November 24, 2008 | By Jennifer Granick

A "Grey Hat" Guide for Security Researchers

In counseling computer security researchers, I have found the law to be a real obstacle to solving vulnerabilities. The muddy nature of the laws that regulate computers and code, coupled with a series of abusive lawsuits, gives researchers real reason to worry that they might be sued if they publish their research or go straight to the affected vendor. By reporting the security flaw, the researcher reveals that she may have committed unlawful activity, which might invite a lawsuit or criminal investigation. On the other hand, withholding information means a potentially serious security flaw may go unremedied. I discuss this problem, and offer some ideas about what researchers can do about it, in a new document called "A 'Grey Hat' Guide". Constructive feedback is welcome, as I can use it to improve the paper.

Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

South Africa is planning a cybercrime law that would endanger legitimate security researchers:

Dec 1 @ 10:02am

This #CyberMonday, give the cyber gift of cyber membership with the nonprofit dedicated to your cyber rights:

Nov 30 @ 5:06pm

Pakistan's new electronic crimes bill has been called the worst cyber-crime law in the world. Here's why:

Nov 30 @ 4:39pm
JavaScript license information