Sunday, February 19, 2012

Who is a hacker? Explain what is meant by “the hacker ethic” with the help of a contemporary example.

A hacker is a person who breaks into computers and computer networks, either for profit or motivated by the challenge. The term "hacker" originally meant someone messing about with something in a positive sense, that is, using playful cleverness to achieve a goal. But the meaning of the term shifted over the decades since it first came into use in a computer context and became to refer to computer criminals.

In early 1970s hacker culture can be traced towards more beneficial forms of hacking, including MIT labs or the Home-brew Computer Club, which later resulted in such things as early personal computers or the open source movement. With the emergence personal computer and networking, formed a new subculture in computer underground called computer hackers. The computer hackers no longer did beneficial developments to the technology, but they instead started cracking into unauthorised systems, accessing unauthorised data and creating computer virus. They gave rise to so called the 'black hat hackers' who is like the bad person, and was no way beneficial in making computers better. While the 'white hat hackers' are those who stick to so called the hackers ethic and use hacking techniques to make computers better and useful.

A good example of a hacker can be Adrian Lamo. He is a 'Gray hat' hacker as in a mixture white and black hat hackers. He broke into several high-profile computer networks, including those of The New York Times, Yahoo!, and Microsoft, after which he was arrested. His family constantly kept shifting so he did not make many close friends in his childhood. He was tested out of high school an year early. Like any other hacker he had a poor social life in high school. He is also called 'homeless hacker', as he spends all the time couch surfing, travelling to internet cafés, squatting in abandoned buildings, one can say he felt his home in the machine he is using. For hackers, their relationship with computers can be described in on of their phrase

I control you You're inside me.”

This attitude of hackers are reflected in their real life relationships also, Lamo was no exception. An ex-girlfriend of Lamo's described him as "very controlling," stating, "He carried a stun gun, which he used on me.".

Hacker ethic is the generic phrase which describes the values and philosophy that are standard in the hacker community. Steven Levy as describes hacker ethic in his book titled Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, written in 1984. According to which a hacker people should have total access to the computers and all information is free. It also asks to mistrust authority and promote decentralization. It considers a hack an art and speaks about how a computer can change your life to make it better. Adrine Lamo was no exception to following these ethics, Lamo hacked into The New York Times to research on high profile subjects. He has been constantly funding and supporting Wikileakes. This expresses his lack of trust in authority and how he wants to access information for free. When he was questioned about his actions, he glamorizing crime by stating,

Anything I could say about my person or my actions would only cheapen what they have to say for themselves.”

It is also interesting to note that he Lamo informed US Army authorities that Bradley Manning confessed to leaking the video footage of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike incident in Iraq to Wikileaks.

Regarding this he said:

"I wouldn’t have done this if lives weren’t in danger... [Manning] was in a war zone and basically trying to vacuum up as much classified information as he could, and just throwing it up into the air."

Eventually he broke the hackers ethic by reporting to authorities. Hence there was an upper limit for him beyond which the Hackers ethics were void.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please Stop Spamming , Swearing And Abusing.

Recommended Post Slide Out For Blogger