Security by Spectacle: The Invention of Gray Hat Hacking & The Fight Against Microsoft in the 1990s
This talk will introduce “Wearing Many Hats,” a new Data & Society report authored by Matt Goerzen and Gabriella Coleman. Dr. Coleman describes their 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.
Their 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 work was underwritten by a controversial approach to security known as “full disclosure.” Proponents argued that the publicization of sensitive security issues was essential to motivating corporate accountability.
In conversation with the Shorenstein Center’s Brian Friedberg, the authors will explore these case studies’ contemporary significance: How are security 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? How does spectacle function in relation to a broader range of security challenges implied by technologies like AI and social media today?
- Matt Goerzen, Gabriella Coleman, Hacking Security
- Joyce S. Lee, Access Denied
- Hack_Curio, anti-security (videos/commentary)