So said cryptographer Whitfield Diffie Wednesday in his keynote speech opening this year's Black Hat Europe conference in Amsterdam. Diffie, currently VP of information security and cryptography at ICANN, revolutionized cryptography in 1976 by publishing, together with Martin Hellman, a technique for anonymously exchanging public keys, thus laying the foundation for the public key infrastructure which now helps secure the Internet.
Diffie's crime message has obvious upsides for the 400 career information security practitioners, consultants, and analysts who are attending or speaking at this week's conference, given the job-security repercussions. But sociologically speaking, Diffie's observation that good guys can't exist without bad guys also helps explain the rise of--and collective fascination with--cybercriminals and groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec, which while not always engaged in criminal activities, oftentimes have at least skirted the edge of legality.
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