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simple trick, and I was just a script kiddie

Keren Elazari 60
back then, but to me, that trick, it felt like
Hackers: The Internets this, like I had discovered limitless
potential at my fingertips. This is the rush
Immune System of power that hackers feel. It's geeks just
65 like me discovering they have access to
5 Four years ago, a security researcher, or, superpower, one that requires the skill and
as most people would call it, a tenacity of their intellect, but thankfully no
hacker, found a way to literally make radioactive spiders.
ATMs throw money at him. His name was
Barnaby Jack, and this technique was 70 3:20
10 later called "jackpotting" in his honor.

But with great power comes great


0:33 responsibility, and you all like to think that
if we had such powers, we would only use
I'm here today because I think we actually 75 them for good. But what if you could read
15 need hackers. Barnaby Jack could have your ex's emails, or add a couple zeros to
easily turned into a career criminal or your bank account. What would you do
James Bond villain with his knowledge, but then? Indeed, many hackers do not
he chose to show the world his research resist those temptations, and so they are
instead. He believed that sometimes you 80 responsible in one way or another to
20 have to demo a threat to spark a
billions of dollars lost each year to fraud,
solution. And I feel the same way. That's malware or plain old identity theft, which is
why I'm here today. a serious issue. But there are other
hackers, hackers who just like to break
1:03 85 things, and it is precisely those
25
hackers that can find the weaker elements
We are often terrified and fascinated by in our world and make us fix it.
the power hackers now have. They scare
us. But the choices they make have 4:06
dramatic outcomes that influence us 90
30 all. So I am here today because I think we
This is what happened last year when
need hackers, and in fact, they just might another security researcher called Kyle
be the immune system for the information Lovett discovered a gaping hole in the
age. Sometimes they make us sick, but design of certain wireless routers like you
they also find those hidden threats in our 95 might have in your home or office. He
35 world, and they make us fix it.
learned that anyone could remotely
connect to these devices over the
1:40 Internet and download documents from
hard drives attached to those routers, no
I knew that I might get hacked for giving 100 password needed. He reported it to the
40 this talk, so let me save you the effort. In company, of course, but they ignored his
true TED fashion, here is my most report. Perhaps they thought universal
embarrassing picture. But it would be access was a feature, not a bug, until two
difficult for you to find me in it, because I'm months ago when a group of hackers used
the one who looks like a boy standing to 105 it to get into people's files. But they didn't
45 the side. I was such a nerd back then that
steal anything. They left a note: Your
even the boys on the Dungeons and router and your documents can be
Dragons team wouldn't let me join. This is accessed by anyone in the world. Here's
who I was, but this is who I wanted to be: what you should do to fix it. We hope we
Angelina Jolie. She portrayed Acid Burn in 110 helped. By getting into people's files like
50 the '95 film "Hackers." She was pretty and
that, yeah, they broke the law, but they
she could rollerblade, but being a hacker, also forced that company to fix their
that made her powerful. And I wanted to product.
be just like her, so I started spending a lot
of time on hacker chat rooms and online 115 5:07
55 forums. I remember one late night I found
a bit of PHP code. I didn't really know what Making vulnerabilities known to the
it did, but I copy-pasted it and used it public is a practice called full disclosure in
anyway to get into a password-protected the hacker community, and it is
site like that. Open Sesame. It was a
controversial, but it does make me think of subculture dedicated to sharing silly
how hackers have an evolving effect on pictures of funny cats and Internet trolling
technologies we use every day. This is campaigns. Their moment of
what Khalil did. Khalil is a Palestinian transformation was in early 2008 when the
5 hacker from the West Bank, and he found 65 Church of Scientology attempted to
a serious privacy flaw on Facebook which remove certain leaked videos from
he attempted to report through the appearing on certain websites. This is
company's bug bounty program. These when Anonymous was forged out of the
are usually great arrangements for seemingly random collection of Internet
10 companies to reward hackers disclosing 70 dwellers. It turns out, the Internet doesn't
vulnerabilities they find in their like it when you try to remove things from
code. Unfortunately, due to some it, and it will react with cyber attacks and
miscommunications, his report was not elaborate pranks and with a series of
acknowledged. Frustrated with the organized protests all around the
15 exchange, he took to use his own 75 world, from my hometown of Tel Aviv to
discovery to post on Mark Zuckerberg's Adelaide, Australia. This proved that
wall. This got their attention, all right, and Anonymous and this idea can rally the
they fixed the bug, but because he hadn't masses from the keyboards to the
reported it properly, he was denied the streets, and it laid the foundations for
20 bounty usually paid out for such 80 dozens of future operations against
discoveries. Thankfully for Khalil, a group perceived injustices to their online and
of hackers were watching out for him. In offline world. Since then, they've gone
fact, they raised more than 13,000 after many targets. They've uncovered
dollars to reward him for this corruption, abuse. They've hacked popes
25 discovery, raising a vital discussion in the 85 and politicians, and I think their effect is
technology industry about how we come larger than simple denial of service
up with incentives for hackers to do the attacks that take down websites or even
right thing. But I think there's a greater leak sensitive documents. I think that, like
story here still. Even companies founded Robin Hood, they are in the business of
30 by hackers, like Facebook was, still have a 90 redistribution, but what they are after isn't
complicated relationship when it comes to your money. It's not your documents. It's
hackers. And so for more conservative your attention. They grab the spotlight for
organizations, it is going to take time and causes they support, forcing us to take
adapting in order to embrace hacker note, acting as a global magnifying
35 culture and the creative chaos that it 95 glass for issues that we are not as aware
brings with it. But I think it's worth the of but perhaps we should be. They have
effort, because the alternative, to blindly been called many names from criminals to
fight all hackers, is to go against the power terrorists, and I cannot justify their illegal
you cannot control at the cost of stifling means, but the ideas they fight for are
40 innovation and regulating 100 ones that matter to us all. The reality
knowledge. These are things that will is, hackers can do a lot more than break
come back and bite you. things. They can bring people together.

7:17 10:14
45 105
It is even more true if we go after And if the Internet doesn't like it when you
hackers that are willing to risk their own try to remove things from it, just watch
freedom for ideals like the freedom of the what happens when you try to shut the
web, especially in times like this, like today Internet down. This took place in Egypt in
50 even, as governments and corporates fight 110 January 2011, and as President Hosni
to control the Internet. I find it Mubarak attempted a desperate move to
astounding that someone from the quash the rising revolution on the streets
shadowy corners of cyberspace can of Cairo, he sent his personal troops down
become its voice of opposition, its last line to Egypt's Internet service providers and
55 of defense even, perhaps someone like 115 had them physically kill the switch on the
Anonymous, the leading brand of global country's connection to the world
hacktivism. This universal hacker overnight. For a government to do a thing
movement needs no introduction like that was unprecedented, and for
today, but six years ago they were not hackers, it made it personal. Hackers like
60 much more than an Internet 120 the Telecomix group were already active
on the ground, helping Egyptians bypass setting up all-you-can-eat surveillance
censorship using clever workarounds like programs, a thing they need hackers for,
Morse code and ham radio. It was high by the way. And so the establishment has
season for low tech, which the government long had a love-hate relationship when it
5 couldn't block, but when the Net went 65 comes to hackers, because the same
completely down, Telecomix brought in the people who demonize hacking also utilize
big guns. They found European service it at large.
providers that still had 20-year-old analog
dial-up access infrastructure. They opened 14:06
10 up 300 of those lines for Egyptians to 70
use, serving slow but sweet Internet Two years ago, I saw General Keith
connection for Egyptians. This worked. It Alexander. He's the NSA director and U.S.
worked so well, in fact, one guy even used cyber commander, but instead of his four
it to download an episode of "How I Met star general uniform, he was wearing
15 Your Mother." But while Egypt's future is 75 jeans and a t-shirt. This was at DEF
still uncertain, when the same thing CON, the world's largest hacker
happened in Syria just one year conference. Perhaps like me, General
later, Telecomix were prepared with those Alexander didn't see 12,000 criminals that
Internet lines, and Anonymous, they were day in Vegas. I think he saw untapped
20 perhaps the first international group to 80 potential. In fact, he was there to give a
officially denounce the actions of the hiring pitch. "In this room right here," he
Syrian military by defacing their website. said, "is the talent our nation needs." Well,
hackers in the back row replied, "Then
12:06 stop arresting us." (Applause)
25 85
But with this sort of power, it really 14:52
depends on where you stand, because
one man's hero can be another's Indeed, for years, hackers have been on
villain, and so the Syrian Electronic the wrong side of the fence, but in light of
30 Army is a pro-Assad group of hackers who 90 what we know now, who is more watchful
support his contentious regime. They've of our online world? The rules of the game
taken down multiple high-profile targets in are not that clear anymore, but hackers
the past few years, including the are perhaps the only ones still capable of
Associated Press's Twitter account, in challenging overreaching
35 which they posted a message about an 95 governments and data-hoarding
attack on the White House injuring corporates on their own playing field. To
President Obama. This tweet was fake, of me, that represents hope.
course, but the resulting drop in the Dow
Jones index that day was most certainly 15:22
40 not, and a lot of people lost a lot of money. 100
For the past three decades, hackers have
12:53 done a lot of things, but they have also
impacted civil liberties, innovation and
This sort of thing is happening all over the Internet freedom, so I think it's time we
45 world right now. In conflicts from the 105 take a good look at how we choose to
Crimean Peninsula to Latin America, from portray them, because if we keep
Europe to the United States, hackers are a expecting them to be the bad guys, how
force for social, political and military can they be the heroes too? My years in
influence. As individuals or in the hacker world have made me
50 groups, volunteers or military 110 realize both the problem and the beauty
conflicts, there are hackers everywhere. about hackers: They just can't see
They come from all walks of something broken in the world and leave it
life, ethnicities, ideologies and genders, I be. They are compelled to either exploit it
might add. They are now shaping the or try and change it, and so they find the
55 world's stage. Hackers represent an 115 vulnerable aspects in our rapidly changing
exceptional force for change in the 21st world. They make us, they force us to fix
century. This is because access to things or demand something better, and I
information is a critical currency of think we need them to do just that,
power, one which governments would like because after all, it is not information that
60 to control, a thing they attempt to do by 120 wants to be free, it's us.