Hacker site closes for renovation

Hacked.net's editor says he shut down the site while he gives it a new perspective and an "improved moral center."

Independent hacker Web site Hacked.net went dark Thursday night, leaving the text "FIN: Hacked Net Ver 1.0" as its closing statement.

But Hacked.net's editor and Webmaster, who goes by the code name Mediaeater, promised a revised site will be back after a hiatus of about two months.

Hacked.net, which provided information about security along with news about and an archive of individual hacks, had an unusual genesis. Mediaeater said he was so disappointed by media coverage of the hacking of so-called Spam King Sanford Wallace's Web site that he decided to launch a site devoted to hackers and security.

"Whoever hacked that site must have gone to bed feeling pretty good about himself that night," observed Mediaeater. "I tried to cover it from the hacker's perspective and tried to put the motive in that perspective."

With the recent proliferation of high-profile hacker and "denial of service" attacks that have sent the traditional media scurrying to cover the issue, some may question the editor's timing in temporarily suspending his service.

But Mediaeater said in an interview with CNET's NEWS.COM that he was afraid his site was beginning to inspire young hackers to make mischief, and that getting covered by Hacked.net had become something of a trophy.

"I had the fear that our work could be misconstrued as glorification, or a goal for somebody," he said. "I didn't want to be the motive or the catalyst for a 14-year-old to start hacking into some government or military site as a game while the feds were playing a different game."

Hacked.net 2.0 will have many of the same features but with a different tone, said Root. "It will have a new perspective, a new and improved moral center," he said.

Hacked.net was generating 500,000 to 1 million page turns per week when it signed off, according to Mediaeater. He refused advertising and third-party affiliations to prevent the appearance of editorial bias, he said.

"This was a labor of love," said Mediaeater. "There was no other motivation behind it."

Hacked.net's "hacker's eye perspective" was validated when one of Mediaeater's other sites was hacked several months ago. The intruders didn't do any damage, Mediaeater said, and they even patched a few security holes on their way out.

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