ICCS 2019: AG Barr criticises strong encryption, European experiment offers teen hackers second chance

News by Robert Abel

Hack Right programme aims at identifying and employing the skills of young hackers in community service

US Attorney General William P. Barr criticised what he described as "warrant proof" encryption at the International Conference on Cybersecurity (ICCS 2019) this week, while European law enforcement announced a plan to help young hackers. 

During his keynote address, Barr called strong encryption a threat to public safety while pushing for the need to "retain society’s ability to gain lawful access to data and communications when needed to respond to criminal activity".

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Fordham University host the conference which is held every eighteen months as an opportunity for global leaders in cyberthreat analysis, operations, research, and law enforcement to coordinate their efforts to create a more secure world.

Researchers also announced at the conference a legal intervention campaign to be run in the UK and the Netherlands designed to help first-time offenders accused of committing cybercrimes. The programme is called "Hack_Right" and is aimed at people between 12 and 23 years old who may be skirting the law from behind their keyboard and not even realise it.

Rather than face legal consequences, the program pushes first time offenders into a community service that consists of 10 to 20 hours of ethical computer training and introduces them to professional mentors to explain possible career paths and educational opportunities based on interests. 

Any opportunity to guide vulnerable young hackers ways in which they can use their skills for good must be welcomed, Ben Sadeghipourhead of hacker operations at HackerOne told SC Media UK.

"I think the best way to educate the younger generation to do the right thing is to show them the benefits of being a white hat, since now you can get the same fame, notoriety, and money as black hats used to, without the risk of going to prison," he said.  

This article was originally published on SC Media US.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Video and interviews