Hacking is a CRIME, Hackers are CRIMINALS


This blog has been suddenly flooded with unexpected visitors from the “hacking community” or if not, from pro-hacking individuals since Sunday. They visited and left adverse comments, vindictive or foul words in one of my posts– “Pinoy Hackers Retaliate; Deface Some Chinese Sites.

WHO ARE THE HACKERS?

The reactions to my post opened the flood gate of many questions in my mind: Who are the hackers? What kind of individuals are they? What is their intention in hacking? The book, “The Hackers Crackdown” offered these answers:

They can be:

    • a casual browsers and harmless intellectual explorers
    • voyeurs, snoops, invaders of privacy
    • agents of espionage, or perhaps as industrial spies
    • trespassers
    • thieves of service
    • fraudsters
    • impersonator
    • a sick computer addict

Hacking” was once upon a time a positive word indicating the will to optimize the features and purpose of computers. But because of the illegal activities by intruding computers without permission, the word becomes devil today. If i will consider the foul words used by some visitors of my post as coming from hackers, then i can only surmise how the word hacking is so denuded and degraded.

HACKERS BOAST AND BRAG

Hackers remain anonymous and underground. They can be silent. But Bruce Sterling’s “The Hackers Crackdown” is bold to say hackers brag, boast and strut:

“Hackers can be shy, even reclusive, but when they do talk, hackers tend to brag, boast and strut. Almost everything hackers do is invisible; if they don’t brag, boast, and strut about it, then nobody will ever know.If you don’t have something to brag, boast, and strut about, then nobody in the underground will recognize you and favor you with vital cooperation and respect.”

The Facebook page of the local hackers in the Philippines has displayed several links of some sites that they had defaced like the one below.

WHY THE HECK HACKERS ARE HACKING?

To most people hackers are frightening. Their activities are associated with vandalism and could smear one’s reputation and career. Many websites are not keen on talking or criticizing hackers for fear of reprisals. The enumerated descriptions of a hacker above could spell some of the reasons why hackers are hacking.

There are law-abiding hackers who are in the folds of the law teaching government agents the intricacies of hacking and how the underground hackers work. But once hackers are in the loose they can be mighty as superman carrying space debris out of Earth’s atmosphere.

There are also Hactivists— hackers who claimed fighting for a cause and freedom and receiving no remuneration of their works. When WikiLeaks‘  founder Julian Assange was arrested in December 2010. some “Anonymous” hackers went to disable the sites of MasterCard, Visa and Paypal that refused service to WikiLeaks as a sign of protest.

Anonymous also attacked several government and corporate sites which they claimed had violated freedom. When “The Pirate Bay” was found guilty of copyright infringement in April 2009, Anonymous pulled a coordinated DDoS against the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Anonymous is a collective unnamed individuals in the internet who are fighting for the electronic freedom.

There are also Agents of Espionage— hackers who are hired or forced by their government to launch computer spying. Several attacks on the computer systems of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been reported and traced to Chinese hackers. Beijing has again and again denied consenting to these hacking activities. A Russian student claimed he was paid by Russian Security State Services to attack NATO computers. Russia is noted for its alleged cyber-wars against its enemies.

There are also Hackers-For-Hire— hackers who make their living out of hacking sites in favor of one’s interest. Their activities ranges from identity theft to launching DDoS attacks.

The good ones who are hired are called Certified Ethical Hackers— as defined by Wikipedia:  “…are usually employed by an organization who trusts him or her to attempt to penetrate networks and/or computer systems, using the same methods as a hacker, for the purpose of finding and fixing computer security vulnerabilities. Unauthorized hacking (i.e., gaining access to computer systems without prior authorization from the owner) is a crime in most countries, but penetration testing done by request of the owner of the targeted system(s) or network(s) is not.

There are also Teen Hackers— they are mostly Chinese teens who at their young age have already been mastered to intrude computer networks. Take this story of a 13-year old Chinese boy as an example, who took revenge against his school for giving them so much home works by defacing his school’s web site.

Several countries have already their Anti-Cyber Crime laws that deter hacking and other unauthorized computer intrusions. The Philippine Congress has yet to pass an Anti-Cyber Crime law. Senator Edgardo Angara,proponent of the proposed law in the Senate has emphasized the importance of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Senate Bill No. 2796) considering that the Philippine E-Commerce Law is not enough to thwart and punish cyber criminals.

Whatever the purpose and intentions, hacking is still a CRIME and hackers are considered CRIMINALS  in the eyes of the law. Civility should still prevail.

5 thoughts on “Hacking is a CRIME, Hackers are CRIMINALS

      • Yeah, you do quickly reference that at the start.

        The use of inflammatory language, imagery, terms like “Sick Computer Addict” and blanket statements inspire a rather visceral response of being something Dirty and shameful.

        I think that’s because you do a lot of quoting of a book, The Hacker Crackdown – By Bruce Sterling, a book from the early 90’s, which sadly, had little bearing back in the day, and less so now, over a decade after its publication. Technology evolves, but so does the “hacker underground”, a term (read: buzz word) that nobody but the media, uses. People who “hack” into credit card companies to steal data for personal use, aren’t hackers, they’re criminals.

        True Hackers are explorers. People who refuse to let the edge of the horizon limit their knowledge.

        Also, as a side note for “certified ethical hackers”, who certifies them? I must have missed that regulatory group…

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        • The criminals should have been called “Crackers” instead of Hackers. But even authorities and some laws are calling them as hackers. For the certified ethical hackers, the professional certification is provided by the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) as what i’ve read.

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          • Nope, just criminals. The only people that refer to them as hackers are people who have too much time on their hands, or people who want to seem to be “in the know”. In reality with “hackers” as with anything else in life, there is no black/white separation between “good” and “bad”.

            Also, nothing from EC-Council is accredited (even though they do have a 17024 accreditation, which is a token accreditation for following process) . You put “certified ethical hacker” on your resume, or anything from EC-Council, and watch it get burnt. 🙂

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