A member of a notorious German hacking group is standing for election to the board of the management body of the internet, with plans to improve the security of the net.
Andy Mueller-Maguhn, spokesman of the Chaos Computing Club, is one of seven candidates from Europe hoping to be elected to the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann). He is emerging as the surprise favourite with 2866 endorsements - more than any other candidate worldwide.
The election, which will take place between 1 October and 10 October, will be decided by an online ballot of the 76,000 Icann members who have registered to vote.
If successful, Mueller-Maguhn will take his seat alongside internet heavyweights such as Esther Dyson and executives from IT suppliers on the board of Icann.
The internet management body is involved in the overall technical management of the net, including functions such as the definition and supervision of the domain name system, and the unique assignment of IP addresses and protocol parameters, such as port numbers.
Neil Barrett, technical director at security consultants Information Risk Management, said the Chaos Club is well known as one of the first organisations to expose flaws in software used within online banking. He added that members of the group were ethical hackers.
"Having someone from the Chaos Club on the board of Icann will shake it up, because technically they're excellent. The more people high up in the internet who understand how ecommerce works and what the problems are, the better," said Barrett.
In February 1997, members of the Chaos Club in Hamburg found a way to siphon money from millions of bank accounts simply by releasing rogue software on to the internet. But instead of sending the code out to work, the hackers chose to show it off live on German television.
The Chaos Club software was built using Microsoft's ActiveX internet technology, and the demonstration forced the software giant to warn: "There is no way to guarantee safety on the internet."
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