Friday, February 17, 2012

Hacking and risk creation

Perhaps I'm a bit dumb, but didn't Facebook create the risk by building a bad system, and this dude showed the world that they had a bad system?

Mr Mangham's defence lawyer Tom Ventham had said his client was an ethical hacker who had a "high moral stance" and Yahoo had "rewarded" him for pointing out its vulnerabilities previously.

. . . .

Passing sentence, Judge Alistair McCreath told Mangham his actions were not harmless and had "real consequences and very serious potential consequences" for Facebook.

"You and others who are tempted to act as you did really must understand how serious this is," he said.

"The creation of that risk, the extent of that risk and the cost of putting it right mean at the end of it all I'm afraid a prison sentence is inevitable."

Yeah, I understand the consequences. Facebook writes crap code that lets the world access their data. Some guy points this out to them that they have a problem on their hands. Said guy gets prosecuted for pointing out that the emperor is without clothing.

A translation to a non-technological realm might be: Jimbo Motor Company makes a car that has a minor tendency to blow up when you're on the highway. A mechanic decides to check the car out and finds the problem. When he reports the problem, he goes to jail, because it could hurt sales of the car. Now I agree that it's not a fair comparison. But it's not so untrue either.

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