Perspectives from the L0pht
For nearly a decade, Joe Grand of Grand Idea Studio was a member of the infamous hacker collective known as L0pht Heavy Industries in Boston, Massachusetts. Starting in the early 1990s as a clubhouse for local hackers to store computer equipment, tinker with projects, and just hang out, the L0pht (spelled ell-zero-ph-t) ended up as seven close-knit friends changing the face of computer security vulnerability research and disclosure.
The group would discover security flaws in software applications and hardware products and challenge the vendors to not only acknowledge the problems, but to fix them – a feat practically unheard of at the time. In 1998, they gained public attention testifying before the United States Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and were praised as “modern day Paul Reveres” for their warnings of computer security weaknesses. In an anticlimactic ending in 2000, the L0pht was sold to a security consulting start-up and the original members eventually went their separate ways.
This presentation is a look back at Joe’s experiences growing up in one of the most recognized hacker groups in the world during the burgeoning days of the computer security industry and how the industry has changed, or stayed the same, since then.