‘We’re firefighters for victims of armed conflict’ – Hackers Without Borders co-founder on NGO’s timely arrival

‘We had NGOs for press, medical staff, and mental health issues, but not for cyber-attack victims’

Hackers Without Borders co-founder discusses the NGOs timely arrival

INTERVIEW A trailblazing humanitarian group launched last month as Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border. What followed has made its existence all the more necessary.

Hackers Without Borders (HWB) is a Paris-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that is offering emergency infosec assistance to other NGOs and providers of critical services.

Like its fellow French NGO and semi-namesake Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), the group emphasizes its neutrality when helping victims of armed conflict.

Staffed by volunteer hackers and infosec experts, the organization will, free of charge, help individuals or organizations handle the fallout of cyber-attacks, protect them from further assaults, and bolster their cyber-resilience.

“We have NGOs for press, for medical staff, and mental health issues, but not for protecting and helping the victims of cyber-attacks,” HWB co-founder Florent Curtet tells The Daily Swig.

“We hope to change this by creating an NGO that’s run by cybersecurity experts, who can provide security assistance to those in need.”

Curtet, a web security specialist who has previously pen-tested systems for Interpol, the UN, and the French Ministry of Armed Forces, is one of four co-founders with a range of expertise.

The others include Pierre-Marie Léoutre, a crypto-security expert and former threat intelligence specialist at the Gendarmerie Nationale; Karim Lamouri, a multilingual IT director for a Parisian suburb and security consultancy CEO; and Clément Domingo, an ethical hacker, capture-the-flag (CTF) competition founder and participant, and digital privacy campaigner.

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Red Cross attack

The quartet decided to form HWB after being angered by the recent cyber-attack against the International Committee of the Red Cross that exposed information belonging to over half a million “highly vulnerable” people.

On February 4, just over two weeks later, HWB launched with the…