Silent. Undetected. Life-changing. On (insert date), (insert name(s)) bypassed (insert company)’s security measures and gained access to the personal information, such as social security and credit card numbers, of millions of oblivious U.S. citizens, causing millions of dollars of damage and enormous amount of time to be spent making repairs and helping the citizens get their lives back. The rising popularity and availability of the personal computer also includes the rise of “potential opportunities for individuals… to access systems without authorization in order to cause disruption, damage systems, and commit crime…” (Rennie et al.) By being aware of this matter, one can effectively take preventative steps to avoid the potential stealing of personal information.
The term “hacking”, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “to cut, notch, slice, chop, or sever (something) with or as with heavy, irregular blows.” This is exactly what cyber criminals are doing today, slicing through counter measures to obtain digital knowledge, which is then sold on the black market or hacking sites with formats similar to eBay. From there, depending on the information, it is used to open up credit card accounts, apply for government benefits, and other forms of identity theft. The means by which they do this is only limited to expertise and creativity. Once inside a computer or network, a hacker may then let loose his/her entire arsenal of destruction including, but not limited to, viruses, worms, and Trojan horses.
A virus is “a self-replicating program which can be both harmful, hard disk erasure or file corruption, and harmless, merely informing the users that there systems have been infected.” (Himma 15) Worms are similar to viruses, as they are also self-replicating, are generally harmless and exist in a network’s memory versus on the hard disk where viruses are found. Trojan horses, derived from the Ancient Greek mythology where are wooden horse was used to trick the city of Troy into bringing concealed soldiers into the city, often appear as useful or interesting programs which contain malicious code that allows a hacker to remotely control your computer. Trojan horses are often found in emails and internet downloads.
The stereotypical hacker is a “male adolescent between the ages of 14 and 16. These individuals tend to be self-taught, enjoy intellectual games, are not sexually active, and perhaps even neglect personal hygiene”. (Himma 8) These individuals feel as if they don’t fit in to a certain social group or don’t want to deal with the complexity and challenges of human relationships. While hacking is commonly linked to the rebellious youth, it isn’t limited to them as hackers can be found in all parts of the world where a computer has access to a network. Depending on a company’s security and counter measures, it can take only an individual to gain access to personal files, but more often than not, it takes a group to successfully sidestep modern...