In the hacker world, there are white hats, grey hats, and black hats. And it is not always easy to know who is wearing which one. Everybody agrees on who is wearing the black hats: the malicious hackers who break into supposedly secure sites to steal vital data such as credit card information, launch denial-of-service attacks or release destructive viruses. But with the proliferation of e-commerce activity, a new breed of hacker has come along, the self-styled “white hats,” who dedicate themselves to identifying and exploiting flaws in the security features of supposedly impregnable software systems. These self-styled Robin Hoods of the information age have seen themselves as crusaders for public safety, contradicting the corporate world’s assurances that their Web-based commercial enterprises are Fort Knoxes of security. Full Story
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