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Security by Spectacle: The Invention of Gray Hat Hacking & The Fight Against Microsoft in the 1990s

Security by Spectacle: The Invention of Gray Hat Hacking & The Fight Against Microsoft in the 1990s

This talk will draw on research from “Wearing Many Hats,” a forthcoming Data & Society report authored by Matt Goerzen and Gabriella Coleman. Dr. Coleman describes her talk as follows:

Our report examines the transformative period in which many hackers moved from a vilified underground subculture into a domain of respected professionalism, playing a privileged role in establishing contemporary cybersecurity protocols and agendas.

My talk will concentrate on the ways that a select group of hackers secured their legitimacy by engaging with journalists, popularizing the terminology of gray hat hacking, releasing sensational tools to demonstrate security vulnerabilities, and calling out Microsoft for their shoddy security.

This case study allows us to ask a broader series of questions about security: How are issues nominated as matters of concern? How might those operating outside the security establishment influence the security agenda? What does it mean that a domain so consistently equated with technical matters relies on social processes, like media spectacle and extra-institutional collaboration?

 

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Date
Dec 14, 2021
Time
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ET