Hackers delay censorship-busting software

A group of hackers has delayed introducing its planned Web software, which is meant to allow users evade government censorship of the Internet. The delayed project, code-named "Peekabooty," was originally scheduled for launch next month at the hackers' convention Def Con, the group Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC) said in an e-mail message to journalists.

Peekabooty still needs to be fine-tuned in order to ensure user safety, wrote the hacker known as Oxblood Ruffian, who is identified as CDC's "Foreign Minister." It would be irresponsible to release the program in its current state, he continued.

"My main concern is that Peekabooty needs to function with a higher degree of stealth and mitigate client risk as much as possible. In plain English, we don't want our users to attract the thought police because Peekabooty is operating promiscuously," Oxblood Ruffian wrote.

CDC is best known for its Trojan horse program Back Orifice, which allows hackers to gain unauthorized remote access to PCs running Microsoft's Windows 95 or Windows 98 operating systems.

In December, CDC said the government of the United Arab Emirates had blocked access to the hacker group's Web site, after press reports revealed the censorship-busting project, then code-named "Project X."

CDC said it will demonstrate the current version of Peekabooty at Def Con, which takes place on July 13 to 15 in Las Vegas, for "selected journalists and opinion leaders, mostly to avoid any charges of vaporware."

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