The Top 10 White-Hat Hacks

By Jordan Robertson - 2014-07-23T01:49:30Z

Photograph by Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg

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Rage Against the Router

For white-hat hackers, the fastest path to fame is to have a major technology company threaten a lawsuit over their research.

Michael Lynn achieved instant celebrity in 2005 when Cisco Systems, the world's biggest maker of network routers and switches, tried to stop a presentation he planned to give on software vulnerabilities that would allow hackers to take over Cisco products. Cisco ordered workers to rip 20 pages out of the Black Hat security conference program and destroy 2,000 CDs containing the presentation.

Lynn quit his employer, which he said pressured him to censor the talk, and gave the presentation anyway, becoming a hacker hero.

Cisco Chief Security Officer John Stewart said later that the company went too far in trying to protect its customers and had some "atonement" to do. Cisco has been a major sponsor of Black Hat since the incident.

Read the special report on cybersecurity.