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Should You Hire A Hacker To Protect Your Computer Systems?

1305 words - 5 pages

The question of whether or not to hire an experienced hacker to protect an organization's IT systems is a difficult choice. Some who answer this question will emphatically say no, while others may be more keen to the idea because of a hacker's ability to bypass a system's security. The mainstream media often portrays hackers as shady individuals who break the law and who are capable of such horrific abilities such as starting a nuclear war by using a telephone, as was the case of a computer hacker named Kevin Mitnick. Before we answer this question however we must define what a hacker really is and learn the characteristics of good, bad and ambivalent hackers. Some individuals are attempting to reverse the bad connotations that the word hacker brings to mind by stating that a hacker is a person who enjoys working with computers, while it is really a cracker who are the ones we should be concerned about. More important than what we call these individuals by applying labels, it is more important to find out why they do what they do.In computer terminology a hacker is a person who is often a highly skilled computer programmer who is able to accomplish tasks that others cannot. Whether this is through an innate knowledge of technology, or simply from spending an enormous amount of time with computers, hacker skills are highly valued throughout the world. "Hacker may mean simply a person with mastery of computers; however the mass media most often uses "hacker" as synonymous with a (usually criminal) computer intruder." [2] A hacker as an individual who breaks into computer systems is a person who often has a nickname which they are known to other hackers as. The hacker community is quite enormous and is found throughout the Internet in such places as Internet Relay Chat rooms where novice and advanced hackers alike share information and skills. Intentions of hackers have become more directed towards monetary gain quite recently, whereas there was a time when a computer system would be broken into simply for the notoriety. These days hackers often work in conjunction with individuals who send spam to millions of e-mail addresses. Additionally groups of hackers have become much more organized recently and have been responsible for carrying out large scale, coordinated attacks on major computer systems.At the opposite end of the hacking spectrum are those individuals who are simply very good at computer programming. They do not break into computer systems or deface websites. "In computer programming, a hacker is a software designer and programmer who builds elegant, beautiful programs and systems. For some, "hacker" has a negative connotation and refers to a person who "hacks" or uses kludges to accomplish programming tasks that are ugly, inelegant, and inefficient." [1] When one considers the word 'hack' we can think of three very different definitions. First, a hack is a person who says they are very good at something, but actually they are not,...

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