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Re: Re: Re: Re: Boycott O'Reilly

by Wassercrats
on Jan 22, 2004 at 22:56 UTC ( #323354=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: Re: Re: Boycott O'Reilly
in thread Boycott O'Reilly

I don't think the belief that such a book causes more good than harm has anymore basis in fact than my belief. In fact, I believe it has less. Someone, several responses back made a good point about open source/Perl people being more liberal about these things. That's to be expected from them, but there are two sides to the story.

Now that we got passed the "it teaches bad guys/it teaches good guys" stage, lets look at this in some more detail. It's probably true that anti-hacker/cracker/whatever organizations publish stuff that could be used for illegal activity, but you have to compare their audience with that of the book. I won't pretend to know the difference for sure, but there surely is one. The organizations have more reason to be careful about who gets their information (though that's difficult) and to be careful about what information they provide. The book publishers want to sell books.

If such material wasn't published at all, by well meaning organizations or elsewhere, what would happen? Only those with enough brains to learn programming, without being given any security related tips or code, would be able to write new computer cracking software (and protection). Is that good or bad? For crackers, it would create a roadblock. For real programmers, they would have had to learn to program anyway, so it's not as bad.

Several posts back, I think someone said that there is actual code in the book I'm complaining about that could be used for cracking. That means the book removes a roadblock for hackers who want to do harm, and it removes only a smaller roadblock for the good guys. I haven't heard about any code it contains that's meant to prevent cracking.

I guess those anti-hacker organizations are good, but the government also wants to prevent computer break-ins, with even more urgency because their focus is on national security. I don't know what they say about books like these, but I know something about the USA Patriot Act and how the government feels about encryption, and I bet they would be on my side.

God bless America.

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Comment on Re: Re: Re: Re: Boycott O'Reilly
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boycott O'Reilly
by davido (Archbishop) on Jan 22, 2004 at 23:18 UTC
    If such material wasn't published at all, by well meaning organizations or elsewhere, what would happen? Only those with enough brains to learn programming, without being given any security related tips or code, would be able to write new computer cracking software (and protection). Is that good or bad? For crackers, it would create a roadblock. For real programmers, they would have had to learn to program anyway, so it's not as bad.

    In the dark ages, the few fortunate enough to be literate were the recipients of enormous benefit. And everyone else, well, they got screwed. This was a good arrangement (seemingly) for the literate few; they got to have cheap labor and could tell their 'loyal' subjects anything they wanted, claiming it was God's will, quote a few scriptures (which nobody else could read), and their subjects would be compelled through force or fear to follow along.

    But it was a false superiority, for during that time real innovation ground to a halt. It seems that it takes many minds, not just a select few, to turn the wheels of progress for a society. It wasn't until the renaissance that things began to improve, hand in hand with the improvement of the literacy rate. But remember, this came after the moors almost wiped the "keepers of truth" (the Christian literate) from the face of the globe.

    Obscuring knowledge is rarely the key to safety, security, and progress. It is generally a key to power abuse, an impedement to societal progress, and in the end doesn't even really benefit the few in posession of 'literacy'.

    Everything in that book is going to be pretty much common knowledge, readily available either from legitimate sources online, or through illegitimate sources. Either way, the book, as I understand it, is geared toward helping systems administrators and programmers to understand the beast they face, so they may refine their approach to slaying it. Keep books like that off the shelves, and the knowledge won't go away, but the knowledge to protect ourselves from that knowledge might suffer.

    Your points earlier were unsubstantiated, blamed the wrong people, shouldn't have blamed anybody at all, and were too diverse to be effective. O'Reilly isn't the enemy. Knowledge is not our foe.


    Dave

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boycott O'Reilly
by stvn (Monsignor) on Jan 23, 2004 at 01:35 UTC
    If such material wasn't published at all, by well meaning organizations or elsewhere, what would happen? Only those with enough brains to learn programming, without being given any security related tips or code, would be able to write new computer cracking software (and protection). Is that good or bad? For crackers, it would create a roadblock. For real programmers, they would have had to learn to program anyway, so it's not as bad.

    So by this, it seems to me you are saying smarter crackers are a good thing? The point is that the information is out there, neither you nor I can change that. Best to be prepared. Knowledge is power.

    I guess those anti-hacker organizations are good, but the government also wants to prevent computer break-ins, with even more urgency because their focus is on national security. I don't know what they say about books like these, but I know something about the USA Patriot Actand how the government feels about encryption, and I bet they would be on my side.

    The government has long had issues with encryption, and its "export" to other countries, this is nothing new. The Patriot Act may have "strengthened" these positions, but strength does not directly correlate to intelligence. Much of legislation out there which pertains to computers is either outdated before its passed or written from a techno-ignorant point of view.

    The government's attempt to control the dissemination of encryption techniques and algorithms illustrates my point best. If knowing the implementation of an encryption algorithm makes it less secure, then it was never secure in the first place. With a truely secure encryption algorithm, it won't matter if you have the implementation in front of you or not.

    If you want to read about encryption, I wouldn't recommend the Patriot Act, there are far better texts on the subject. For starters, try anything by Bruce Schiener.

    -stvn

    In response to your "God Bless America" comment and concerns for national security. I will leave you with a few words of wisdom from our founding fathers.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
       - Benjamin Franklin

    Ignorant and free has never been and never will be.
       - Thomas Jefferson

    If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
       - George Washington

      You said:
      The government's attempt to control the dissemination of encryption techniques and algorithms illustrates my point best. If knowing the implementation of an encryption algorithm makes it less secure, then it was never secure in the first place.
      I'm not an authority on this, but my impression about the reasoning behind the U.S. ban on "exporting" certain strong encryption methods was that these methods were considered "too strong". The perceived problem was not that America's own encrypted traffic might become compromised, but rather that the U.S. didn't want others using these methods, because then it would be harder for the U.S. to track what others were doing. I could be wrong about that, but it seemed plausible when I first heard the idea.

        Your absolutely right. Thank you for refreshing my memory.

        -stvn
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Boycott O'Reilly
by arden (Curate) on Jan 23, 2004 at 17:20 UTC
    Wassercrats, while I won't seriously tear into you (as so many others have) for expressing your views, I do disagree with you. What I will tear into you about is your use of "God bless America" and "I bet <The US Government> would be on my side" in an attempt to get others to back you. Statements like that are just lame grabs at approval from the nearly brain-dead. It's the equivalent of a four year-old child saying, "unh-huh" when somebody disagrees with the child. Attempting to use our government's (or any government for that matter) view as justification for an intellectual argument is akin to using Wyle E. Coyote to justify something regarding physics.

    If you want to make an argument pro or con, then do it, but use credible, non-biased sources! And while we're at it, don't bring anybody's god(s) into a justification. It just shows poor taste and automatically degrades any argument you might make.

      We both know that the monks who've posted to this thread and -- me just did that as an intellectual exercise. Don't pretend I'm trying to win support that I already have. Previous posts by other monks are just parodys of bad arguments.

      Don't care for God Bless America? How about America the Beautiful?

      Go eat an american cheese sandwich. That will bring you around.

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