Schools Teaching Incorrect Information
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Thread: Schools Teaching Incorrect Information

  1. #1
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    Schools Teaching Incorrect Information

    Hello all,

    Been a few days since I posted..but I've been caught up in mid-term tests (over 80% on all them tho . 105% in my unix class)... Anyways we had an hour long discussion today in my computer ethics class on Ethical Issues on the internet. Anyways it was mostly on hacking, but should have more specifically been on cracking. It was absolutely horrible. She stood there for an hour and told the class that hackers were criminals.

    http://infotech.fanshawec.ca/mnmt390...ternet%20I.ppt

    That is the link to the powerpoint

    She talked more and more about people hacking illegally into systems and how it was the same as cracking. I'm mentioning this here because I realize this debate has come up many times. In my opinion it is crackers and script kiddies that break the law, hackers are those who know the ins and outs of computer systems, like some of the more respectable members here. I realize the use of the word comes from the media usage and bias, however I feel that it is not the pattern of thought that should be taught in an IT course. It's almost degrading, at least that's how I felt. I was rather vocal in the class, and had the support and the majority, however some students felt that the movie Hackers was the definitive source on how computers were really used (and this is a 3rd semester advanced college program in the IT Dept.) Anyways... I just wanted to throw this out there, as the movie Hackers was mentioned many times in class and refered to and no one seemed to know the origin of the word Hacker other than me (including the prof, she just knew it originally meant people who knew the ins and outs of computers. I think that people training to be IT professionals should be informed of the proper definitions of the word. It's the first step in educating the general population.

    Although this ethics professor is causing problems galore. She said today "They say I should keep my system secure and up to date, but why? If these people just stopped hacking my computer I wouldn't have to worry about it being secure and up to date. So why should I bother updating it, I have the right not to" and yes she's a prof in the IT division.

    Anyways just needed to bitch and this seemed like a good place. Thoughts? Opinions? Comments?
    IT Blog: .:Computer Defense:.
    PnCHd (Pronounced Pinched): Acronym - Point 'n Click Hacked. As in: "That website was pinched" or "The skiddie pinched my computer because I forgot to patch".

  2. #2
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    OMG. That's just embarassing. If you are going to teach security at least understand the terms and their history. When I teach the terminology I make distinctions between hacker, cracker, script kiddie, phreaker and pirate (as the main "characters" in the security environment).

    Although this ethics professor is causing problems galore. She said today "They say I should keep my system secure and up to date, but why? If these people just stopped hacking my computer I wouldn't have to worry about it being secure and up to date. So why should I bother updating it, I have the right not to" and yes she's a prof in the IT division.
    She is correct in this statement (although the wording should be "cracking" or "breaking into" rather than "hacking"). And she does have a right not to update it. However, they will try to gain access so she will either have to protect her computer or live with the consequences of what happens. If she assumes that everyone is "nice" then she is making a large assumption about human nature. I'd ask her if she locks her house door. If she does, ask her why doesn't she make the same argument about that. There used to be a time that in the suburbs and rural areas you didn't have to lock your door. Oh, occassionally there'd be a burglar but it would be a once in a blue moon kind of thing. As society became more populas and integrated, crime (theft) went up and people began locking their doors. It's now ingrained in us that there is a criminal intent out there that will do malicious things.

    The reality is there is always someone looking to do something to their advantage, regardless of the effect it has on others (whatever that perceived advantage is).

    As far as the ethics are concerned in regards to hacking (true hacking), you cannot -- nor should you -- stop someone from learning something about a system (whatever that system is) in their quest to understand something. If, however, they use that knowledge to break the law (computer is a property; network is a resource/property), then it's not the knowledge that is dangerous but the way they interpretted and used that knowledge. (schemantics I believe is the term). Hence, the Hacker is not unethical if they are learning for the sake of learning; the Cracker, however, (the dark side of the Hacker) is.

    Does this rambling make any sense??
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  3. #3
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    Makes perfect sense to me. I see your point on the security thing, but to say you shouldn't have to is still wrong in my opinion... to say you don't have to is fine.. but you don't tell a group of students that are still learning learning that they shouldn't have to update their systems. A fine lot of system admins they'll make when they graduate and say oh.. I don't have to update.
    IT Blog: .:Computer Defense:.
    PnCHd (Pronounced Pinched): Acronym - Point 'n Click Hacked. As in: "That website was pinched" or "The skiddie pinched my computer because I forgot to patch".

  4. #4
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    Hacking is illegal. Plain and simple. Whether or not it is ethical is secondary to the point.

    The United States has the Computer Fraud and Abuse act. Canada has the criminal offence of "Unauthorized Use of a Computer". Whichever nation's law you are subject to, they all have a law prohibiting the unauthorized use of computers. This includes the use of any system you have not been permitted to use. Although your intentions may be noble and good, the law doesn't care. I can't break into your house to do a spot check of your home security system and learn about how your system works, nor can I trespass on your property to look for holes in the fence. It is still illegal. Personally, if someone broke into my house just to check my home alarm, he would be brutally introduced to a baseball bat. If someone broke into my computer just to learn how it's been set up, I would feel the same way.

    What then gives me the right to break into someone else's computer system?
    Government is like fire - a handy servant, but a dangerous master - George Washington
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  5. #5
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    Hacking is illegal. Plain and simple. Whether or not it is ethical is secondary to the point.

    The United States has the Computer Fraud and Abuse act. Canada has the criminal offence of "Unauthorized Use of a Computer". Whichever nation's law you are subject to, they all have a law prohibiting the unauthorized use of computers. This includes the use of any system you have not been permitted to use. Although your intentions may be noble and good, the law doesn't care. I can't break into your house to do a spot check of your home security system and learn about how your system works, nor can I trespass on your property to look for holes in the fence. It is still illegal. Personally, if someone broke into my house just to check my home alarm, he would be brutally introduced to a baseball bat. If someone broke into my computer just to learn how it's been set up, I would feel the same way.

    What then gives me the right to break into someone else's computer system?
    If I read it right the thing HTRegz tries to say is "cracking" (breaking stuff) is illegal, evil, bad, whatever, but "hacking" (knowing much and useing that knowledge somehow) isn't neccesarily. HTRegz wanted to defend the position of the people who know much and thaught themselves things that made the internet a better place. So "hacking" in the way you translate it (it's just all a matter of dictionary interpretation) as "doing evil stuff" wasn't the point really. It's about them hundreds of people who, as an example, find the exploits and get them patched. Those are "hackers" to.

    To HTRegz and others:

    IMO it's rather stupid to say you "have a right to not lock yer door". I mean... blablabla
    I can't really add something to this thread, Msmittens said it well enough... I just kinda started typing and now it's a waste to not post it...

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  6. #6
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
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    they all have a law prohibiting the unauthorized use of computers. This includes the use of any system you have not been permitted to use.
    That's true, but what's authorized or not may be subject to interpretation.
    Your computer is already connected to others by virtue of being in the net.
    Some communications with remote systems are assumed to be always authorized,
    like issuing HTTP requests to a remote system. Admins and owners of various
    servers may have different interpretations of what they consider an acceptable
    communication.

    If they are running a web server only, would they be offended if you said
    ftp <host> thinking that they might also have an ftp server? How about
    telnet? Would they interpret this as a "port scan" or an unauthorized attempt
    to "probe" their system? Every attempt to communicate is subject to
    interpretation.

    By being connected, you can be assumed to have granted others the right
    to talk to your system by way of ping, or other means of inquiry. Where
    do you draw the line between normal talk between hosts and unwelcome
    probing?

    Cracking is like the old saying about obscenity. It's hard to define,
    but
    I know it when I see it
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  7. #7
    AntiOnline Senior Member souleman's Avatar
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    Cracking is breaking copywrite protction on software. Anyone that says that hacking into a machine and causeing damage is cracking and not hacking, is just trying to justify something. Its one of the oldest arguments in the last 15 years for hackers, and its all the same thing. using the term cracker is, in my opinion, quite stupid if you are talking about unauthorized access to a computer.

    And this has been discussed enough on here to make anyon sick.
    \"Ignorance is bliss....
    but only for your enemy\"
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  8. #8
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    Where do you draw the line between normal talk between hosts and unwelcome probing?
    I draw the line at traffic that is not normally expected by a target machine. Even the mailman is trespassing to some degree when he delivers the mail (oops... mine's a woman). There are implied limits to the degree of access a host is willing to grant. I may allow you into my living room, but entering my bedroom I would call trespassing (despite the fact that it's not locked), and so would most people. I guess the line would be drawn at where you are invited to go and where you are not invited to go. It just requires the application of common sense. If I ftp to a site to see if they have an ftp server, I may be denied anonymous access. This to me would mean that I am not invited there, and any further attempts at accessing it would be the electronic equivalent of trespassing, and therefore illegal and unethical, for whatever purpose.

    As for the difference between a hacker and a cracker? WHO CARES? Would not a skunk by any other name smell as rotten?

    And yes, this has been discussed since the dawn of the telephone, but no, there is still no shortage of opinions on it.
    Government is like fire - a handy servant, but a dangerous master - George Washington
    Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force. - George Washington.

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  9. #9
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    "They say I should keep my system secure and up to date, but why? If these people just stopped hacking my computer I wouldn't have to worry about it being secure and up to date. So why should I bother updating it, I have the right not to"

    Your prof is living in fantasy land ,with candy cane trees and chocolate dogs. Some people are good, some people can be bad and kids can be little bastards(i was one). That is just the way it is and it will always be forever and ever and really, what fun would life and the world be if everyone was perfect. Its kind nice though that such naivetiey still exists in anyone over the age of 6.
    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    The international ban against torturing prisoners of war does not necessarily apply to suspects detained in America\'s war on terror, Attorney General John Ashcroft told a Senate oversight committee
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