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Are 'computer Hackers' Technological Innovators Who Push The Boundaries Of Development Or Reckless Criminals Who Endanger Companies And Individuals?

1074 words - 4 pages

In my essay I am going to speak about hackers and their negative and positive roles in the society.Hacking is a relatively old issue, dated to 1961 [1, history of]. There are many ways to define hackers but in my opinion their position as reckless criminals who endanger companies and individuals, outpaces their positive effects.Nowadays there is a lot of evidence on the harm and the loss that they cause to big companies and as well to individuals. USA and UK are countries that have had the most hacking activity, which rapidly increases over time [2 survey]. However hackers are like a double-edged sword. Besides their disadvantages there are the positive impacts they have on the technological world. Hackers are considered as technological innovators. This is based on the fact that the main aim of the early hackers was to develop and perfectionate systems and software, but this issue has changed a lot since then [3 innovators]. But we cannot call them technological innovators since there is a huge contrast between the negative impacts and the innovation that hackers bring."The word "hacker" itself means a person who enjoys exploring the details of computers by knowing how to stretch their capabilities, a malicious or inquisitive meddler who tries to discover information by poking around" [4 Web Definitions]. Hackers are often seen as "White hats" or "Black hats." White hat hackers help fix badly written software programs and write new programs for the greater good of the computing community. Black hats modify or create software for criminal purposes such as stealing your passwords, your identity, and your bank account or simply to slow the Internet down to no one's amusement but themselves [4 Web Definitions]. These are the people that made companies such as "Emulex" in US lose 2.5 billion $ in 15 minutes and Lucent Technologies in March 2001 receive a 4% decline [5 book 2].Economic profits represent the main target for hackers. The damage and the loss that hackers cause to companies or individuals go as a profit in their pockets. This factor is becoming more and more popular, tempting different categories of people to become hackers.Another reason of hacking is the political activism. The Telia web site in Sweden was defaced in 1996 as a result of growing discontent with the monopoly and pricing for Internet Services. Also an internationally well-known group PHAIT (Portuguese Hackers Against Indonesian Tyranny) attacked Indonesian authorities many times in 1997, motivated by the situation in East Timor.Beside these another reason for hacking is revenge. Police officers investigating computer crime received credit cards and phone bills in huge amounts. This is a clear evidence of revenge towards them from hackers. These cases show that hacker's intentions are malicious and there is no point of technological innovation [6 book 1].Hackers most of the time think that what they do is something that doesn't hurt anyone and this happens because they...

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