The War Against Hackers

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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There are many misconceptions, as to the definition, of what a hacker truly is, in all my research this is the best definition I've found: Pretend your walking down the street, the same street you have always walked down. One day, you see a big wooden or metal box with wires coming out of it sitting on the sidewalk where there had been none.

Many people won't even notice. Others might say, "Oh, a box on the street.". A few might wonder what it does and then move on. The hacker, the true hacker, will see the box, stop, examine it, wonder about it, and spend mental time trying to figure it out. Given the proper circumstances, he might come back later to look closely at the wiring, or even be so bold as to open the box. Not maliciously, just out of curiosity. The hacker wants to know how things work.(8)

Hackers truly are "America's Most Valuable Resource,"(4:264) as ex-CIA Robert Steele has said. But if we don't stop screwing over our own countrymen, we will never be looked at as anything more than common gutter trash. Hacking computers for the sole purpose of collecting systems like space-age baseball cards is stupid and pointless; and can only lead to a quick trip up the river.

Let's say that everyone was given an opportunity to hack without any worry of prosecution with free access to a safe system to hack from, with the only catch being that you could not hack certain systems. Military, government, financial, commercial and university systems would all still be fair game. Every operating system, every application, every network type all open to your curious minds.

Would this be a good alternative? Could you follow a few simple guidelines for the offer of virtually unlimited...