Nowadays, the world-wide network, the Internet, is a very popular place for people. Regardless of which interests people might have, they can always find something interesting on the Internet. The Internet has become more and more well-known, and therefore the number of people using it increases all the time. It also gives possibilities for people who have another purpose than just surfing on the Internet. That is where computer hacking comes in to the subject. When people hear the word “hacking”, the first thing they always think of is people breaking into others’ computers and causing damage.
This is correct, because “computer hacking always involves some degree of infringement on the privacy of others or damage to computer-based property such as files, web pages or software” (Stone, 1999). Furthermore, a computer hacker is a person who breaks into others’ computers. A computer hacker is someone who lives and breathes computers, someone who knows all about computers, and who can get a computer to do anything. Equally important, though, is the hacker’s attitude. “Not all hackers break into systems just for the fun of it. Some do it for profit – and some of these are even legitimate” (Cheswick et al. , p. 132).
In other words, computer programming must be a hobby, something done for fun, not just of duty or for the money. According to The New Hacker’s Dictionary on the Internet, a hacker can be defined as: 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly.
An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. 6. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. (Raymond, n. d. ) Before we go on, it is important to distinguish two concepts; hacking and cracking. In the daily round, people use them synonymously. The American guru of hacking, Eric S. Raymond, defined in his book about hacking that “hackers build things, crackers break them” (Interhack, 2000). Hackers test computer systems to decide how secure they are. Crackers, on the other hand, break into secure systems just to see if they can do it.
There is a clear distinction between these two motivations. One is honorable, valuable and legal. The other one is not. In this essay, I am going to debate whether computer hacking is always negative or not. Are there any situations where hacking is acceptable? The answer may vary from person to person and from situation to situation. Why is hacking so wrong and unacceptable?
First of all, hacking breaks the right to private property and personal life. Everyone’s computer contains sensitive and personal data, and of course the owners do not wish to let anyone hacks into their computers and gets entrance to all of these personal data. According to the Norwegian newspaper on the Internet, VG, there was a 20 year old boy who hacked into the Internet bank which belongs to a bank in Denmark, Nordea. He installed a remote control software on the customer’s computer, then steered into this computer and tricked the customer out of 25. 000 Norwegian Kroners (NOK) by the remote control.
The police have charged this hacker with computer crime (vg. no A, 2004). Secondly, hacking can cause both enormous and serious damage. For example, a computer system that has been hacked might not only get important data destroyed, but also loss of economic resources. It can even damage the world economy. According to VG, a new computer virus was found in January 2004.
This computer virus was called `Mydoom’, also known as `Novarg’. This virus has spread rapidly via the Internet all around the world’s computers, disguised as a normal email with an error message which tells you that a message from one of your contacts does not show as usual (vg. no B, 2004). Besides, it is more unacceptable and gloomy when a hacker breaks into big and government computer systems to companies and organizations and provides with extremely important information. This is maybe why hacking is seen as an unethical, wrong and criminal action in many countries, for instance in the United States and some countries in Europe and Scandinavia. People who get caught for hacking can risk imprisonment for life with large penalties and also be defined as terrorists (vg. no, 2001). Finally, computer hackers exploit human weakness.
According to the book “The Art of Deception”, the American super hacker, Kevin D. Mitnick, stated, “Somebody who uses deception, influence, and persuasion against business, usually targeting their information, belongs to the other sub-specialty, the social engineer. ” (Mitnick, p. xii). In other words, hackers are more depending on social skills than technological insights. “The Art of Deception” is about that hackers do not need to use for hours on breaking the password protection to get into the computer systems.
The only thing they need to do is, for example, to pass oneself off as a co-worker for a company and fool a valid username and password easily (Mitnick, 2002). This is definitely a weakness of humans, because we are trained to be helpful. Just because of our helpfulness, the computer hackers use their social charm on exploiting us. “The Art of Deception” gives many examples on hacking techniques, but all of them are fictitious stories by Mitnick. This book is meant to be a facility for security experts for defending themselves against hackers. Below, there is a scenario from “The Art of Deception”, which shows one relevant example of how hackers exploit people: “Janie Acton had been manning a cubicle as a customer service rep for Hometown Electric Power, in Washington, D. C. , for just over three years. She was considered to be one of the better clerks, smart and conscientious.
It was Thanksgiving week when this one particular call came in. the caller said, “This is Eduardo in the Billing Department. I’ve got a lady on hold, she’s a secretary in the executive offices that works for one of the vice presidents, and she’s asking for some information and I can’t use my computer. I got an email from this girl in Human Resources that said `ILOVEYOU,’ and when I opened the attachment, I couldn’t use my machine any more. A virus. I got caught by a stupid virus. Anyways, could you look up some customer information for me? ” “Sure,” Janie answered. “It crashed your computer? That’s terrible. “