Scott writes: I'm submitting my own story on an important topic: Is it illegal to discover a vulnerability on a Web site? No one knows yet but Eric McCarty's pleading guilty to hacking USC's web site was "terrible and detrimental" to tech lawyer Jennifer Granick, who believes the law needs to be at least clarified, if not changed to protect those who find flaws in production Web sites as opposed to those who "exploit" production Web sites. Of course, the owners of sites often don't see the distinction between the two. Regardless of whether or not it's illegal to disclose Web vulnerabilities, it's certainly problematic, and perhaps a fool's errand. After all, have you seen how easy it is to find XSS flaws in Web sites? In fact, the Web is challenging the very definition of vulnerability and some researchers are scared. As one researcher in the story says:
"I'm intimidated by the possible consequences to my career, bank account and sanity. I agree with [noted security researcher] H.D. Moore, as far as production websites are concerned: 'There is no way to report a vulnerability safely.'"
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I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few
simple heuristics you have to remember...
Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.