[ISN] Hackers Can't Play 007

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Mon Nov 30 1998 - 19:06:36 PST

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    Hackers Can't Play 007
    How meddling amateur "spies" can endanger national security. 
    By Ira Winkler  June 17, 1998
    If you've read Kevin Poulsen's article on the Indian nuclear research
    computer hack, you'd think that those so-called brilliant, unstoppable
    hackers have discovered the vulnerability of computers and nuclear
    technology. Oh gee, what a surprise. 
    Since my roots are in the intelligence community, I'd like to give a
    different, and hopefully more informed perspective than such hacker-philes
    as antionline.com. My problem with these sympathizers-- and the mainstream
    press in general-- is that they make hackers (more accurately crackers)
    out to be experts in international diplomacy and espionage. 
    Just because these people can break into computers does not make them
    experts on anything. As I have repeatedly said, I can train a monkey to
    break into a computer. 
    First, let's look at the repercussions of the hacking. (I use the term
    hacking to describe anyone that breaks into a computer illegally; believe
    me, I know the difference between hacking and cracking.)
    What was accomplished by stealing information of questionable value?  Not
    much, except to inform India that its computers were vulnerable, and to
    let criminals wanting nuclear technology know it's accessible. 
    So India will protect its computers better, and more people will try to
    break in. People all over the world have accused the CIA, NSA, and other
    US intelligence agencies of breaking into computers. However, most of the
    same people also fault the US intelligence community for not being able to
    predict the nuclear testing. 
    But is it possible that US intelligence agencies were already stealing the
    information and not telling people to protect their source of information?
    Practically every expert thinks so. 
    [please see URL for rest of story..]
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