Hacking and Digital Counter Culture
Hacking was first introduced as a new way to embrace and utilize computer technology. Many of the hackers then saw the technology as a way to demonstrate their independence and aims to share this to the public and they used the computer to achieve this. In the last couple of years however, hacking has been given a new connotation. It became connected with criminal and illegal activities which is totally different from what the hackers had in mind when they initially used and created new technologies.
At present, the use of computer technologies and its related technologies is once again changing and reverting to its original ideals and concept. It is predicted that this new trend shall continue to influence the way and shall set a new course the computer technology is used globally.
This paper looks into the evolution of hacking since its birth in the 50’s and the 60’s to the present. A focus on the cross cultures then and now shall demonstrate how hacking and hackers have become associated with illegal activity. The paper shall answer the question as to whether counter cultures enforced the negativity or whether mainstream culture portrays hacking in a negative way.
I. Definition and Evolution of Hacking
Hacking is defined as 1) “the hobby/profession of working with computers and 2) breaking into computer systems” (Definition). The two definitions is a perfect example of how hacking evolved over the years. The first definition was first used to describe the people who work with computers. They are the ones considered as the first hackers. Although this definition is still being used today, the second definition has become the more acceptable definition of hacking. The action has now become associated with breaking into computer systems and ‘breaking’ comes into different forms, usually in relation to doing illegal activities.
Over the years hacking has evolved quite significantly. From the time hackers used computers to demonstrate their independence and to show a new way of doing things, hackers today can be classified into several groups with their own ideals and agenda. This evolution begun in the 80s and continues today.
During the 80s and the 90s, hackers continued to attack various private and public sites for their own personal reasons. They have learned that their knowledge and skills are powerful tools that they can use freely. Whether the site or systems are restricted or not, they continued to break-in into them. They became renegades and many were arrested. This is the first group of hacker who evolved quite differently from the old hackers of the 50’s and the 60’s; and they have their own set of rules.
In 1997, hackers hit Yahoo. The hackers claimed that unless hacker Kevin Mitnick is released, they would release a virus on PCs of Yahoo users. The following year, they hacked into the United Nation’s Children Fund site and threatened that they will unleash a ‘holocaust’ if Kevin...