Thorns In The Side or Unappreciated Donors?

“Hackers Welcome” is a refreshing read, at least for the technically inclined.  A great comparison of how different companies treat the discovery of software problems by outsiders – as things to be covered up or as gifts to be appreciated.  Insiders who do the same are either appreciated, suppressed, or out themselves for our benefit – we call them Whistle-blowers.

That kind of stonewalling, enmity and miscommunication has long characterised relations between hackers and software developers, says Jennifer Granick, a cyber-law attorney who represented Lynn in his legal battles…But that attitude is now changing. Software developers are learning that cooperating with hackers is better than ignoring or attacking reports of exploitable holes in software…
Companies, including 3Com’s TippingPoint division and iDefense, offer to buy vulnerabilities from hackers for several thousand dollars apiece, promising to inform the vendor of exploitable flaws.
“Had (Diebold) engaged with us, they’d have a reasonably secure system,” says Felten[Professor, Princeton University]. “Instead, they stonewalled, and look where it got them.”

My only caveat is that the reasoning applies to many people who do not fit the definition of “Hackers”.


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