http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7-296267,00.html [I like the one quote "I've never seen a cyber-criminal drive up in a Porsche, but I've seen lots of people in the computer industry making lots of money". Apparently this fellow has never heard about being caller #102 and winning the Porsche. :) - WK] by Stefanie Marsh May 15, 2002 They are often described as 'cyber-vandals', yet hackers claim they are driven not by malice, but by intellectual curiosity and a hunger for power If he were so inclined, kp could hack into your bank account, access your personal e-mails or shut down your computer from a distance. At a push, he claims, he could hack into your medical records and insert the letters HIV+ under the "any serious illnesses" category. "That would seriously f*** up your insurance policy, wouldn't it? Perhaps even your life," he says. So far he hasn't "seriously f***ed up" anybody's life but the knowledge that he could gives him a warm glow. It's nice to know that all those years in front of his computer have yielded him such power. By day kp is a reasonably well-paid systems operator. The moment he gets home, he becomes a black-hat hacker - or cyber-criminal, -vandal or -terrorist, if you prefer. Black-hat hackers such as kp (his "handle") use their computer knowledge with malicious intent. Why does he do it? "Because I'm morally bankrupt and I don't give a f*** about being caught," he says. kp already has a criminal record for obtaining goods fraudulently. This was more than ten years ago when, aged 16, his friend "Enigma" taught him how to hack into the phone network and obtain free calls. Despite the upset with the law, "phone phreaking" remains kp's true love. He claims to have control over 50,000 lines. His aim: to dominate the entire network. kp talks fondly about the time he shut down the lines between England and Scotland for three seconds. "I can listen in on calls, reroute them, anything. I could shut down the emergency services. I wouldn't do it, but you've got to realise how serious an issue this is." Bob Ayers, head of the computer security company @stake, agrees that hacking is serious but prefers the term "delinquent little weasel b*****s" to black hats. As a former project director for the US Department of Defence, Ayers has spent almost 20 years trying to put people like kp behind bars. "People think of these cyber criminals as cute little blond boys who break into computers to change their grade in mathematics," he says. "That just isn't accurate. They are thugs. They ruin your credit ratings, steal identities, steal intellectual property or deface websites so they can brag to their friends." Although the FBI has identified the average black hat as 26 years old, white and male, Ayers points out that there are anomalies. He recalls being called in to one British financial institution whose computer system had been attacked by a particularly lethal virus, introduced into the company by an employee: not, as it turned out, a hard-done-by underling, but a senior manager bent on discrediting the head of systems. What Ayers fails to acknowledge is the significant proportion of black hats whose motives are relatively "innocent". Teenage newcomers or "script-kiddies", might get their intellectual kicks from trespassing on a company's network without any malicious intent. Dr K, once a black-hat hacker and now author of The Complete Hacker's Handbook, thinks the vast majority of black hats are under 16 and "poking about". Furthermore, "if you can't keep a teenager out of your network, whose fault is that?" "Computer crime is exaggerated," he says, often by those who might profit from reinforcing the security of a company's network. "I've never seen a cyber-criminal drive up in a Porsche, but I've seen lots of people in the computer industry making lots of money. The best security experts have all been black hats at some point." (Ayers insists that few black hats swap sides.) However, kp has no intention of quitting. For his next stunt, he plans to sabotage the enormous video screens at a football stadium by interrupting the live coverage with a huge picture of his best friend's backside. He looks down on the "scriptkiddies" for their greenness, and cyber-activists (many of whom use kp's programs to hack into sites) for bringing politics back into illegal hacking. "There are a lot of people who feel that they need to justify their actions and adopt a critical political stance: 'I'm Leninist. I believe the state should be smashed", that kind of thing. They lack the guts to do it for the sake of doing it. "Hacking for me is a control thing. The initial buzz is the most amazing feeling, but you know that you're not going to be happy unless you gain more control. I'm still going to be hacking when the police break down my door." - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email email@example.com with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu May 16 2002 - 03:41:37 PDT