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Censorship Businesses Security The Media Linux

B&N Pulls Linux Format Magazine Over Feature On 'Hacking' 301

Posted by timothy
from the I-miss-borders dept.
New accepted submitter super_rancid writes that issue 154 of the "UK-based Linux Format magazine was pulled from Barnes and Noble bookstores in the U.S. after featuring an article called 'Learn to Hack'. They used 'hack' in the populist security sense, rather than the traditional sense, and the feature — which they put online — was used to illustrate how poor your server's security is likely to be by breaking into it."
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B&N Pulls Linux Format Magazine Over Feature On 'Hacking'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:36AM (#39878947)

    That's because Linux is an OS used predominately by criminals to hack machines. I appluad Barnes and Noble for this responsible reaction.

    • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phrostie (121428) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:57AM (#39879225)

      since they still sell 2600 it'smore likely it has something do do with this:

      http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/04/30/1359214/microsoft-invests-300-million-in-nook-e-readers [slashdot.org]

      big surprise

      • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:13AM (#39879401)
        TFA states it was pulled "after a complaint" (note singular). I have trouble believing this is the only reason. They pulled all of them from all of their stores in America? I have trouble believing that a single complaint was the only reason. "Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity," goes the quote, and I think it applies here. If M$ were the reason then they'd pull *all* Linux stuff. Likewise if they wanted to pull every example of "how to do bad things" off their shelves they'd have to take a LOT of books down.
        • TFA states it was pulled "after a complaint" (note singular).

          Likely from a small town in Northwest Washington...

          I have trouble believing this is the only reason. They pulled all of them from all of their stores in America? I have trouble believing that a single complaint was the only reason. "Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity," goes the quote, and I think it applies here.

          True, but that's a whole lot of stupid going on...

      • Re:Good for them! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:12PM (#39879949) Homepage

        I have trouble believing either the reason B&N gave, or your more sinister reason. My counter to both of them is contained in this link:

        http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/linux-hacking?keyword=linux+hacking&store=allproducts [barnesandnoble.com]

        Which shows the result of typing "linux hacking" into the barnesandnoble.com search box. They sell literally dozens of titles on the subject of hacking and Linux, Some of which use the "tinkering with" definition of hacking, and others of which use the "breaking into" definition. I've seen many of these books in the physical stores too. This sounds like some management weenie over reacting to a complaint and little else.

        • Re:Good for them! (Score:4, Informative)

          by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:51PM (#39880277)

          I have trouble believing either the reason B&N gave, or your more sinister reason.

          From the Linux Format website (issue 154):

          Learn to Hack
          Attack Servers, crack passwords, exploit services, beat encryption - everything you need to be evil. (Ben Everard)

          That sounds a little more nefarious than the summary implies.

          • well, the webpage shows better intent:
            "Attack servers, crack passwords, exploit services, beat encryption - everything you need to protect yourself from evil."

            But it amounts to the same thing. This information is out there. You should be learning from it and protecting your information instead of trying to censor it as some sort of apology of crime. Anyone who is interested in "doing evil" and capable enough to do so, will surely find lots of ways they can gather that information online or even f

      • Re:Good for them! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by element-o.p. (939033) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:30PM (#39880077) Homepage
        I was about to mention 2600, as well. WTF? They drop Linux Format because they published an article that tells you how to test your web server's security, but they still sell 2600?
    • They used 'hack' in the populist security sense

      WTF is that?

      To 99% of the world, a hacker is someone who steals your password, your money, puts kiddie porn on your computer and publishes all your email.

      Like it or not, folks doing legitimate security assessments or building custom gadgets, etc. would do well to come up with term other than "Hacker".

      • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:11AM (#39879383)

        they screwed up the meaning not us, why should we come up with a new term because they are computer illiterate.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:23AM (#39879481)

          Exactly!

          I'm a CRACKER not a hacker. Get it right. (No just kidding..... but I should post that on news sites just to see what reaction I get.)

        • by sycodon (149926) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:24AM (#39879491)

          You can't argue with market realities. You can be smart. rebrand yourselves and build that brand in a respectable manner, or you can be a stupid 10 year old and throw a tantrum and still be associated with spammers and thieves.

          Your choice.

        • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:28AM (#39879533)

          Ah, I see you're a Linux Kernel Developer. "I am technically correct, so I don't have to listen about usability."

          Here's an example: swastika. Immediately, you're thinking of 40s era Europe, right?

          The Germans used the swastika for 6 years. It's been around for THOUSANDS of years as a Sanskrit symbol, but you put up one little flag and point at it with your arm and suddenly YOU'RE the bad guy.

          Sycodon is right, a new term has to be coined, and not hat colours.

          • as Shakespeare said A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, it the same thing. changing our name which when used by us is a term of respect, would changing our name change what we are? we are still the same, unfortunately the negative connotation that the outside world has for us would fallow to the new name mostly because we are an under valued hated but necessary part of the modern world. without us the world around us would slow to a halt because it is all built off of computers and networks only

        • Being self-righteous about it wont prevent people from misunderstanding you. You have two options:

          * Deal with it
          * Be snooty about it, and continue to wonder why people get the wrong idea when you say "hacker"

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by element-o.p. (939033)

          ...why should we come up with a new term because they are computer illiterate.

          Because you don't want the computer illiterate to confuse you with someone who is doing something illegal?

          Language changes; you can change with it, or you can be frustrated all the time because people misunderstand the term you choose to use to describe yourself.

      • Agreed. Ninety-nine percent is a bit high, but my dictionary and others say that it means to break into a computer illegally. The AP Stylebook, which governs most media coverage, says the term "hacker" "has evolved to mean one who uses computer skills to unlawfully penetrate proprietary computer systems."

        Since the meaning of "hack" has evolved, or at the very least is evolving into this negative sense, automated computer systems flag it.

        Maybe the magazine can contact a live person. Or find a different word

        • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:52AM (#39879829)

          AP Styleguide? One set of idiot reporters telling another set of reporters how to speak about technology the 1st set does not understand. Talk about the blind leading the blind.

          • True, but since the goal of language is to facilitate communication, you would be wise to understand how most other people use the word. Face it, who is Joe Consumer going to listen to -- you, or CNN? If that is how the word is being portrayed in the media, you and I have the proverbial snowball's chance of changing the public's perception of that word.
          • by khr (708262)

            At one time a "computer" was a person. But that word has evolved as well...

      • by Imrik (148191)

        My interpretation is that they used 'hack' the same way you do rather than the traditional sense meaning something more like building custom gadgets.

      • Hacking riding a horse for pleasure

        I'm going hacking = I am going horse riding

        Depends on the context and who you are speaking to what it means ...

    • Considering that their eBook reader runs a version of it...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:36AM (#39878953)

    Odds are that Linux Format magazine is about to see an increase in circulation.

  • But... but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by klocwerk (48514) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:36AM (#39878961) Homepage

    Say what?
    I used to pick up my copies of 2600 at a local B&N years ago...
    Sad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:36AM (#39878967)

    With a title like "Learn to Hack" you're expecting instructions about chopping up things like bodies, not about poor server security.

  • And yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alranor (472986) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:37AM (#39878971)

    They'll happily stock martial arts magazines, full of special features about new and exciting ways to hurt people.

    • by mykroft42 (831331)
      Heck they even stock 2600 which is essentially a whole magazine of such articles.
    • They don't care if you hurt people, or even if you do it publicly.... But hacking into my server could cause me to LOSE MONEY, and B&N just won't stand for that.

      Alternatively, the solution is simple: Let's all go visit Barnes and noble today and ask them for that particular issue. When they see how much MONEY they could be making by selling it, they may change their tune.
  • by GryMor (88799)

    That is really odd, as my local B&N was still carrying 2600 last time I was in, and there are similar articles in every issue.

  • US$300M effect? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbernardo (1014507) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:38AM (#39878991)

    Could it be that the buyout of B&N by Microsoft has produced the first victim?

    Or just a "unfortunate coincidence" that the magazine censured over a word is a Linux magazine?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There was no buyout.

      B&N spun off a subsidiary (which doesn't handle this sort of thing) and Microsoft took a minority stake in that subsidiary (so even the subsidiary was not bought out).

    • by tqk (413719)

      Or just a "unfortunate coincidence" that the magazine censured over a word is a Linux magazine?

      I love a good conspiracy theory, but it feels like this has a lot more stupid/dumbth involved (since 2600 is still allowed) than it does evil/malevolence. However, that could just be me.

  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:42AM (#39879069)
    In an age where brick and mortar bookstores are no longer the most economic method to deliver printed matter, and where the needs and desires of consumers can be far more fully met online, needlessly exposing yourself to ridicule and consumer anger is not a good business strategy.
    • The sad thing is that the consumer anger is what caused it - this whole thing is due to a complaint.

      I used to work for a UK bookshop who had a very forward looking view on things - if it wasn't illegal, they'd sell it if there was demand. We had complaints from the local university's Jewish Society about the fact that we sold Mein Kampf, which is not only legal but on several reading lists. The response was a more tactful version of "would you like us to make a big pile and burn them?"

      There's plenty
  • I used to go to Barnes and Noble to buy 2600 Magazine because it was the only place in town that carried it. This was in the Midwestern US in the mid-1990s. I guess times have changed (OK I know times have changed).

  • They missed 2600. The b&st@rds.

    When they pull that, I have -1 reasons to go to B&N. And since they bought my data from Borders and spammed me immediately, I've been a little peeved at them. Now I can explain to the wife how buying books at Amazon isn't hurting the local seller. The local seller is well capable of hurting itself.

  • by Sav1or (2600417)
    So how many different definitions of the word 'hacker' is there now, 1337? Seriously though, I'm sick and tired of all the mystery and ignorance surrounding the subject.
  • I suggest Linux Format Magazine picks up the pace. They should feature a "hacking" article EVERY ISSUE.

    In fact, I'm thinking about going into publishing a HACKING magazine right now. With Blackjack and Hookers....

    2600 magazine rules that niche, but maybe with something like "HACKING" right on the cover, they'd give me lots of free publicity by pulling it.

    BTW: How is it that they carry MAKE magazine? Technically, that's hacking as well...

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:50AM (#39879175)

    less dangerous reading material [barnesandnoble.com] that has hurt no one.

  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:54AM (#39879201)

    Stop being stupid.

    I cut my teeth on articles about "hacking". I've used "hacking" tools going back to the one that got Dan Farmer fired, and before. My interest in security was sparked by downloading an exploit for the Solaris eject command. Download, compile, omg! Root prompt!

    The catch? I did all those things on boxes I was paid to secure. I've never broken into anyone's systems but my own, and I have legitimate rights to do that. Information is information. It's not "good" or "bad". I have a bookshelf full of books, mostly bought in your stores, that could teach you how to "hack" or how to secure systems and networks. Guess what I've been paid to do for going on 20 years?

  • From the 2600 lawsuit? a few years ago B&N was refusing to carry them in the stores, and 2600 sued them, or at least threatened to and they put them back.

  • ...but I am going to get one now.

    Unacceptable... a bookseller doesn't have the right to assert opinion in this manor.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:03AM (#39879295) Homepage Journal

    If, in the 70's they pulled Esquire Magazine for carrying the article "Secrets of the Little Blue Box", an article that described phone phreaking.

    This inspired Steve Jobs to convince friend Woz to design and build Blue boxes, which eventually lead to the founding of Apple... now the biggest company in the world...

    Apple started from hacker/phreaker roots, and inspired by an article published in a magazine. Just imagine the damage they've done to the future by pulling this Magazine.

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:58AM (#39879883)

      This inspired Steve Jobs to convince friend Woz to design and build Blue boxes, which eventually lead to the founding of Apple... now the biggest company in the world...

      Apple started from hacker/phreaker roots, and inspired by an article published in a magazine. Just imagine the damage they've done to the future by pulling this Magazine.

      Actually, Woz built the blue box on his own. Jobs convinced him he could sell it for like $125 or so (it cost $25 to build). But those were really just the prankish college days. To found Apple, Woz had to hock his beloved HP calculator in order to buy the parts necessary to build the Apple 1.

      Jobs and Woz were friends very early on (started in childhood).

      Anyhow, I think the damage caused these days would be far less than in the 70s. Firstly, it seems deadtree is dying in favor of electronic media, and I'm sure anyone who can't find the deadtree can find billions of similar articles online, if not going to the official website and reading it there. In the 70s, magazines were timely and important sources of information. These days, not so much since the Internet is far faster at it.

  • by Petron (1771156) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:03AM (#39879301)
    You can't buy Linux Format because of an article about hacking (which is legal), but you can buy your copy of High Times (full of articles about something illegal under federal law)...
  • by Klync (152475) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:11AM (#39879379)

    That's okay, I'll just head down the street to buy a copy from .... Oh, wait .... I know! I'll just go online and order it off .... Oh, shoot. Hmm, where did all the competition go? Oh well, I guess I'll just read whatever B&N or Amazon recommend for me..... Aaah, Excel For Dummies. Excellent.

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      That's okay, I'll just head down the street to buy a copy from .... Oh, wait .... I know! I'll just go online and order it off .... Oh, shoot. Hmm, where did all the competition go?

      Where it inevitably goes in anything approaching the mythical free and open market - into a steadily decreasing pool of competitors until there is, effectively, no competition. Now shut up and consume from the holy capitalist system like a good citizen.

  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduffNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:17AM (#39879429) Homepage Journal

    Scarne on Cards
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/scarne-on-cards-john-scarn/1104279175?ean=9780451167651 [barnesandnoble.com]

    Teaches you how to cheat at card games.

    Originally produced for the US Army during WW2, it was designed to reveal methods of cheating so a soldier could tell when he was being cheated, just like the Linux Format article.

    Understanding bad people is not the same as being a bad person; ignorance is neither power nor protection.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:26AM (#39879507) Homepage

    They used 'hack' in the populist security sense, rather than the traditional sense

    Where does everybody get the sense that back in the day we didn't use the word for both of those things?

    In 1988, a hack was used to describe a clever tweak of something to do something new, social engineering, and security intrusions. And, as far as I know, had been used in those ways for some time.

    I've simply never gotten this whole "it's crack not hack" stuff, because it feels like we're changing after the fact how the word was actually used in practice. But when I was in highschool in the mid 80s, hacker was the only word we used -- 'cracker' came later.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      I agree, the cracker vs. hacker debate is pointless. In my book, a hacker is somebody who figures out how to do stuff, not based on what was intended, but rather what is possible. It may be for good or ill, which is a subjective matter in the eye of the beholder.
    • by Sperbels (1008585)

      But when I was in highschool in the mid 80s, hacker was the only word we used -- 'cracker' came later.

      When I was in jr high and high school (mid 80's to early 90's)...and I BBSed a lot...a hacker was someone who gained unauthorized access to a computer. Cracking was used to describe people who circumvented copy protection.

      • by Sperbels (1008585)
        I was an avid user of script kiddie BBSes. We had an acronym to describe the kind of BBSes that specialized in this stuff. HPAVC
        H = Hacking (breaking into networks)
        P = Phreaking (hacking the phone system)
        A = Anarchy (text files on bomb making)
        V = Viruses (virus sources)
        C = Cracking (defeating copy protection)

        At least this is how we classified these things.
  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:30AM (#39879571) Homepage

    If so, does that mean they are responsible for the content of the other 499 magazines + 20000 books in their store?

    By the way, did any store ban The New Republic when they published a possibly pedophilic article [firstthings.com] 17 years ago? Or the National Review when they continued to publish what may be seen as racist articles into this decade? I don't know if they did, just wondering.

  • by jsh1972 (1095519) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:54AM (#39879841)
    Is your son obsessed with "Lunix"? BSD, Lunix, Debian and Mandrake are all versions of an illegal hacker operation system, invented by a Soviet computer hacker named Linyos Torovoltos, before the Russians lost the Cold War. It is based on a program called "xenix", which was written by Microsoft for the US government. These programs are used by hackers to break into other people's computer systems to steal credit card numbers. They may also be used to break into people's stereos to steal their music, using the "mp3" program. Torovoltos is a notorious hacker, responsible for writing many hacker programs, such as "telnet", which is used by hackers to connect to machines on the internet without using a telephone. Your son may try to install "lunix" on your hard drive. If he is careful, you may not notice its presence, however, lunix is a capricious beast, and if handled incorrectly, your son may damage your computer, and even break it completely by deleting Windows, at which point you will have to have your computer repaired by a professional. If you see the word "LILO" during your windows startup (just after you turn the machine on), your son has installed lunix. In order to get rid of it, you will have to send your computer back to the manufacturer, and have them fit a new hard drive. Lunix is extremely dangerous software, and cannot be removed without destroying part of your hard disk surface.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @12:50PM (#39880271)

    What's a bookstore?

Possessions increase to fill the space available for their storage. -- Ryan

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