Black Hat Reporters Accused of Hacking IT Pubs

hacking wireless LAN

The three journalists, Dominique Jouniot, Marc Brami and Mauro Israel, representing Global Security Magazine, one of the Black Hat sponsors, were kicked out of the conference after being accused of hacking into the public Wi-Fi network set up for reporters covering the event.

While Black Hat sets up the open network, most of the users are warned that their network traffic could be monitored by hackers. Users who access the Web via the conference's wireless LAN, and therefore fail to implement proper security measures at the hacking conference, run the risk of having their information posted for everyone to see on Black Hat's "Wall of Sheep."

The Wall of Sheep is run by volunteers at Black Hat, and is designed to serve as an educational tool and deterrent for users who put their data at risk by running unencrypted information on an open network. However, it is against conference policy to hack into reporters' networks. Journalists are also protected from having their information exposed on the "Wall of Sheep" and are provided with a wired Ethernet connection that is isolated from the rest of the public network and is ostensibly secure.

The journalists allegedly used their own server in the press room to break into network traffic passing through the room's router. Publications that fell victim to the prank included eWeek, which had its passwords intercepted by the hack, as well as The journalists then took some of the usernames and passwords they gleaned from fellow journalists to volunteers manning the "Wall of Sheep."

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Some organizations are conducting an inquiry in order to determine if the Global Security reporters violated any privacy laws with the prank. Exactly how much information the journalists gained from the hack remains undetermined.