“In the old days, people robbed stagecoaches and knocked off armored trucks. Now they're knocking off servers.” -Richard Power
Several months ago, a hacker removed my husband’s yahoo email address book. I don’t mean they simply copied the info—after sending spam to every name listed, the data was wiped out as though the book never existed. It wasn’t the end of the world and he had the means for retrieving the lost information but it’s the senselessness of the act that bothers me. As a writer, my computer is my lifeline and to think someone can just sneak in and snatch something away is more than disturbing to me.
What makes a person take this sort of action against someone they do not know? What do they get out of it? Does it make them feel smarter than the rest of us? Are they actually proud of their achievements? Does it give them a thrill? I haven’t found all the answers yet but I did come across a couple of good articles on the subject.
I also learned that that virus writers and hackers are two completely separate groups. Virus writers, according to the article 7 Things to Know About Virus Writers, are predominately under the age of 30 and male. Their purposes vary from exploring code, to gaining notoriety or making some sort of political/social/personal statement. Their targets are generally random. The article goes on to say that it’s not that difficult to write a virus. Now that little tidbit is scary to me.
The article Hackers and Hacking by Doug Smith describes hackers as “…ordinary people with a great deal of curiosity, above-average skills with a computer, a good understanding of human nature, and plenty of time to kill.” According to the article there are arguments in favor of hacking (which was an eye-opener for me) as well as against. He gives some good advice on protecting yourself as well as a list of resources to stay current on new threats and to learn about tools that can protect your data.
Personally I think the argument in favor of hacking was pretty weak. To me there is no excuse for doing something that causes so many people so much distress. Hacking into anything that is not yours is no different than breaking into someone’s house or car. Planting a virus that causes a computer to crash or programs to be destroyed is like a form of arson without a match. I think offenders should be punished just like any other criminal.
What are your views? Do you have a hacking or virus story to share?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Richard Power, Hackers, Virus, Yahoo, address book, spam,