Enjoy the interview!
Hi Claudio, you are one of the most popular white hat hacker, you are known for your amazing efforts in researchers for the protection of civil rights, could you tell me more about which his your technical background and when you started hacking?
I started fiddling with computers at an early age, and after some years of finding my way around dial-up Internet, I landed on now defunct hacking sites and e-zines at around 15 years old. At at a time when security wasn’t really a career path quite yet, I started exploring all different disciplines of hacking and computer security, got into my fair share of troubles, and ended up focusing on malware analysis and reverse engineering.
Some IT giants are advertising their “Privacy enabling services,” but many experts speculate that truth is quite different. These companies are still making business with governments and users’ data is a valuable bargaining chip. What is your opinion?
When it comes to corporations, it’s always hard to distinguish true intentions from marketing stunts. We all know they are driven by profit and that existing business models are generally corrosive to users privacy. However, I don’t want to generalize. These are complex technical and economic problems, and they need to be analyzed and discussed with care.
What about the militarization of the cyberspace?
I’m very concerned about that, and while it has been obviously underway, I think we’ll see the true effects of it when military leaderships will be taken over by younger generations who have a deeper understanding of Internet and technology. What I really don’t condone is the sabotaging of core Internet infrastructure as we know for example the NSA has been doing (and I’m sure others have too) for the purpose of control. The Internet is looking less and less like a free and democratic platform, and more like a landmine field you need to really carefully walk through. That’s really saddening.
The number of companies offering “Cyber Warfare services” is increasing. What does it mean and which is the impact on end-users?
It is obvious that it is a growing market, with increased investments and larger budgets chipped in by military and intelligence services. I’m concerned that we’re moving towards a direction where the investment (not only financial, but intellectual, and in research) in intrusive technologies will outpace the commitment to build better and more secure systems.
I’m a common Internet user that is asking you how to protect my privacy? Which are the tools that I can use to avoid monitoring and surveillance on the Internet?
There are so many threats to shield against these days, that it is becoming increasingly hard to give any concise answer to this question.
Some things are becoming easier, thanks for example to projects like Signal and Tor Browser, but many other issues are much more subtle and harder to understand and protect against. I guess I would recommend starting from resources like EFF’s Surveillance Self-Defense.
What scares you more in the internet?
Money. It dictates corrosive business models, and influences the course of technological development, and generally not for the better. But I’m mostly scared that money and some illusionary fame has forever changed what hacking once was. I’m scared that young people getting into the field are growing into it exclusively with the prospect of a lucrative career, and are not getting exposed anymore to the beauty and importance of doing things for the good, for the community, and for everyone to enjoy. Blinking boxes and hacking for marketing aren’t everything after all.
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(Security Affairs – surveillance, hacker)