Computer Hackers And Ethics Essay

1639 words - 7 pages

 What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘hacker’? For most it means stealing information through the Internet, gaining illegal access to another person’s PC, or simply - disruptive behavior using a computer. The subject of hacking is no secret to the general public. Many people have been exposed to it by a bad experience or through the news and media. The idea of hacking that is stuck in the minds of people is that of which they have seen in the movies. The movies portray hackers as young and devious criminals. However, in reality these individuals are, talented people who use their abilities to find new and challenging ways to change how computers work. According to the Cult of the Dead Cow (weird name), a hacking organization, true hackers do not get into the system to erase everything or to sell the information to someone else. They get in there to satisfy their curiosity to see if getting into the system can be done, to search around inside of a place they have never been, and to explore the little nooks and crannies of cyberspace. Of course there are those who erase files from other people’s computers, steal information from cyberspace, and vandalize web pages. These people are not hackers, as the media calls them, they are known as crackers. Hackers use their vast knowledge to better the computer industry. Hacking started even before computers became popular. The earliest forms of hacking started in the 1960’s, when AT & T was the only phone company. Back then the telephone was taken for granted and the way the phone system worked was a complete mystery. Phones were considered an early form of the computer. Those that tried to understand the phone system more and find ways to make free phone calls from pay phones were known as phreakers. This was an amateur form of telephone hacking. The way this was done was by using the old rotary dial pay phones with three slots for a nickel, dime, and quarter. The phreaker would cut a piece of stiff construction board about twelve inches long and three-eighths of an inch wide and slide into the dime slot as far as it would go. To make a call all you had to do was pick up the phone, wait for a dial tone, and put a penny in the nickel slot. The phone would register the penny as a dime and a free call could be made. Curiosity of how the phone worked led to an interest in the computers that controlled the phones, which in turn led to hacking. Most of the earlier computer break-ins came from company employees seeking revenge or financial gain. For example, in 1971 disgruntled employees of the Honeywell Corporation disabled the Metropolitan Life computer network for a month. And in 1973, a teller from the New York Dime Savings Bank was able to break through the computer system and steal $1 million dollars. Though these were computer crimes, there were also earlier hacks that were beneficial. One of the most successful hacks in history was that of Apollo 13. When the astronauts were in space, they ran...

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