The series of article so far have tried to familiarize you with the fundamental concepts of security and the consequences resulting from security lapses. Today, I try to go into the restricted realms of computer security by discussing what is generally considered as a taboo by common people. Yes, I am talking aboutHacking.
The term “hacking” in the 1980’s became a buzzword in the media which was taken to be derogatory and which by misuse and overuse was attached to any form of socially non-acceptable computing activity outside of polite society. Within this context “hackers” were assumed to be the fringe society of the computing fraternity, mainly characterized as “youngsters” who did not know any better and who had obtained access to a technology with which they terrorized the world of communications and computing. To be tagged as a “hacker” was to portray a person as member of a less than acceptable group of near criminals whose activities were not be to be undertaken by the upright citizenry.
This was not the view of educated and knowledgeable computer or security professionals. This was the work of the media that created the existence of a hypothetical class of individuals who can then be branded as villains of the cyber era. This built on and the true meaning of the word and the intentions of this class was totally sidetracked.
Hackers are not criminals. They don’t have intentions to damage or cause loss. They originated from the class of people who had an intrinsic thirst for knowledge. They wanted to stop at no point for gaining knowledge and letting the world benefit from their knowledge. Many historians will agree to the fact that knowledge always has been dangerous. People like Galileo, Pythagoras, etc had been banned because of the knowledge they possessed which was contradictory to popular belief. Same is the case with hackers. They possess that knowledge which others don’t want them to possess.
Hackers are driven by curiosity. They have the urge to win. That makes them more aggressive, more intent and hence more dangerous, not to cyber society but to those narrow minded individuals.
Hacking and cracking are activities that generate intense public interest. Whenever anyone reads that some site was hacked into, some people get delighted, some don’t. People who are delighted are those who don’t have anything to do with such sites or with the Internet on the whole. Or they may be the persons who were responsible for the incident. Those who didn’t excite were those people who are skeptical of this cyber world but still cannot live without it. Also the security world wakes up from sleep.
I am not a hacker. But I am also not a closed-minded person. I try give every individual a chance. Hence I don’t treat hackers as criminals. I want you to think in that way too. Next time, we shall look into the psychology of hacking and difference between hackers and crackers.