Hackers: Technological Wizards

Essay by awolCollege, UndergraduateB, February 1996

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Hackers come in all shapes and sizes. In the world of hackers shapes and sizes don't matter. Technological knowledge and computer skills are the only traits that matter in the hierarchy of the hacker society. The hackers with the most skills are respected most. There are two main types of hackers that invade on the privacy of law-abiding citizens. These hackers are known as phone phreaks and system hackers and he will stop at nothing to aquire the information he wants. Hackers usually try to learn all he or she can about the computer he/she has; whereas, the average computer user who just wants to learn only the minimal amount necessary.(Kevin Mitnick 145).

Phone phreaks use more of the telephone system than they do computers. Christian Hughes said 'Phreaks can clone cellular phone signals to get cellular service and charge it to someone else.(91). There have been a number of instances where people have been charged for cellular service they did not use.

Every cellular phone emits a 10-digit electronic serial number that gives the subscriber authority to make a call. Using a simple device that can be bought at a good electronics

supply store, hackers can scan the air-waves and read these serial numbers.(Highwave Robbery 87).

Near a busy intersection or any other congested area a hacker can get dozens of serial numbers in a few minutes. The hacker must then remove the chip from the cellular phone and reprogram it with one of the numbers he stole. With a simple laptop the chip can be reprogrammed and ready to use in just a few minutes, giving unlimited calling anywhere in the world.

System hackers use computers and software instead of hardware to their advantage. System hackers have to interact more with people than phreaks do. To succeed, hackers...