Hackers: Protectors of the internet

I always thought of hackers are as a weird guy who constantly wears sunglasses and a trench coat. Although recently I have learnt there is much more to hackers than just this over exaggerated stereotype. They have a bunch of ethics in which they abide to, such as the belief that information should be free, computers can change your life for the better and that hackers should not be judged on anything other than there hacking. But as with most things that give people power hacking can be used for ‘good’ or ‘evil’.

The evils of hacking as you can guess are mostly hackers who break into secure systems and use private information to create a catastrophe. The term hacking carries a negative connotation because of black hat hackers, who are people who break into a system for their own personal gain to cause damage or to gain financial benefits. For example Kevin Poulsen hacked a radio station’s phone line to win himself a Porsche, he was the first hacker to be charged with espionage after he hacked into the air force to gain classified information.
The Stuxnet is a computer worm that hackers have made to target industrial systems, it is believed that it was created by the US and Israel. It was designed to alter the Programmable Logic Controllers that automate industrial tasks, and hence is quite a malicious computer worm as it could bring down infrastructure supporting facilities programs.

On the other side hacking can be used for good. An example of this are hacktivists, where hackers use computers to promote political situations and freedom of speech. The main group who does this is Anonymous, who has done a whole list of hacktivism like bringing down or hacking websites such as taking down 40 child porn sites and published the names of 1500 people who frequented those sites.

Hackers are a whole subculture who can dedicate their efforts to making the world a better or worse place depending on the hacker.


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