
     
  7. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    I wonder what incentives are there other than threats. Like the pay.
     
  8. x942

    x942 Guest

    Well It is fairly well documented that some very talented hackers have been hired by the FBI/NSA in the past. Also from what I have heard (taken with a grain of salt) they are compensated like any other informant which makes sense. Somehow I can see threats being the only incentive as well, not to mention some people do it just because they believe it is (and it really is) the right thing to do if you are talented and able to get into those "circles".
     
  9. PJC

    PJC Very Frequent Poster

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    They changed side...;)
     
  10. nix

    nix Registered Member

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    First of all, this statistic is totally suspect. 1 in 4 hackers? What is that, like, 1 in 4 doctors?

    Informers are not always, or even often, compensated. If they were, the quality of their information might actually improve. Perhaps these "hackers" then are the ones that got caught - maybe not the best ones. And therefore, not the gifted savants you imagine NSA/FBI agents to be.
     
  11. mvario

    mvario Registered Member

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    The Guardian pulled that out of context from an offhand remark that Emmanuel Goldstein (Corley) made at the last HOPE conference. He talked about it on Off The Hook on Wednesday. It has no basis in fact and why The Guardian decided to turn it into a story a couple of years later is anyone's guess.
     
  12. nix

    nix Registered Member

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    "How many hackers does it take to establish a Skype connection?" Their answer: "Too many." The challenges of Skype in the studio don't sound too different from mine here, actually. They ended up using the cell, and once they got that going, the other guy got another call and hung up. :)

    And from there on to the Pentagon Papers, 17th Century espionage, and a Bradley Manning rally. Great show.

    The analysis of how the 1 in 4 hackers statistic came into being is pretty fascinating. Emmanuel Goldstein says he feels like hackers are vulnerable to intimidation. What a shame. They either need agents or pro bono lawyers. But there is no "army of informers," and the Guardian obviously totally misconstrued his words. Everyone in the studio thought so as well.

    In fact, as the conversation suggests, any underground movement will have that shifting boundary of resistance/cooperation with LE. That's where change is either forced or negotiated. It's an extrajudicial process, you might say. But it is overly simplistic to say that 1 in 4 hackers has been co-opted by the state. That implies a static condition that does not exist, even if the numbers were correct.

    Thanks for the link.
     
  13. x942

    x942 Guest

    Not true. I know plenty of ex-hackers (I'm one of them) that turned because of one of two things:

    1) morals - they decided they no longer wanted to exploit others for monetary gain and wanted to make money working for government bodies and/or businesses where there is still lots of money to be made.

    2) The figured out they make as much or more money by working and using their skills in a job (IT/Pentesting/Networking/programming)

    Getting caught has nothing to do with it most of the time.
     
  14. nix

    nix Registered Member

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    Sorry, but both the statistic and the "morals" do not ring true to me.
     
  15. Spooony

    Spooony Registered Member

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    This is nonsense.
    1. All the "talented" hackers ain't American. Unless you believe the movies.

    2. The hacker community are spread out all over the world
     
  16. x942

    x942 Guest


    Fair enough :p I can see it being at least partially true however.
     
  17. hidden

    hidden Registered Member

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    Hackers are malcontents

    At least those who aren't scammers.

    Not an insult necessarily, just displeased with things as they are, and pointing out/dicking-with what they consider the dysfunctions of society.

    HOWEVER, this worldview makes them likely to notice and judge disagreements with their "allies", and take action.

    The classic motivation for spies, turncoats; brief alliances against common enemies, followed by sudden realignment against the no-longer fellow purist.

    Another round of ablution and absolution.
     
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