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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2002

    Question Does he have reason? What's your opinion?


    What do you think of this man opinion?


    The Cult of Hackers

    Hackers are typically portrayed as one of two stereotypes: digital Robin Hoods taking on the Internet's wired establishment or sinister masterminds who can upend everyday users' lives with their technical exploits.

    In reality, hackers -- who tend to resist that blanket term in favor of more specialized designations, such as cracker, white hat or black hat -- are usually tech-savvy individuals experimenting with their skill sets by probing applications and Web sites for vulnerabilities, security expert Ryan Russell told NewsFactor.

    But how did hacker myths arise? What sparks our fascination with those who illicitly explore computer systems?

    Comic Book Characters

    Gartner research director Richard Stiennon told NewsFactor that the public's desire to view real-world individuals as fictional good guys and bad guys is the driving force that determines how hackers are perceived.

    "I think we're all influenced by comic book heroes and comic book villains," Stiennon said. "We glamorize them, and we're looking for a mastermind. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist. There's no Grinch of cyberspace that's going to steal Christmas."

    But Stiennon was able to point to the root of the hacker myth. Even though today's hackers have posed no critical danger so far, he said, there is potential for future risk, and that knowledge of our vulnerability contributes to hackers' image and to the hacker culture's lore.

    Dashing Digital Despots

    At the "benevolent rebel" end of the spectrum, Russell said, hackers are portrayed in a playful sense because many in society may share their political ideology or sentiment. "It's obviously a good story if you have someone who appears to be smart and mischievous, and the criminal aspect is always interesting," he noted.

    Stiennon agreed that those who are seen as taking on the establishment often win the admiration of onlookers. He noted that the "sport" of hacking has hit the mainstream in high schools.

    At the other end of the hacker spectrum is the myth of the intelligent evildoer who is hell-bent on parlaying technical expertise into societal upheaval. "It's ... playing on the fear of the unknown," Russell said. "The idea that someone evil can impact your life is kind of a scary thing."

    Public perceptions aside, however, Russell said that with few exceptions, the criminal elements of hacking -- and the monetary damages cited as a result of intrusion incidents -- are usually exaggerated.

    Old Guard, New Guard

    Indeed, the evil hacker mastermind stereotype, which never really reflected reality, soon may give way to a more serious, though less overtly sinister, portrait of a hacker.

    Unlike the hackers of yore, who had to master at least the rudiments of a programming language and operating system knowledge, a new guard is emerging in the hacking world, assisted by more than 30,000 Web pages devoted to the subject.

    Stiennon said the real hacking risk of the future is that these new, younger hackers could enter the job market and neglect to check their hacking behaviors at the door. "They're at a company with a Web browser, and they'll snoop around just for kicks," he said. "Next thing you know, they've hacked into the employee database or executive e-mail."

  2. #2
    Senior Member tampabay420's Avatar
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    Aug 2002

    Re: Does he have reason? What's your opinion?

    Originally posted here by -DaRK-RaiDeR-
    "They're at a company with a Web browser, and they'll snoop around just for kicks," he said. "Next thing you know, they've hacked into the employee database or executive e-mail."
    What's the big deal about snooping around. If you don't get caught- then it's their fault for not having good enough security. As long as you don't use any of the data :-)
    yeah, I\'m gonna need that by friday...

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2001
    Interresting points, i'd say that the origin of the hackers myth did not emerge from the comics but rather with the movie industry. Remember Ciryl, War games and more recently Hackers ...
    it's all a myth but the high profil hacks are kept under tighter wraps that one would imagine
    assembly.... digital dna ?

  4. #4
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    Apr 2002

    Re: Re: Does he have reason? What's your opinion?

    Originally posted here by tampabay420

    What's the big deal about snooping around. If you don't get caught- then it's their fault for not having good enough security. As long as you don't use any of the data :-)
    I think it is a big deal to snoop around. That is like saying it is ok for someone to break into your house, go through your personal belongings and then leave. I would not appreciate this at all!

    If you are attempting to break into systems, it is illegal. Doing something illegal is still illegal whether or not you get caught.


  5. #5
    PHP/PostgreSQL guy
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    Dec 2001
    When you are hired into a company, or if you contract through a firm for a company through a vendor, you're signing affidavits and other paperwork that states you'll possibly have access to sensitive or otherwise confidential data and that misuse of said access will result in revokation of your ability to access it and/or legal pursuit. It's not ok to just 'snoop around' because 'hackers' are never satisfied enough with just 'looking'. There's always the need to probe further, find out that person's info, hold it over them with blackmail attempts, etc etc.

    On the flip side, companies need to stop being cheap and start spending the money on hiring experienced people that can lock down a system from prying eyes (that's all those 'hackers' really are, not really knowledgeable in my opinion) and applications that can prevent. Sure, it's always a race to see who can stay on top of the game, the sysadm or the person who thinks it's funny to fsck around on company time.

    The article mentioned that these hackers would be hired, etc etc...out of school, etc etc. I disagree. 95% of the people that claim to be a hacker in HS are completely and utterly full of shite and couldn't "hack" their way out of a wet paper bag. There's no gain of knowledge when you didn't WRITE the program you're using or you can't tell me what it does and how it does it. Explain to me how shell escapes overflow a buffer in some random program and how that gets dropped to a prompt and why it may be controlled and maybe I'll believe in your knowledge. Until then, these little kiddies need to go back to downloading porn off Kazaa or Morpheus and stop pretending to be something they're not.

    IMHO, of course.
    We the willing, led by the unknowing, have been doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much with so little for so long that we are now qualified to do just about anything with almost nothing.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cwk9's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    I think the hacker myth originated from movies like nabylbt said but another source that makes a big contribution is T.V news. Iíve seen the same news storyís about 20 times now.

    Hereís how it goes
    The head line: High school super hacker can hack into any computer, no one is safe.
    Reality: scans for NetBIOS ports and sends people sub7.
    This mainly due to the mediaís need to hype things up.

    Vorlin makes a good point. If you hire some kid out of high school who claims to be a hacker youíre most likely going to end up with a script kiddy that wouldnít do any work and end up poking around were he shouldnít. When some one says to you Iím a l337 hacker it should be a red flag that there more interested in fitting that hacker stereotype and satisfying there ego then computer security. The more I learn the more I realize thereís hundreds of book I havenít read and lots of topics I know nothing about. Maybe thatís why most of the people Iíve met that are very adept with computers are a little more humble about what they know and donít run around going look at me Iím l337.
    Its not software piracy. Iím just making multiple off site backups.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2002
    I assume Nabylbt that you have read exactly the same article than me about "Computers in movies". I also think that Hollywood has created a large part of the myth.
    I don't know anybody under 25 years old who have not discovered computers and hackers in films or series.

    And the crucial element which have provocated the creation of this picture is incomprehension. How normal people could have understood in the seventies somebody's speaking about Unix commands?

    edit: sorry Cwk9 for the repetition, I was probably writing my reply when you posted yours.
    Life is boring. Play NetHack... --more--

  8. #8
    Purveyor of Lather Syini666's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Ah, this reminds me of a paper I wrote for a class a while back where I tried to break the media's version of a "Hacker" down into more realisitc and true-to-life names. If only the media used more appropraite terms it would probably change a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions. Unfortuantely that may never happen, but its nice to hope for.
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