January 17, 2005

Site review: WBGlinks.net

Author: Tina Gasperson

There are a lot of good links to security information at WBGlinks.net, a site whose self-proclaimed mission is to prevent the spread of FUD, because there are just too many "naive people" online and not enough computer security experts.The WBG stands for white hat, black hat, gray hat -- terminology that refers to the level of evil intent in security-related hacking activities. A white hat hacker does all his exploiting in the name of good, laying his discoveries at the feet of the computer security industry in order to make the Internet a safer place for us all. A black hat hacker, on the other hand, "exploit system security breaches for nefarious ends," according to The Word Spy. The gray hat hacker works both sides of the street.

As you might expect of a hacker-oriented site, the owner of WBGlinks.net keeps his identity hidden, but he is very much an open source guy, calling closed source bad and making it known that his site runs on Linux, thank you very much. He calls himself "proficient" with OpenBSD, Linux, Solaris, SunOS, Hurd, FreeBSD, yada, yada, yada, and even Windows Server 2003.

The top news story on a recent day was one titled "Unpatched Linux Stays Secure for Months," from securitypipeline.com. The rest of the headlines were more Windows-related security links.

The really cool parts of this site are the less obvious ones, like the links section. Several of these links are actually pages on the wgblinks.net site, like the History of the Internet, or the article entitled "Improving the Security of Your Site by Breaking Into It," written by Dan Farmer of Sun and Wietse Venema of Eindhoven University of Technology. "The Faces in Front of the Monitors" is a very cool and very thorough pictoral history of information technology that had just been updated when I visited.

Echo also links to other security sites and blogs, as well as important papers on Linux, open source, free software, and security issues. He's also given nods to some BSD, KDE, and GNOME sites. What I'd like to see at WBGlinks.net but didn't is a section devoted to hand-holding for all those naive computer users that Echo kvetches about. Why not develop a step-by-step guide to security for Windows users, and a comparison guide that might tempt them to try Linux once they see how secure it is out of the box and how easy it is to use, even compared to Windows? That would go a long way toward dispelling FUD, Mr. Echo.


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