Saturday, June 13, 2009

How is your security research being used?

I've removed this blog entry, because since I first posted it, I now feel that the post is naive. The summary of the rant was that concerns about social justice should be considered in addition to typical legal and nationalistic concerns, especially when it comes to offensive security research. But the devil is in the details, and the more I researched the topic the murkier the waters got. Suffice it to say that I will carefully consider where any work that I do ends up - I do not want it to be used to facilitate cybercrime (such as public exploits ending in exploit kits that then rob Grandma of her credit card) nor do I want my work to go towards organizations that I consider to be unethical and immoral, even if selected authorities within such organizations would have us look the other way at their historical and ongoing abuses of power. People who get their technical jollies regardless of the consequences of how their work is used should be informed by a larger sense of ethics and responsibility to the world. Yes, rainbows and unicorns and world peace and an end to world hunger and greed and all that. I'm not holding my breath, however I know where my own moral compass is.


  1. Catch me in person at Defcon... we can take the discussion where it belongs -- over drinks! Though I freely admit to cheating as mine won't be alcoholic... ;-)

  2. interesting thoughts, i'm going to stand firmly in the middle.

    some thoughts I had as I was reading.

    with global politics and offensiveness the way it is, if i choose not to contribute does my not helping the U.S. protect itself because of my ethics put myself, family or country in more danger? is this the equivalent to being a conscientious objector?

    for good or bad, times of war and i guess now cyberwar give us lots of possible "gray area"

  3. Jordan - I'm up for that. I may just drink water :)

    CG - I would enjoy discussing this topic with you in more depth. Indeed, there is a lot of gray area in this topic, and I think there is a great variance in circumstances that are going to shift ones actions. As I said in the post, I believe in self-defense and if helping the US (or any other country that one may live in, for that matter) is actually that and not actions undertaken to cover some corrupt politicians butt, then that puts a new light on the matter.

  4. The idea is to create a stream "of first- and second-generation Americans", to "meet the emerging needs of the intelligence community," by preparing them for the increasing number of careers in intelligence agencies...