Book Review: Helpful Hackers

by @edent | # #

A locked gate.

The Netherlands is a world leader in responsible disclosure. The Dutch like to resolve conflicts through a process of general consultation: the famous ‘polder model’. In this book, we hear from the hackers, system owners, IT specialists, managers, journalists, politicians and lawyers who have been key players in a number of prominent disclosures. Their stories offer a glimpse into the mysterious world of cyber security, revealing how hackers can help us all.

A short but essential volume. A pleasing ramble through Dutch infosec and how they built up a culture of responsible disclosure. Lots of great examples of where things have gone well – and some shocking examples of where disclosure has failed.

It’s a well written look at what happens when a responsible security researcher finds a vulnerability. There are court cases, intrigue, international diplomacy, and some spectacularly inept decisions on display.

It is, by its nature, a little parochial – but provides an excellent template for how industry can work with “freelance infosec professionals”.

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