scott shapiro wants to teach the world how to hack. An expert in legal philosophy and founding director of the Yale University Cybersecurity Laboratory, his day job is to provide cutting-edge teaching to Yale law students about how the online world works and how to keep it safe.
He believes that we can only tackle cybercrime effectively if we understand not just how people hack, but also why. In his new book Fancy Bear does phishing explores true stories from the front lines of cybercrime, from the hacker known as the Dark Avenger who wrote the first mutant computer virus to the teenager who hacked into Paris Hilton’s phone because he wanted to be famous. The book’s title is derived from the exploits of Fancy Bear, a group working for Russian military intelligence that hacked into the US Democratic Party’s governing body during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Shapiro talks to new scientist about what we can learn from hackers, why you want teach the world how to hack in a free online course and how close you came to committing a cybercrime.
David Adam: You teach people how to hack. Because?
Scott Shapiro: I think it’s very difficult for people to understand how hacking works when it’s described in the abstract. It’s a bit like explaining how to do woodworking through a description: you can read the words, but you don’t really understand what’s going on. If you teach people how to hack, they can understand in a much more intuitive way not only how it works, but also how to protect themselves against hackers.
Is it difficult to learn to hack? …