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Gray Hat Hacking Essay

2153 words - 9 pages

Gray-Hat Hacking


Computer security is a growing concern with the onset of always-on connections in the home and the emerging global network. More and more people become connected everyday. The reliance on computers in our daily lives has increased the need for security and has shifted the ethical line for hackers and hacking.

“A hacker is someone with deep knowledge of and great interest in a system. A hacker is someone who likes to delve into the inner workings of a system to find out how it works.”2 The definition of a hacker has been skewed in recent years by the press to connotate people who break into computer systems. The term has also evolved to represent people who protect computer systems and those that break into them. These newly termed hackers can be classified into three categories white-hat, black-hat, and gray-hat hackers. White-hat hackers are employed by corporations and work on the good side to secure computer systems without breaking into them. Black-hat hackers work on the bad side and attempt to compromise systems in illegal ways. Gray-hat hackers occupy the gray space of hacking and break into systems to learn and expose flaws, often as a service to the computer community. The ethical line dividing white-hat hackers and black-hat hackers is clear. However, the line that separates gray-hat hackers from black-hat hackers is constantly shifting in the new global network. Hacking that may have been considered ethical yesterday may not be true today due to the impact on global systems in the form of dollars loss and downtime.

Hacking has evolved from simply having knowledge of systems by harmlessly breaking into them to an issue of security and computer crimes (cybercrimes). Hacking attacks originate from all parts of the world and, in most cases, hackers can be tracked down and captured. However, hackers may be sheltered from prosecution since their country of residence has no laws on cybercrime. The threat of hackers, whether they are gray-hat or black-hat, has been recognized by many countries. New rules and cooperation from countries are emerging. Sensitive information can now reside in all parts of the world in the new global network. Transportation, communication, safety, and public utility systems are tied to the internet and the need for global hacking laws has become necessity.

Global Hacking laws

Numerous countries throughout the world have initiated laws directed at cybercrime. The US has numerous laws on cybercrimes which are outlined in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. However, in other parts of the world, these types of laws are non-existent. For example, at the time the I Love You virus was released, the Philippines had no laws concerning cybercrimes and Onel De Guzman, who was attributed with creating the virus, was safe from prosecution. The laws in the Philippines have been reformed due to...

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