Packetstorm rides again

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Defcon09: One of the most valuable security resources on the Web has returned in force following its second near-death experience. Packetstorm, we're pleased to say, is back up on a new domain from which it will be operated on a not-for-profit basis.

The site contains a broad variety of security tools, bulletins and other resources, and maintains perhaps the richest archive of live exploit code ever collected. It's served the more serious breed of security researcher as well as the lowest form of malicious kiddiot equally and without prejudice.

That take-no-prisoners sort of full-disclosure is a double-edged sword for which Packet makes no apology, and shouldn't. While similar organizations maintain closed or semi-closed archives, and so discriminate in favor of those they deem to be serious researchers, Packet has always shied away from sitting in judgment.

The site came down for the first time in the Summer of 1999, while Packet was hosted at Harvard University, after Antionline busybody John "JP" Vranesevich complained to the school's administration, citing a bizarre list of Packet's criminal activities, including death threats directed at himself.

If anyone imagined Harvard had been hosting the site out of some enlightened devotion to full disclosure and the free exchange of information (i.e., according to its PR screed), they were quickly educated in modern-day academic damage control. The school caved in at the first whiff of a lawsuit and its attendant headlines in mainstream papers along such indefensible lines as, "Harvard hosts hacker stuff on behalf of murderers".

Later, Packet found safe harbor with security outfit Securify, which maintained the site in hopes of one day turning a profit. That, of course, never happened, and Securify recently cut the site loose, though according to the Packet crew, the decision was entirely economic and in no way personal.

The site will now be maintained as it should, as a hobby site along the lines of Attrition, beholden to no one but its admins, and guided by their collective judgment.

About time, eh? ®

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