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Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/1/2008
07:45 AM
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New Reality TV Show Pits Hackers Vs. Nature

Britney to host series that challenges hackers to create exploits -- without tools

Imagine a hacker marooned on an island with no laptop, iPhone, Metasploit, or technology, period. That’s the premise of a new reality TV series debuting later this month that challenges hackers to find the island’s vulnerabilities that they can then exploit to execute an escape.

“It’s a cross between Gilligan’s Island, Survivor, and Jon and Kate Plus 8," says former vice president and presidential candidate Al Gore, the creator and producer of the new FOX series, called Natural Hacker. "Pitting hacker against nature could be the first step in the greening of the Internet."

Britney Spears, on the heels of a reunion with her former manager Larry Rudolph and her miraculously speedy recovery from a personal data breach and psychiatric treatment, will host the new hacker reality series. "I’m, like, scary good at exploiting cross-site scripting vulns, so I was totally psyched when the network asked me to host," Spears says. "Yo, it's gonna get crazy when they gotta do stuff without the Net!" (See Curiosity Over Britney Kills Careers of 13 Cats.)

Hacker contestants will have little more than the island's natural resources and the clothes (and accessories) on their backs to find a way home to their fuzzers, handhelds, and Red Bull. The first season of Natural Hacker will feature some well known hackers such as HD Moore, David Maynor, and some other yet-to-be revealed hackers, plus hackers from Romania and Russia who aren’t as well known to the U.S. TV audience. One of the contestants, who goes only by the handle "rbnpwn," has already begun trash talking via some clever pop-up taunts.

But that hasn’t rattled the nerves of U.S. contestants. "I hear Britney wanted to take me to the prom, so I’m eager to meet her," says renowned researcher HD Moore, whose rock star hacker image precedes him. (See You Can Quote Me on That.)

Moore already has a few hacks in mind for his harrowing escape from the island. "The first thing I would need is metal for wiring -- the obvious choice would be the dental fillings, piercings, and surgical rods from my island-mates. A sharp wooden spear and a heavy rock would do the trick,” says Moore (really).

Maynor, meanwhile, says his strategy will be to create a 0-day exploit that has something to do with salvaging the island’s only source of beer (and something about a bikini). Even if he didn’t survive the cliff-hanging challenge, he says, he would at least meet a noble ending.

Natural Hacker premieres April 31 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and 10:00 p.m. Pacific on FOX.

—(April Fool's!) Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor/Fool for April, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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