For Hackers, Anonymity Was Once Critical. That’s Changing.

A lion’s share of the media attention devoted to hacking is often directed at deeply anonymous hackers like Guccifer 2.0, a shadowy online avatar – alleged to have been controlled by Russian military intelligence officers – that revealed documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Many conceal their real names, instead using only pseudonyms or hacker aliases.

Others alluded to the ways in which a widespread professionalization and gamification of the hacking world – as evidenced by so-called bug bounty programs offered by companies like Facebook and Google, which pay for hackers to hunt for and disclose cybersecurity gaps on their many platforms – have legitimized certain elements of the culture.

Defcon has grown exponentially since its founding in 1993, when Jeff Moss – or, as many of his hacker friends know him, The Dark Tangent, or simply D.T. – gathered about 100 of his hacker friends for a hastily assembled party.

During the dot-com boom, many hackers transitioned to “Real jobs,” he said, “And so they had to have real names, too.”

Such efforts – coupled with the rise in recent years of companies like Bugcrowd and HackerOne, which mediate between hackers and companies interested in testing their online vulnerabilities – have created a broader marketplace for hackers interested in pursuing legitimate forms of compensation.

“Due to the sensitivity of the work done at the L0pht,” Senator Thompson explained in his opening remarks – haltingly, as if for effect – “They’ll be using their hacker names of Mudge, Weld, Brian Oblivion, Kingpin, Space Rogue, Tan and Stefan.” Chuckles echoed through the room.

This article was summarized automatically.

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