Black Hat security conference turned into a bit controversy as 3 French security magazine journalists were expelled from the conference. The journalists were kicked out because they allegedly wrapped the username and password of other reporters from the press room computer network. Interestingly all three were from the Global Security Mag, which was the media sponsor of the conference.
The three Frenchmen were Dominique Jouniot, Mauro Israel & Marc Brami. According to CNET News, the prior two couldn’t be reached for any comment while the director of the magazine, Marc Brami, said that Mauro was responsible for the ‘incident’ and explained it as a ‘joke’.
Furthermore he said that Mauro is a security professional and he infrequently blogs and sniffs in network as a prank, and he didn’t know what he was upto and when he came to know about it, it was too late.
It was a big mistake.
(Mauro) said it was a joke and that he didn’t think it was important.
The badges of the Frenchmen were confiscated and they were asked to leave the conference. On his ban, Brami said:
It’s not good for my magazine, but also it is not so good for Black Hat…maybe they lost a good supporter. For us, it was like a joke.
The men were seen grouped up at a table in the press rooms for most of the day. They also went to the Wall of Sheep (which is a project that examines the network activity), and asked the organizers to allegedly display the journalists’ username and password which they refused.
TD Daily reporter took the snap of their screens and published it in a blog. Have a look at the snaps published at TD Daily:
Image Source: TD Daily
CNET News was among the sufferers but they said that their username and password was not correct but it was a different story with eWeek.
According to the Black Hat representative, when the journalists were asked why they did so, they said that they wanted to educate the people about privacy dangers while using public internet connections.
Senior staff attorney of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Kurt Opsahl, said:
As a general rule, capturing the content of communications without the consent of any of the parties is illegal.
It’s important to have press come here and be able to communicate securely with their home offices.
It’s just not good manners to try and crack into the press network.
The journalists were also banned from Defcon, the sister conference of Black Hat. Such attacks are regularly seen at both conferences.