NSA revelations could hurt collaboration with "betrayed" hackers

Though hackers tend to be anti-establishment by nature, the NSA and other intelligence agencies had made major inroads in recent years in hiring some of the best and brightest, and paying for information on software flaws that help them gain access to target computers and phones.

Much of that goodwill has been erased after the NSA’s classified programs to monitor phone records and Internet activity were exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, according to prominent hackers and cyber experts.

A turn in the community’s sentiment was on show at two major security conventions in Las Vegas this week: Black Hat, which attracts more established cyber professionals, and Def Con, which gets a larger gathering of younger, more independent hackers.

“We’ve gone backwards about 10 years in the relations between the good guys and the U.S. government,” said Alex Stamos, a veteran security researcher who was to give a Def Con talk on Saturday on the need to revisit industry ethics.