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  1. #1
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    Hacktivism (read)

    Hacktivism
    By Matt Stevens
    DISCLAIMER: The links provided are for information only. I nor Girard High School/Girard City Schools are responsible for the content or policies of these sites. Visit them at your own risk.



    Within the past 15 years a new subculture has emerged. This culture is composed of people of all kinds, however mostly young. Most of them do not agree with "the system." They can literally control the world at the touch of a button. They are commonly called hackers.

    You're probably asking yourself "why should I continue reading this article?" Good question. In this day and age computers are used for just about everything including social security records, credit card records, grades and your school work on your home PC. Many hackers can get into any one (or all) of these systems and compromise this information if he/she wanted to.

    Imagine this, a hacker gets into the government database, changes your status to diseased. He/she then cancels your credit card, adds "wanted murder" to your crime record and on top of that transfers all the money in your bank account to an un-named account off shore. This is probably a worst case scenario. However, it can (and has) happened. By knowing how hackers work and about their culture, you can lower your chance of getting "hacked."

    First off, most hackers are not bad. They just do it for the knowledge and usually do not damage or compromise systems. However there are the occasional bad apples. In addition, not all hackers are male or young or white or middle class or "nerds." These are just stereotypes given to them by the media. "i know a hot chick that does some (expletive) lol," says t0rch, a hacker who chats in an IRC chat room.

    Every hacker has a handle. This is what he/she is known as in the cyberspace. Some handles of well known hackers are, "The Mentor," "Acid Phreak," & "Prophet." Hackers like to use ph instead of f and some like to use z instead of s. If, for example, a hacker hacks into a web site he/she would put his/her handle on the front page to prove he/she was there. In December of 2000, two hackers from a city near Girard defaced Westbranch schools web site and actually used different handles then they use in the chat room. They later admitted to who they really were.

    These days many hackers use IRC (Internet Relay Chat, an older less user-friendly chat system) to communicate. 2600 (also the name of a popular hacking magazine) is one of the arise they hang out.

    This culture has inspired many books, movies, and TV shows over the past few years. However, the hackers themselves are not satisfied how they are portrayed. "There exists a very small group of reporters that truly appreciate and understand the subtleties of reporting on this topic," according to Alex Wellen Sr. Producer & Cohost of a weekly newsmagzine television program called "CyberCrime" appearing on the TechTV network. "We do our best. As we are a news reporting agency, and not a law enforcement oriented unit, we are sensitive to the recurring issues revolving around that community. The word 'hacker' is not synonymous with 'criminal.'"


    In 1999 MTV daubed their documentary True Life: I'm a Hacker. While entertaining and informative to the common MTV viewer, hackers and security experts say that it didn't think it accuracy portray the hacker subculture and ethics.

    Hackers (1995) is a fictional movie about one adventure of a hacker who was charged at the age of 11 for crashing thousands of computers, including Wall Street, with a virus he wrote. He wasn't to use a computer or touch tone phone until the day of his 18th birthday. His mother was transferred to New York because of her job his senior year. There he met a group of hackers whom became his best friends, and one girlfriend. They were unlawfully accused of a virus that would cause worldwide distraction because of an oil spill.

    One common type of hacking is social engineering. This is where a hacker calls a company and pretends to be a legitimate caller asking for passwords or other useful information. Another common method is called trashing. This is when you search through a Dumpster looking for (typically phone) company passwords or other helpful information.

    Phreaking is another type of hacking using the phone. For example, phreakers (as they are called) used to build boxes to generate tones that would emulate those of phone equipment. They would then use those go get free long distance and pay phone calls. This was the first type of hacking.

    If you ask a hacker if he/she thinks that he/she is doing anything wrong they will usually say no. "My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like," said The Mentor in an article he wrote for Phrack magazine in 1986. This is the mindset that most of them have.

    Many people think that all hacking is bad. Should we prosecute hackers if they hack into a system but cause no harm? This is a big controversy."Just as there is a distinction between 'trespassing' and 'larceny' (i.e., "stealing property"), in terms of hacking, there is a distinction between 'penetrating a system' and 'misappropriating information therein.' Both are crimes, but the law generally treats the latter more seriously." says Wellen.


    Years ago, only big companies got hacked. Today, even individuals and schools get hacked. On December 24, 2000 an individual gets into WebAdemic.com with a teacher's password and posts inappropriate material as homework assignments. This happened in our own school. The person that did this is being disciplined appropriately. If this person does not co-opperate, the school will track down this hack right down to his/her house. While not considered a "hack" by most, this is just an example of what can happen.

    A couple weeks ago Microsoft was attacked. It started Tuesday January 23, 2001 when they had a problem caused by misconfigured routers (what connects a network to the Internet and other networks). Hackers then realized that Microsoft's DNS (Domain Name Service, the service that converts an address like microsoft.com to something a computer can understand like 207.46.230.218) servers were on the same network as the rest of Microsoft's services. Hackers then brought down Microsoft's DNS server on Wednesday causing 100% (at one point) not to be able to access Microsoft.com as well as Hotmail.com (owned and opperated by Microsoft). This is called a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. Microsoft will not comment on the design of there network.

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    Common Types of "Hacks"

    DoS
    General Denial of Service attack. When a hacker brings down a web site or system to prevent access to that site or system. For example, the recent Microsoft attack.

    DDoS
    Distributed Denial of Service attack. When a hacker prevents access to a web site or system by distributing a trogen to innocent computers and cause them to all try to access the site at a the same time causing the web site's server to crash because of all the traffic. For example, the attacks on CNN, eBay and Yahoo last year.

    Deface
    This is when a hacker replaces a web page or modifies a web page. Example Microsoft (NZ) (Warning: This may be offensive to some views).

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    Remember, the information in this article is only a brief outline of this topic. If you would like to learn more, view the resources below.

    How can you protect yourself?

    1. Read about hackers and learn how they work.
    2. Run a personal firewall. This is especially important if you are on a cable modem. A good free one is ZoneAlarm
    3. Run virus protection. Norton AntiVirus.
    4. Keep your virus definitions up to date.
    5. Use good passwords. In the movie Hackers, sex, god, love, and secret are the called the most commonly used passwords. This is probably not true; these still are not good passwords. Your passwords should contain letters, numbers and different cases. An example of a good password is f3yt*b2da&.
    6. Do not write your password down, memorize it.
    7. Never tell ANYONE your password. "Three men can keep a secret, if two of them are dead" -Benjamin Franklin.


    http://ghs.girard.k12.oh.us/news/story.asp?news_id=26


    more info
    http://www.hackernews.com/
    http://www.cybercrime.com/
    http://www.@stake.com/
    http://www.zdnet.com/
    http://www.2600.org/
    http://www.happyhacker.com/ (currently down for redesign)
    http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_I...ption/Hacking/
    [shadow]i have a herd of 1337 sheep[/shadow]
    Worth should be judged on quality... Not apperance... Anyone can sell you **** inside a pretty box.. The only real gift then is the box..

  2. #2
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    <rant>
    hmmm.... I stopped reading when I had seen the two first lines of the article. I refuse to read an article where a criminal is called a hacker (good thing no1 is forcing me to read it, hehe). This is wrong. You can go to MIT or something and study to become a professonal hacker. If it was some criminal profession then it wouldn't be taught at schools!
    Call the ppl that break the law criminals. Doesn't matter if they use a computer to break the law, they're still criminals. Call 'em crackers, if u have the guts (the meaning of that word is just about as clouded as that of the word "hacker"). Well, now u know.
    </rant>
    zion1459
    Visit: http://www.cpc-net.org
    \"Software is like sex: it\'s better when it\'s free.\" -Linus Torvalds

  3. #3
    AO Antique pwaring's Avatar
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    Quite a well balanced article, at least it points out that not all hackers are bad. I don't mind if computer criminals are referred to as 'malicious hackers' or crackers, but I hate it when the media just generally call anyone involved with illegal activites and computers a 'hacker'. It gives us all such a bad stigma.
    Paul Waring - Web site design and development.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted here by pwaring
    Quite a well balanced article, at least it points out that not all hackers are bad. I don't mind if computer criminals are referred to as 'malicious hackers' or crackers, but I hate it when the media just generally call anyone involved with illegal activites and computers a 'hacker'. It gives us all such a bad stigma.
    mmm...then ignorant people come up to you asking you to "hack hotmail", or get them a credit card number or ridiculous things like that.
    There\'s no sense in being Pessimistic...it would never work anyway.

  5. #5
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    i don't think that getting a credit card genrator and using it to scam other people is a ridiculous thing like that...
    assembly.... digital dna ?

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    Originally posted here by nabylbt
    i don't think that getting a credit card genrator and using it to scam other people is a ridiculous thing like that...
    No i wasn't talking about a credit card generator, merely about stealing a credit card, i reffered to it as ridiculous because i don't think that anyone would seriously help someone steal a credit card.
    There\'s no sense in being Pessimistic...it would never work anyway.

  7. #7
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    hey there are some stupid people out there that have nothing else to do ...
    ever noticed that near major airport in the usa, you have people just hanging out and waiting for the poor tourist that just want to call home saying that he got there safe.... well they manage to record their dial card & pins.. i don't think they are alone ...
    assembly.... digital dna ?

  8. #8
    AntiOnline Senior Medicine Man
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    Whats a hacker?
    It is better to be HATED for who you are, than LOVED for who you are NOT.

    THC/IP Version 4.2

  9. #9
    Flash M0nkey
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    In 1999 MTV daubed their documentary True Life: I'm a Hacker. While entertaining and informative to the common MTV viewer, hackers and security experts say that it didn't think it accuracy portray the hacker subculture and ethics.
    if thats the prog I'm thinking of they had some 12yr old using sub7 and some other kid sitting typing furriously while text flashed up his screen - what he was actually doing was tying dir repeatedly in the dos prompt >_<; yup those r l337 |-|4|<0R 5|<1ll5 ...... hehe

    Whats a hacker?
    Dr Toker - Ummmm if you believe the media its some outcast kid in over flamboyant clothing - who roller blades everywhere has like 2 dozen beepers and can crack the into the pentagon using a computer he seemingly put together from an old radio and 2 biscuit tins

    v_Ln

  10. #10
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    This is just another example of how people are scared of what they don't know. When they are scared, they react. Perhaps it's time for those of us at AO to make our own documentary... average American Joe can only be reached through the TV screen...

    Make our own documentary? I'm scaring myself! How about it - can we do it? (please, I know this is just asking for flames - be kind)

    SSJVegeta-Sei


    Pierce me with steel, rend me with claw and fang; as I die, a legend is born for another generation to follow.
    An\' it harm none, do as ye will. - Wiccan Rede

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