|=-----------------------------=[ Judgment Day ]=-----------------------------=|
|=-------------------------=[ Free Hackers Manifest ]=------------------------=|

               Free Hackers versus "Ethical-Corporate-Hackers"

In respect  with  the  spirit  of  the  manifest  Authors  will  remain  forever
anonymous.  The  manifest  is  offered  to  the   community   under   the   Free
Documentation License (FDL) [http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html].

--[ Contents

0 - Facts

1 - Accused, to whom the crime profits
1.1 - Software Vendors
1.2 - Security Service Firms
1.3 - Fallacious "hackers"

2 - Defendants, the rights at stake
2.1 - User Land, hear my cry
2.2 - Hacker Space, free as in freedom

3 - Indictment

4 - Verdict

5 - Reference

--[0 - Facts 

Some will share, others will keep gems to themselves.

We are judge to none.

Today some wish to force the ones that shares, not to,  for  it  depreciate  the
value of greed.

We will defend freedom, and fight  to  preserve  the  open-space,  that  air  we

-What happened ?-

Once upon a time many of those "Chief  Technologists/Hacking  Officers"  of  the
flourishing security industry were just a bunch of young  pranksters  eager  for

And the pranksters collected into groups lurking on  some  computing  specifics:
hacking. Many good things arose from those groups, sweets for the brain.

And the groups got respect, for their findings came atop a pyramid of  knowledge
that every one helped build. Recognition by peers,  ultimately  being  called  a
"hacker", was the highest retribution.

And the kids went to high school to get an MBA,  get  a  car,  get  a  job,  get
money, try to make an aggressive buy-up on that pyramid, trade it  for  a  buck.
In the same course raise of communication and Internet growth  had  Corporations
began to fear those strange pizza-cola eaters:  The  corporate  knowledge,  they
called "trade secrets", they did not want to trade with hackers - at all.

Secret  service  has a  saying:  "kiss  the  hand  you  couldn't  cut",  and  so
corporations cunningly inflated pizzas with money,  and  some  "old  school-full
disclosure-non profit hackers" turned  to  security  firms  belly  dancing  with
software vendors.


Some started regulating with "disclosure policies" [1] [2], their publishing  of
knowledge. Not yet "Non-Disclosure Agreements" though, but a step  forward  into
the semantics. And called it "ethic" ... toward whom ?

-The unthinkable happened-

In a more radical move a bunch tried to -how funny- hack IETF  and  push  for  a
generic disclosure policy [3].  Can  you  see  that  -how  strange-  Microsoft's
employee in the " Aknowledgement " section of the document  ?  All  bullets  for
the underground, all benefits for the corporate. No commitments to  the  people.
Thankfully IETF reacted strongly, the draft is no more, for now [4].

-A putsch from above-

Helped in that by what once was the "elite", a - pretending - general  agreement
emerged to restrict hacking publications  without  "ethical"  peer  review  [5].
They want to moderate your mind, the newsgroups, the  mailing  lists,  all  main
vectors for public information not in accordance with strong  content  but  with
disclosure policies compliance. Legislation is on  its  way  too.  Can  you  say
lobbying ? Can you see the ten villains ?

This will not go through.

--[1 - Accused, to whom the crime profits 

   --[1.1 - Software Vendors 
Side note: In trying to sell  you  hype  some  uses  confusion  of  terms.  Very
simple psychology: sell shit and  call it a rose -or- say the rose  is  made  of
shit. It's amazing how many people calls  free  software  programmers  "Software
Vendors". Don't get confused, one of them is not asking for money.

Here's a trade secret: out of a 100 found software  vulnerabilities  almost  100
will initially  come  from  end  users  experiencing  a  bug,  and  passing  the
information around (also count disgruntled ex-employees passing code around).

There was a time when information couldn't flow, and as an end  user  you  would
have to pay to get a patch. Software Vendors are really longing this time.

How does "software insurance" smells to you ?

-So they want hackers to adopt "disclosure policies"-

The most candid argument is in warning the vendor will help  to  get  the  patch
out before the vulnerability hurts. Everyday experience  proves  this  to  be  a
nonsense, because systems  are  actively  exploited  LONG  before  any  kind  of
announcement [6], because vendors can sit for months on an unpublished bug [7].

The reasons why vendors are pushing for "d.p." is ... well more down to earth:

Without vulnerability  announcements, products looks more secure: it  helps  the

Working hand in hand with "ethical hackers" increases  the  credibility  of  the
vendor: it helps the sales.

Forcing vulnerability authors to help vendors [3] allow them to benefit  from  a
free task force: it helps to cut down the costs.

Asking for a delay between discovery and disclosure lets vendors  have  a  happy
face in front of the press. Good press helps the sales.

At last, knowing  who  authors  the  advisories  helps  vendors  for  more  spin

   --[1.2 - Security Service Firms 

You can get software for intrusion  detection,  penetration  tests,  firewalling
(etc ..) for free [8].

You can read from the Internet all necessary documents on security,  and  become
an expert yourself.

Security Service Firms sells consultancy services and security  software.  Where
does the competitive advantage  stands  ?  Mainly  in  the  level  of  expertise
between you and them. Would it help those firms sales to restrict public  access
to "valuable" piece of information ?

It helps their sales to have access to early releases of security issues  before
you do.

It helps to cut down their costs to have the free community research those  bugs
for them.

So they want the community to submit all  findings  to  a  central  intelligence
that would sell early release of information to security  firms,  whom  in  turn
sells you pattern updates for their tools and try  to  discredit  free  projects
[9]. Already, they are reports of big gaps between the sending of some  advisory
to a well known security mailing list and the time it finally get published.

To discourage you from publishing information or to try access  it  those  firms
will work with governments  to  rule  it  illegal.  Saying  its  military  grade
secrets [10]. Which also fits political agenda  to  protect  interests  of  "big
business", and further control any free speech that  could  modify  the  current
balance of power.

To force you into buying consultancy you will see those firms soon working  hand
in hand with insurance companies that require "independent an professional  peer
review" of you entire computing infrastructure. As we know audit  firms  reports
are the most qualified and trustworthy items one could find.

Then, what if running a software would require it to be "tested  and  approved",
as well as the hardware [11] ?

   --[1.3 - Fallacious "hackers" 

Granted social engineering is part of hacking, you would be surprised  how  many
renown "Ethical Hacker" have so poor coding skills.

The truth is they take credit for code anonymous writes, or  better  even,  they
say how bad they manage to exploit a bug but they won't  publish  for  "ethical"
reasons. The truth is that ruling it  illegal  to  release  exploits  fits  them
perfectly, so they can still have you think they are "hackers" when  they  can't
make the difference between a shell code and some ASCII art.

On a larger scale its the very understanding of what a  "hacker"  is  that  gets
compromised. Until recently you would be called a "hacker"  by  peer  review  of
your work, retribution by recognition of an intellectual elite. In the avail  of
[3], a "hacker" would not be a skilled individual but someone respectful of  the
"ethical" rules, accredited by security firms.

--[2 - Defendants, the rights at stake 

   --[2.1 - User Land, hear my cry 
User rights is mostly unheard in the security world.

Everyone must have a  rightful  access  to  information  to  protect  themselves
against vulnerabilities and patch their systems in time.

Curiously security firms breaks their own disclosure policies when the  affected
software is free software [12] [13]. What does that two-face  attitude  means  ?
Early release in the event of free software (even before a patch is  available),
moderated information when money is engaged.

Without a warning, users are in a false sense of security.

When someone finds a bugs the only certainty is that the bug exists for as  long
as the software was  initially  released.  As  security  firms  recognize  [14],
underground exploits exists before  any  users  hear  publicly  about  the  bug.
Keeping a vulnerability private is just an open door to crackers.

Ironically crackers can even be tough  new  tricks  by  the  "Ethical  Hackers",
granted they spawn a few thousands bucks for the exclusives [15].

   --[2.2 - Hacker Space, free as in freedom 

Hacking is a kind of science, and as such should be  discussed  on  its  logical
basis by anyone  that  wish  to  participate  where  ever  anonymously  or  not.
Discovering a vulnerability should not imply obligations of  any  kind  for  the
discoverer - except publishing it,  as  an  engagement  towards  the  scientific

Hackers need anonymity for his own  personal  security  -  We've  seen  to  many
people in trouble with secret service  and  justice  for  publishing  scientific
facts, see the DeCSS case [16] or the Russian e-book hacker [17].

Also, some disclosure policies makes it compulsory for  the  bug  discoverer  to
help  vendors  in  reproducing  and/or  solving  the  bug.  This  is  just   not
acceptable, discovering a vulnerability should follow military  rule:  fire  and
forget. It's not a hacker's job to solve the issue,  he's  not  responsible  for
the existence of the bug in the first place.

--[3 - Indictment 

Free hacking is in danger, not directly by an opposing force, not in a  struggle
of power, but by ex-hackers that have turn their face from scientific  curiosity
into greed. The very ones that took part in  building  the  foundations  of  our
common knowledge, want to steal our dreams and wrap it in a shiny paper.

The many ways in which they try to enforce control  upon  free  hackers  may  be
found throughout the reading of their "disclosure policies", that includes:

- The infamous "30 days delay" between informing a software vendor of a bug  and
the public at large -

This is ridiculous and should be a  mere  "30  days  delay"  after  the  initial
release of the software before anything gets  published  simultaneously  to  all
possible audience, because any bug could have been discovered and  exploited  at
any time since then.

- Removal of exploit codes -

Users need to check if  their  systems  are  vulnerable:  software  and  version
numbers as included in announcement are not enough, a check is  mandatory  since
software programmers often re-use the same code between various  software  [18].
Hence, between bug announcement and proof of  concept  code  release  one  could
choose for -no more than- a week delay.

- Multi-level moderation -

Usual media used for hacking discussion should never be moderated  nor  censored
for anything else than accuracy. Would the information flow come to a  stop,  be
prepared to wide open your wallet, because  those  would  be  the  time  of  the
mediocre tyranny.

Would some try to enforce their  "disclosure"  rules  upon  all,  a  new  hacker
network has to arise, totally free. For this  purpose  we  prepare,  and  invite
free hackers to join in the manifest below.

--[4 - Verdict 

                           --- Free Hackers Manifest ---

(1) Licensing

This  Manifest  is  published  under  the  Free  Documentation   License   (FDL)
(http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html),  any  publication  made  explicitly   in
respect with the terms hereby will also follow the FDL.

(2) Freedom

The author of a published document  has  the  right  to  remain  anonymous,  and
protect  himself  from  further  prosecution  or  pressure  of  any  kind.   His
communication should be regarded as a scientific work and treated as such.

(3) Respect of others

The minimum amount of time before a software bug is published can not exceed  30
days after the initial software release, in respect  of  users  protection  whom
systems are already exposed. Past the 30 days  delay  of  the  initial  software
release a security bug must be published as soon as possible.

A delay between  the  bug  announcement  and  the  proof  of  concept  code  (if
available  at  the  time)  must  not  exceed  1  week  for  users  to  test  the
vulnerability of their systems.

Although announcement will be made by all means possible, Free  Hackers  freedom
must be ensured at all times and as such some mediums of information might  just
be not suitable (as taking contact with vendors directly).

The Free Hackers recognize their scientific work was  made  possible  thanks  to
the contribution of many others and will pursue the construction of that  common
knowledge for free. The Free Hackers will not participate in actions  that  goes
against the spirit of this Manifest  (such  as  holding  restricted  details  of
public announcements for private firms).

(4) Dormant network

A dormant network of Free Hackers is to be  built,  for  this  purpose  everyone
that agrees with the spirit of the manifest is  encouraged  to  add  his  e-mail
ROT-13 encoded (to foil spammers) below with the  ones  already  there,  and  to
show     the     document     on     his/her     web     site      as     u.r.l.

Anonymous Free Hackers that wish to support the Manifest are encouraged to do so
by having their e-mails added by a fellow Free Hacker on his/her web site.

Whenever it will be made clear that traditional means of public information  are
compromised to the  point  the  above  rules  are  systematically  broken  (like
enforcing any kind of disclosure policies, delaying transmission of  information
or retaining technical details), the below  list  of  e-mails  will  be  used to
activate a Free Hacker Network as such:

 (a) Using a web search engine, one will look for every  instance  of
     "Free-Hackers-Manifest.html" were he could easily extract a list
     of Free Hackers e-mail. The web  search  engine  could  help  in
     determining the most pertinent lists as being the most linked to,
     for instance.
 (b) The group will work on releasing a client tool for a peer-to-peer
     network such as the freenet project (http://www.freenet.org), the
     release name for the tool will be
     "Free-Hackers-Manifest-<YYYY/MM/DD>.tgz". The tool will  be  made
     available by a link on the Manifest web page.
     That network will allow for anonymous posting from web based mail
     client and user base moderation on source e-mails  (per  original
     posts and threads).
     It must not be possible for any individual to alter  the  content
     of any message nor block its diffusion to others.
     Spammers will be blocked on the client side, much like  one  does
     it with anti-spam code on his mail client, as  well  restrictions
     could be set on the number of message one individual  is  allowed
     to post per day.
 (c) If a group name is  required  on  that  network  it  will  be  of

(5) ROT-13 e-mail list



--[5 - Reference 

[1] Full Disclosure Policy (RFPolicy) v2.0

[2] Extract from "RFPolicy for vulnerability disclosure",

    > My intent is not to push this policy  onto  the  community.  Everyone  can
    > obviously do  whatever  they  feel  like.  But  *I*  will  be  using  this
    > disclosure policy in all future  security  disclosures,  and  I  encourage
    > anyone  wishing to use or modify it, to do so.

[3] Responsible Vulnerability Disclosure Process,

[4] Bug-reporting standard proposal pulled from IETF

[5] Re: Remote Compromise Vulnerability in Apache HTTP Server
    David Litchfield <david@ngssoftware.com>

[6] Remember when RootShell claimed to be victim from a hack  via  ssh  back  in
    1998,  how  long   before   the   first   advisories   on  SSH  weaknesses ?

[7] Compare CVE assignement dates of
    Also notice the synchronicity  of  assignements dates for different research
    groups, all released under Microsoft the same day.

[8] http://www.nessus.org,     http://www.nmap.org,     http://www.openwall.com,
http://www.snort.org, http://netfilter.samba.org, ...

[9] No pointer  -  but  http://www.nessus.org  was  not  accessible  to  "unfair
    companies", which used nessus to generate a lot of cash, without helping the
    community in any way.

[10] Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA)

[11] Digital rights management operating system

     > A fundamental building block for client-side content security is a secure
     > operating system. If a computer can be  booted  only  into  an  operating
     > system that itself honors  content  rights,  and  allows  only  compliant
     > applications to access rights-restricted data, then data integrity within
     > the machine can be assured. This stepping-stone  to  a  secure  operating
     > system is sometimes  called  "Secure Boot."  If  secure  boot  cannot  be
     > assured, then whatever rights management system the secure  OS  provides,
     > the computer can always be booted into an insecure operating system as  a
     > step to compromise it.

[12] ISS Advisory clarification
     Klaus,  Chris (ISSAtlanta) <CKlaus@iss.net>

[13] ON THE CUTTING EDGE 2001: A Security Odyssey

     > Under the proposal, coalition members would have a 30-day grace period to
     > disclose  vulnerabilities  with  law  enforcement   agencies,  government
     > agencies and their trusted client. In theory,  this  will  give  software
     > vendors a head start in correcting the problem  before  anyone  knows  it 
     > exists.
     > So far, Microsoft has drafted the support of BindView (www.bindview.com),
     > Foundstone   (www.foundstone.com),  Guardent  (www.guardent.com),  @stake
     > (www.atstake.com) and Internet Security Systems (www.iss.net).

[14] Apache HTTP Server Exploit in Circulation

     > ISS X-Force has learned that  a  functional  remote  Apache  HTTP  Server
     > exploit has been released. This exploit may  have  been  in  use  in  the
     > underground for some time.

[15] http://www.blackhat.com/html/bh-usa-01/bh-usa-01-speakers.html

[16] DVD hacker Johansen indicted in Norway

[17] Russian Author of Adobe eBook Password-Removing Software Held Without Bail,
     Faces Possible 5-Year Prison Term

[18] see numerous vulnerabilities announced  after  initial  snmp  bug,  apache,
     or bind.

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