Qeyser sighs and muses, "Where to begin . . ."

Antionline.com is a popular internet security information web site owned and operated by John Vranesevich since 1993, when John was still in high school. After gaining immense popularity in the late 1990's, Antionline.com the website has been spun into a variety of services, such as a database of hacks and exploits and John's own private (and ostensibly very profitable) security company.

I will try restrain my opinions on all of these matters, but I would be remiss if I did not mention that the site and its founder have come under criticism from a great deal of the hacker/computer security community of late:

Antionline is a favorite topic of flames, parodies and satires. One particular satire site located at http://packetstorm.harvard.edu was shut down after Vranesevich sent a stern and, some suggest, vaguely litigious letter to Harvard University. Unfortunately, this site was also host to PacketStorm, a highly respectable and popular security information site. To say that many PacketStorm users were upset is an understatement.

Vranesevich has also come under fire from the operators of another highly respected security site, Attrition.org. They accuse him of and offer convincing evidence of several wrongdoings, such as funding and instigating high-profile web site break-ins in order to be the first to report them. They also allege that his site is rife with FUD, sensationalism, misinformation and bad journalism. (Attrition.org and Antionline.com both keep relatively full records of these accusations and both explain their own sides of the story.)

Despite its troubles, Antionline remains a profitable business -- and despite being a lightning rod of ill-will in the hacker/computer security community, the site has resisted malicious break-ins fairly well during its existence. Vranesevich has also weathered his troubles and become one of the most recognized computer security experts in the mainstream media, appearing in hundreds of print and on-line publications -- as well as a maintaining a client base that includes prominent politicians and several government agencies.

(And, to be fair, on the flip side I must mention that critics have accused Vranesevich of being a little too eager to take the media spotlight, as well as the fact that Vranesevich himself has admitted that he might be under investigation by some of the Three Letter Agencies that he occasionally works for.)