WSLabi founder returns to the fray

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Roberto Preatoni, strategic director at WSLabi, a public marketplace for security exploits, has returned to the company following his arrest in a corporate espionage case..

Preatoni announced his return in a blog posting, in which he attempted to explain the circumstances of his November arrest in Italy on charges of spying on executives at Brasil Telecom.

"Probably, nobody will ever be able to picture [the case] completely right," Preatoni wrote.

"It's a case involving 100 arrested people, the Italian Secret Services, the US Secret Services, some Italian corrupted police and financial police officers, some Italian and US investigation companies, a multi-billionaire struggle between Telecom Italia and Brasil Telecom, an extraordinary rendition (kidnapping) of a presumed Islamic terrorist, and last but not least, the suicide (but many say murder) of a Telecom Italia Security top manager."

Prior to his arrest, Preatoni had been a respected security researcher and was one of the founders of the controversial WSLabi project.

The company launched the first ever open marketplace for security vulnerabilities and triggered a heated debate in the security community over the way vulnerabilities are reported and handled.

In November, Preatoni was arrested along with a number of other members of the 'Tiger Team' security testing project at Telecom Italia. Several members of the team were accused of spying on executives from rival firms.

Preatoni was released a few days after the arrest, but decided not to return immediately to the company for fear of bringing negative publicity. At the urging of his peers, however, the researcher made his decision to return to WSLabi.

"I will stay and continue to put pressure to security lobbies," he wrote. " Things must change. Researchers and their discoveries should be considered beneficial to the whole security cycle."

Preatoni vowed that the company would soon announce a major partnership, and remained light-hearted about the experience.

"At least next time I meet [former hacker] Kevin Mitnick at TJI Friday's I'll have something to say and not only to ask," he wrote.
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