[ISN] Hackers, Friend or Foe?

From: mea culpa (jerichot_private)
Date: Tue Apr 28 1998 - 22:52:24 PDT

  • Next message: mea culpa: "[ISN] Call for Papers - 8th USENIX Security Symposium"

    (09/15/97; 9:00 a.m. EDT)
    By Douglas Hayward, TechWire
    With every public release of the newest browsers from Microsoft and
    Netscape Communications, hackers around the world scurry to their PCs,
    route out bugs, and report them to the vendors. 
    Simultaneously, network administrators around the world are shoring up
    their defenses, hoping to keep some of these very same hackers out of
    their systems. 
    Hackers: Are they public servants or malicious criminals? The answer may
    depend on which side of the PC you're sitting. 
    "Hacking is a state of mind, not just the activity of breaking into
    computer systems," says Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch former hacker who now helps
    manage an ISP.  "It can mean sitting behind a computer all night to see if
    you can make a clever program to perform some useful or useless function." 
    Not any more. During the past few years, hacking has irreversibly become
    equated with criminality and malicious damage to IS systems. Hackers have
    been mythologized, demonized, and blamed for a spectacular range of
    cybercrimes and invasions of privacy. 
    Some hackers argue that there's a distinction between harmful and harmless
    hacking. The latter is the cyber equivalent of zero-impact camping on
    someone else's land, and is sometimes known as "look-see"  hacking.
    Hackers say that unauthorized entry to a network doesn't have to involve
    harming that network or stealing intellectual property. 
    "Assuming we use the traditional definition of hackers as people who love
    to explore the hidden depths of computing systems, we can distinguish
    between harmful and harmless hacking," argues Andrew Rathmell, deputy
    director of the International Center for Security Analysis at London
    "The dividing line comes when hackers disrupt other people's uses of
    computing systems, in which cases they may be doing harm to others. But
    while harm is easy to define at one extreme -- causing physical or logical
    damage to systems, denying service, and so on -- it is harder to define at
    other levels," Rathmell says.  "For example, does making [unauthorized]
    use of a network's unused computing power harm that network?" 
    Part 2: Should hacking be considered a civil or criminal offense? 
    [See site for rest of article...]
    Subscribe: mail majordomot_private with "subscribe isn".
    Today's ISN Sponsor: Dimensional Communications (www.dim.com)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Apr 13 2001 - 12:52:01 PDT