Issues: The media’s guide to talking to hackers

HNN published an article called “A hacker’s guide to talking to the media”. It was received with different opinions around the scene (I remember it referred to as “a hackers guide to talking to your local newspaper”) but what people failed to grasp at that point was the importance of the attempt to educate the hax0rs on relations with the media. Wether you like it or not, especially in this scene, what one person says WILL affect us all.

Last night a Dutch self-proclaimed “security expert” appeared in a television show to talk on the subject of hackers. This appearance was much hyped up on forehand, getting the attention of media around the world. The actual “performance” however did not embody much more than him hanging over his laptop and every once and a while making a remark about the security of sites as if he was hacking the planet as he spoke. Regardless wether there was truth in his claims or not, it served not much more than delivering yet another blow to the already quite dented image of hackers around the world.

Looking back at the “guide to talking to the media”, the idea was good. However it lacked an important aspect. Where 2 parties are involved, 2 parties should be informed. In regards to “hackers”, a world where we know that making name is a lot more important than being correct to some, it’s probably even more important to inform the other party, the media.

” As with any type of reporting, outrageous claims should be questioned, verified, questioned again and confirmed prior to going to press. If you don’t understand the technology then find someone who does. While this may seem like it is direct from Journalism 101 it is amazing how often this does not happen and inaccurate or just plain wrong information gets put on the air or in print.” – Space Rogue, The Difficulty of Reporting the Underground.

Above is very unfortunate, but also very true. The media IS our way to the larger public however. And they are the real ones who need to be educated. It’s not completely fair to accuse the media of screwing “us” over all the time either though. Let’s face it, “we” (as a scene in general) brought it on to ourselves. Of course with the help of a few “experts” who just couldn’t help themselves (let alone others :), but we should look at it as the responsibility of us all now.

Hackers should take the initiative to clear their image. It’s clear nobody else will, because the position we’re in is pretty damn good for their ratings. And amongst the underground, there will always be people willing to make money for them in this way.

“.. stand up and speak out on the abuse of media types who will only create chaos if negative publicity continues to hamper all of the effort and time many have spent creating a safer internet, an internet much more useable and efficient than it would be if us “Hackers” were not present.” – Sil, Stop the bashing.

Inform the media, inform the scene. It’s a fragile relationship, this hackers-media thing. It’s easy to shift it in extreme directions if you start talking about hacking into one of the biggest financial institutions of the world or moving around satellites. “Thirst is nothing, image is everything” sort of speak. Presentation is the word. And IF yet someone else messes that up, take charge. Inform the concerned media (even though their reaction may be refusing or non-existant), inform each other. Because what it comes down to is that “As long as ‘hackers’ keep prostituting themselves in this matter, the media will never take the time to get better informed and provide their viewers with more accurate information.”

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