I have heard alot of noise lately in the "war of the worlds" about the fact that SpooK allows some discussion of RE here at the community. There are certain people who say that it is nothing more than cracking etc, rather humorous since that person allows discussion of rootkits (used for subverting the Windows Kernel) within his forum.

For myself, I have RE'ed different file formats as well as a few peices of code (for example I once had to RE the XING file format), all perfectly legal and legitimate in order to be able to make best use of the files I own, something I have every right to do. RE in itself is a useful topic and when properly moderated can help us understand some of the complexities of coding.

Some would have you believe that RE in itself is wrong, well that is just throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There are many legitimate applications for RE and though learning them might open up other avenues of research that are not so legitimate, we cannot allow that possibility to deny those who want to use it for legal purposes.

Edgar

Whats your opinion ???
Posted on 2006-05-21 10:36:06 by donkey
the position on this forum has always been one stating that anything that can threaten its existence is not allowed. Unfortunately, due to the various US laws on this matter, this excludes a lot of things from being discussed.

Personally, I have nothing against discussing RE, cracking or in general even vulnerabilities. Information in se is not harmful and even controlled application in ones own environment isn't. In many cases it's the best if not only way to learn. In the past iczelion's forum supported RE and all that, it's just when we got to a real domain (with my name behind it in the register) that I asked to mind such topics.

So yes, it was nothing but self-protection of a personal nature but people have the right to be somewhat selfish. ;)
Posted on 2006-05-21 11:02:13 by Hiroshimator
Well, since I was the last person to edit the rules, I think you know my opinion ;)

If it isn't clear enough, I don't care if people talk about RE here, but as soon as it gets illegal or malicious... that is where the line is drawn. This does add some difficulty in moderation, but I don't think it is beyond our capabilities... nor do I think things are any different than before... just more clearly defined to stand up against the "I didn't know" clause :)

To make a long story short, that certain person is just blowing steam because I made such a *fuss* about the legality of his redistribution of copyrighted software. Attacking this community by taking the our own rules out of context is quite a childish response, though these days that kind of response from him does not surprise me in the least.
Posted on 2006-05-21 11:05:58 by SpooK
People have a tendency to fear the things they do not understand. Have a look at this post at www.DonationCoder.com (I posted it here too, but nobody has commented on it).

I certainly agree with you that there's a LOT of genuinely useful and lawful appliances for reverse engineering. I bugfixed the (abandoned) windows edition of XCOM in order to fix some graphics bugs, for instance. And there's the interop issue as well.

But I'm kinda against RE discussions here. It's hard to know where to draw the line, and while most people with no-good intentions are easy to sniff out, it can be tricky at times. Heck, even discussing software protection on the *protector* side can be difficult, because it involves fringe topics. You need to know what the crackers are doing in able to protect yourself against it.

It's a shame, really, because for software protection research, you have to visit "the enemy". I think there's a lot of software developers who aren't comfortable with and get angered at the tone at places such as Woodmann's forum.

And then there's the whole issue of law and such. I'm not really sure exactly where the DMCA leaves us, but it's not something I'd like to find out the hard way, even though it's not my butt on the line.

I've been on both sides of the protection business, just like most other people doing protection. Armadillo, Aladdin, Asprotect, Sabre Security etc., they all employ people that have a dubious past. Most people tend to 'grow up' and stay on the good-guy side of the line. I broke protections for fun and to learn, and have sometimes mailed the developers with some tips to protect their software better. And there's a couple of shareware applications out there with custom protection designed by me.

Dunno what I'm trying to say (except for "I'm not a badguy? :P), but while I find Reverse Engineering useful (and necessary to make sure big corporations don't backdoor our computers), I don't really think it should be discussed here.
Posted on 2006-05-21 11:16:19 by f0dder
I've read many RE'ing tuts, to date the toughest RE reference seems to be PECOFF.doc. Some say that they never do RE, on the contrary I admit that I enjoyed R'ing .rsrc :)
Posted on 2006-05-21 13:25:12 by ramguru
f0dder I had read your post here and that PDF and found it interesting, even if there were large parts that I didn't understand. The responses on DonationCoder were very interesting- that guy seemed to see red straight away then totally miss the point, and start bringing out trigger words like "pirate". Reminds me of when someone was losing an argument and started saying that anyone who wanted to write smaller code must be a virus writer... As you say, it would have been nice of them to give Skype a heads-up first...

As for RE discussions, I welcome the new slightly-more-lenient rules. I wouldn't like to see the board turn into something like Woodmann's, but some light discussions can't hurt. IMO, the old rules were slightly too restrictive and/or too enthusiastically enforced.
Posted on 2006-05-21 15:03:20 by stormix

As for RE discussions, I welcome the new slightly-more-lenient rules. I wouldn't like to see the board turn into something like Woodmann's, but some light discussions can't hurt. IMO, the old rules were slightly too restrictive and/or too enthusiastically enforced.

It's dangerous though - one thing is staying within the boundaries of the law, another thing is kiddies trying to bend the rules and take it right to the edge. Not to mention the attacks we would get from a certain person.

At least our moderator team here is skilled enough to spot the bad guys and let okay topics through. But I'm still not sure it's a good idea. Sending out wrong signals, opening the floodgates, etc.
Posted on 2006-05-21 15:12:05 by f0dder
Stopping short of openly supporting RE discussion (on the basis of the presumed right to self-educate), and without explicitly encouraging any particular individual in regards to any particular endeavour, I do see a large grey area here.
Therefore I must encourage such discussion.
Let's not damn the innocent (or plain naiive), if for no other reason than,as f0dder implied, MOST of us walk the line at some stage in our coding lives.
I feel our moderator team is big and ugly (and insightful) enough to cope with the handful of would-be bad guys who would no doubt inevitably troll this and other forums in the course of their personal quests.
Let them try pulling that stuff here, I have my whacking stick within easy reach.. and I'd like to think I'm a pretty good judge of character.
Posted on 2006-05-22 01:24:56 by Homer
does as same as the American(the world policeman), they have the two standards to do everything.
Posted on 2006-05-22 03:02:48 by dcskm4200
Want to test the theory?
Posted on 2006-05-22 04:39:39 by Homer
Theory aside, here's the scoop on reverse engineering and the legal issues that govern it in the US and under the DMCA.

http://www.chillingeffects.org/reverse/faq.cgi

Personally, I live in Canada where the law is less draconian and the DMCA is not an issue...

Canada fights off DMCA-like law

http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/epic/internet/incrp-prda.nsf/en/rp01146e.html

A. The protections for TMs contained in this bill will apply consistently with the application of copyright. That is, the circumvention of a TM applied to copyrighted material will only be illegal if it is carried out with the objective of infringing copyright. Legitimate access, as authorized by the Copyright Act, will not be altered. These measures will not affect what may already be done for the purposes of security testing or reverse engineering. Circumvention for the purposes of making private copies of sound recordings will not be permitted, however. The proposals have been developed so as to ensure that Canadians' privacy rights are not reduced or undermined.
Posted on 2006-05-22 13:25:15 by donkey
Well, I'm fairly lenient towards Reverse Engineering in general but RE does not have to be discussed over here. Woodmann is an excellent place for any such discussion and they have very good people watching over the legallity and morality of their peers. And with that thought in mind we should refer some of the greyer topics to woodmann as they also refer some of their whiter topics to us ;)

Occasionally we had some very good discussions on windows internals here and such stuff is as far as I'm concerned definitively allowed.
Posted on 2006-05-22 13:29:37 by JimmyClif
Woodmann's FAQ seems pretty straight forward and legit, and they seem to be more dedicated to moderating that thin RE line, so I have no trouble LINKING that forum from here :)

I would appreciate it if people forward RE based questions there, as they seem more capable of handling it.

Problem solved.

Expect *someone* to make a flaming issue about this too :lol:
Posted on 2006-05-22 18:16:18 by SpooK
Considering how restrictive the laws in the US are, I think that this is a good compromise.
Posted on 2006-05-22 20:10:17 by donkey
In light of this, I think the recent rendition of the Community Rules applies perfectly, as some people actually don't read the rules to begin with (imagine that), and we have to manually deny or redirect people on a per-thread basis.

I just want to make it clear that sending people off to Woodmann's because we simply do not want to deal with them, is absurd and unfair, and it will not happen. It is still our responsibility to filter attempts at RE discussion and forward or deny them respectively (forward legit, deny malicious).

Once again, thanks to the Woodmann Forum Staff for giving us a place to forward legit RE discussions and all the hard work in their, most likely, intense moderation of that forum.

I think we can safely wave the "Status Quo" flag???
Posted on 2006-05-22 20:34:24 by SpooK
Once again, thanks to the Woodmann Forum Staff for giving us a place to forward legit RE discussions and all the hard work in their, most likely, intense moderation of that forum.


You're welcome. ;) And thanks yourself (and of course Hiro), for keeping this great forum alive and running!

And to confirm, yes, welcome to the RCE (Woodmann) board everyone having interesting RE topics on their mind!

http://www.woodmann.com
Posted on 2006-05-23 01:27:03 by dELTA
Expect *someone* to make a flaming issue about this too

about that.
plz got to work.

Edit: I have bad judgement so I snip first and ask later :p
What is it, you're wanting to say anyway dcskm4200? :|

it is a proc about installing client through local net server.
Posted on 2006-05-23 07:36:42 by dcskm4200

Expect *someone* to make a flaming issue about this too

about that.
plz got to work.

Edit: I have bad judgement so I snip first and ask later :p
What is it, you're wanting to say anyway dcskm4200? :|

it is a proc about installing client through local net server.


Consider the most recent events, I don't think he needs me to carry on this, but check out alt.lang.asm if you want any idea of who I am talking about.
Posted on 2006-05-23 13:52:42 by SpooK
I don't think he needs me to carry on this,

In the community, who is the number one?  you or him ?
:shock:
Posted on 2006-05-23 19:48:10 by dcskm4200

I don't think he needs me to carry on this,

In the community, who is the number one?  you or him ?
:shock:


1) Which community?
2) What do you mean by "number 1"?
Posted on 2006-05-23 20:02:01 by SpooK