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YouTube’s Decision to Ban ‘Instructional Hacking’ Videos Upsets Cyber Teachers

Later, YouTube confirmed that Cyber Weapons Lab’s channel was, indeed flagged by mistake, after which the platform reinstated the videos

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FILE - Silhouettes are seen in front of a Youtube logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Oct. 29, 2014. VOA

Computer security teachers are upset over YouTube’s decision to ban instructional tutorials on hacking and phishing from its platform, fearing it could interfere with the training of computer science and security students.

To prevent its users from learning how to bypass secure computer systems, earlier this year YouTube added hacking and phishing tutorials to its examples of banned video content listed under the ‘harmful or dangerous content’ category. However, the platform allows depicting dangerous acts ‘if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific or artistic (EDSA).’

Kody Kinzie, the co-founder of Hacker Interchange, which describes itself as an organization dedicated to teaching beginners about computer science and security highlighted the matter when his institute was unable to upload new videos because of a content strike, The Verge reported on Thursday.

“We made a video about launching fireworks over Wi-Fi for the 4th of July only to find out @YouTube gave us a strike because we teach about hacking, so we can’t upload it,” Kinzie tweeted.

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FILE – Signage is seen inside the YouTube Space LA offices in Los Angeles, California, Oct. 21, 2015. VOA

Noting that not all hacking practices are illegal, Kinzie pointed out that even when the step could prevent some illegal behaviour it is a potentially terrible news for anybody studying computer security – as well as people interested in countering hacking and phishing tricks, the report said.

Later, YouTube confirmed that Cyber Weapons Lab’s channel was, indeed flagged by mistake, after which the platform reinstated the videos.

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“With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. We have an appeals process in place for users and when it’s brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it,” the report quoted a YouTube spokesperson as saying.

The report added that even though YouTube allows such sensitive EDSA videos on its app, it does not offer guidance on how researchers and educators could produce these videos without fear of moderation. (IANS)

Next Story

This new Defence Tool May Help Fool Hackers

The approach aims to solve a major challenge to using artificial intelligence (AI) for cybersecurity

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The approach aims to solve a major challenge to using artificial intelligence (AI) for cybersecurity: a shortage of data needed to train computers to detect intruders. Pixabay

Instead of blocking hackers, the researchers have created a new cybersecurity defence approach, which involves setting traps for hackers.

The method, called DEEP-Dig (DEcEPtion DIGging), ushers intruders into a decoy site so the computer can learn from hackers’ tactics. The information is then used to train the computer to recognise and stop future attacks. DEEP-Dig advances a rapidly growing cybersecurity field known as deception technology, which involves setting traps for hackers.

“There are criminals trying to attack our networks all the time, and normally we view that as a negative thing, instead of blocking them, maybe what we could be doing is viewing these attackers as a source of free labour,” said study researcher Kevin Hamlen from University of Texas in Dallas, US. “They’re providing us data about what malicious attacks look like. It’s a free source of highly prised data,” Hamlen added.

The approach aims to solve a major challenge to using artificial intelligence (AI) for cybersecurity: a shortage of data needed to train computers to detect intruders. The lack of data is due to privacy concerns. Better data will mean better ability to detect attacks, the researchers said.

“We’re using the data from hackers to train the machine to identify an attack, we’re using deception to get better data,” said study researcher Gbadebo Ayoade. Hackers typically begin with their simplest tricks and then use increasingly sophisticated tactics, the researchers said.

But most cyberdefense programmes try to disrupt intruders before anyone can monitor the intruders’ techniques. DEEP-Dig will give researchers a window into hackers’ methods as they enter a decoy site stocked with disinformation.

The decoy site looks legitimate to intruders and attackers will feel they’re successful, said study researcher Latifur Khan. As hackers’ tactics change, DEEP-Dig could help cybersecurity defence systems keep up with their new tricks.

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Instead of blocking hackers, the researchers have created a new cybersecurity defence approach, which involves setting traps for hackers. Pixabay

According to the researchers, while DEEP-Dig aims to outsmart hackers, it might be possible that hackers could have the last laugh if they realise they have entered a decoy site and try to deceive the programme.

“So far, we’ve found this doesn’t work. When an attacker tries to play along, the defence system just learns how hackers try to hide their tracks, it’s an all-win situation — for us, that is,” Hamlen said.

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The study was presented at the annual Computer Security Applications Conference in December in Puerto Rico. (IANS)