Hackers Thought

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's October 2001

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The Mindset of Hackers The explosion of internet technology to the general public introduced many brilliant individuals, such as Vladamir Levin, who deceived Citibank's computer to furnish ten million dollars to the Russian hacker gang; Mark Abene, who encouraged thousands of teenagers to study the internal workings of our nation's telephone system; Robert Morris, who unleashed an internet worm in 1988 which infected 6,200 systems within 24 hours; Kevin Poulsen, who seized control of the Los Angeles radio station to win a Porsche; Johan Helsingius, who posted the Church of Scientology secrets on the net (www.discovery.com). There were also Douglas Engelbart, who was responsible for hypertext, windows, cross-file editing, and the mouse; Richard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation; Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson, the driving force behind Bell Laboratory's computer science operation group and creator of UNIX; Clifford Stoll, the tracker of KGB cracker Markus Hess; Linus Torvalds, the writer of the Linux operating system (www.discovery.com;

Stoll, 1985). These individuals are collectively known as "˜Hackers,' void of distinction of intent and philosophy.

The term hack is defined as: to modify a program, often in an unauthorized manner, by changing the code itself (webopedia.internet.com). "Hacker"� is a slang term for a computer enthusiast. Among computer professionals, the term "hacker"� implies an amateur or a programmer who lacks formal training (webopedia.internet.com). Both groups hack, but they represent two different schools of thought.

The first group imposes a menace to society, the computer delinquents. They gain unauthorized access to systems to steal secret information or money. They indulge in computer vandalism. They infect computers with viruses. They corrupt data files. Others simply seek emotional euphoria gaining unauthorized access to systems. Their major goal is to harm.

The second group of individuals mentioned denotes the adventurers, visionaries, risk-takers, artists, and they...