Via: San Diego City Beat
Ask John Matherly if he’s a hacker, and he’ll struggle for a moment with the term.
On one hand, he’s a hacker, in the sense that he’s an innovative programmer, arms deep in the information-security industry. On the other, he’s hypersensitive to how his baby—a project called Shodan—is portrayed in the press. In the past year, it’s surged in notoriety and not just in technology publications, such as Ars Technica and Wired. Shodan’s been the subject of multiple Washington Post investigative features, profiled on Dutch television and name-dropped by Sen. Joe Lieberman both in a statement on the Senate floor and in a New York Times op-ed, in which he characterized the site as a “nefariously named” hacking tool that was becoming more powerful and easier to use each year.
“I’m not doing anything malicious,” Matherly, who lives in Encinitas, says. “I’m trying to be a good citizen on the Internet.”
Simply put, Shodan is a search engine. While Google crawls the Internet looking for websites, Shodan is scanning for devices connected to the Internet and recording information about the software running on those devices. What has the press and security professionals worried is that Shodan has revealed wide-scale holes in Internet safety, from somewhat embarrassing privacy oversights to keep-you-up-at-night vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure.
Imagine a building. Now imagine a private detective checking out the building, snooping around the perimeter, noting what security company’s sticker is on the window, what kind of locks are on the doors, what kind of sprinkler system waters the landscaping, what brand of air conditioner is mounted on the roof, what electric company services the smart meter around the back. Now imagine that investigator does the same thing for every office, every home, every school, every factory, power plant, hospital and football stadium and uploads it to a publicly available database. That’s what Shodan does, but with IP addresses.
It’s almost like an automated way to digitally case every joint in the world.
This could come in handy…
Read more: here