Hacking Essay, Research Paper
There are two different worlds of computer enthusiasts, that of hacking and of cracking. Hacking is the pursuit to further one s knowledge of a system, usually a computer. Hackers (see appendix) are generally much smarter then your average person and try to further the limits of a system through their understanding. Masters of Deception represents the world of hacking, depicting a group of teenage hackers during the 1980s. The other side of this is the world of crackers. Crackers are those who usually don t know much about what they are doing, how the computer works and what they can make it do. Crackers, as portrayed by Hackers, simply attempt the mess with people simply because of the poseur value of making themselves look powerful.
Masters of Deception told the story of a group of teenage hackers who were some of the best during their time. It shows the real world of hacking, the boys always follow the Hacker Ethic (see appendix), in their pursuit for knowledge (MOD 4). Hackers feel an intense urge to understand how complex computers, many of everyday use like the phone system, work. The only way to find out how they work is to get inside, which is illegal. The point of a hackers forays through the systems, though, is not to destroy information but just to understand, and the laws are simply cloaks to keep the public in the dark. The hackers in the book understood the phone networks much better then even those who controlled it. During a briefing of those who were trying to apprehend the hackers traveling through phones, one of the agents asked What s a switch? (MOD 62)
Hackers depicted the world of the cracker. Crackers are those who attack computer systems with no regard for how their actions will affect other people. Crackers, unlike their hacker counterparts, generally don t have a good understanding of what they are doing, if they even really know. Crackers use tools in their quest for destruction and pirated software, tools that others who are smarter then they have written. They just use the scripts that intelligent hackers have written to destroy computers, for this reason hackers refer to lower life-forms like crackers as script kiddies (MOD 47). The cracker is totally dependant on the programs that he/she can find, because crackers don t understand how the systems they attack work, so can t help themselves. Hackers portrays the crackers as being all-knowing simply because they know certain keywords.
The worlds of hackers and crackers are greatly confused by the general public, and those misnomers are propelled by the mass media. Every time a web-page is defaced or a denial of service (see appendix) attack is made, the media is ready to pounce and blame the incident on hackers. The media doesn t make any distinction between the hackers searching for knowledge and helping the technological world, like those at the L0pht, and crackers who are just kids showing off that they can click an icon. The L0pht (www.l0pht.com that s zero, no O) is a prime example of ethical hackers who are merely on a quest for knowledge, and helping those employed in the computer security field. The L0pht is a group of seven hackers who simply attack software on their own systems finding its weaknesses and then report that to the public, so that people can be aware of vulnerabilities.
Overall, it seems very obvious that Hackers was a blatant misrepresentation of the real hackers in the world. Masters of Deception shows very accurately what hackers are really like, and that they don t want to harm anything. Hackers is a perfect example of the confusion caused by the media and entertainment industry.