Expert highlights threat of journalist hackers

Hacks get into hacking... er not ZDNet hacks...

A Linux security expert says there is evidence that unscrupulous journalists have turned to hacking computer systems in order to win exclusive news stories.

At a tutorial on computer security at the LinuxWorld Expo in New York, this week Michael H. Warfield said that he and fellow researchers at Internet Security Systems (ISS) believe members of the press are part of a growing lesser-known threat to modern computer security.

Discussing the likely personalities behind computer hacking, Warfield mentioned the usual suspects: criminals, black hat hackers, Web page graffiti artists etc. Interestingly he added: "The press have even been known to try to get inside information by nefarious means."

In a tutorial entitled 'Linux security for the system', Warfield said Internet security consultants should not just be concerned about the stereotypical spotty-faced teenage computer hacker, but a whole range of unlikely computer delinquents to whom information is a valued commodity.

Although Warfield could not give a specific example of a journalist indulging in an illegal hack, and he admitted that most of his evidence is second-hand, he believes that certain factions of the press have taken to computer crime in the quest for fresh news.

Warfield says: "I'm not so worried about the threat of hackers who are just doing it out of technical interest or for the reputation. Industrial espionage is far more concerning."

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