Mr. Vixie asked Mr. Kaminsky if he had any intention of fixing. “He said, ‘We will ask all the DNS software manufacturers to coordinate the fix, do it simultaneously and keep it confidential until I present my findings at Black Hat,” he said. Vixie says, referring to an annual hacking conference in Las Vegas.
Mr. Kaminsky, then the director of penetration testing at IOActive, a security firm based in Seattle, developed a close partnership with Microsoft. He and Mr. Vixie persuaded Microsoft to hold a secret conference of senior cybersecurity experts around the world.
“I remember I phoned people and said to them, ‘I don’t have a right to tell you what it is, but there’s this and you’ll need to get on the plane and meet us in this room at Microsoft. Mr. Vixie said.
Over the course of a few days, they worked together to come up with a solution to stealth, one that Mr. Vixie compared to dog feces. But before the threat of dooms on the internet, he recalls that it was the best dog manure “we could think of”.
By the time Mr. Kaminsky took to the stage at Black Hat in August of that year, the site was scrapped. Mr. Kaminsky, who usually wears T-shirts, shorts and flip flops, appeared onstage in the clothes his mother had bought for him. She also asked him to wear snowshoes. He complied – turned around on stage with roller skates.
When the conversation was completed, Mr. Kaminsky was approached by a stranger in the crowd. It was the administrator who removed Mr. Kaminsky from the Internet years earlier. Now, he wants to thank Mr. Kaminsky and ask to be introduced to “the most gentle mother he has ever met”.
Although his DNS fix is Mr. Kaminsky’s most famous contribution to internet security, it is hardly his only contribution. In 2005, after researchers discovered that Sony BMG had secretly installed software on a PC to combat music piracy, Sony executives declined the move. Mr. Kaminsky forced the public to raise the issue after finding out that Sony’s software had infected more than 568,000 computers.