Re: [ISN] Delaware college student charged with hacking university system to

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Jul 19 2002 - 08:56:45 PDT

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    Forwarded from: rferrellat_private
    > According to an affidavit filed by Officer Charles J. Wilson, Insler
    > called human resources employees at the school and requested a new
    > password for each instructor, then logged into the system.
    > Insler also gained access to the system by guessing another
    > teacher's password, according to court documents.
    Sigh.  This is *not* hacking.  It is simple social engineering.  
    Hacking involves an indepth technical knowledge of a system.  Typing a
    password into a password box involves the use of one finger.  If using
    one finger is hacking, then I hack every time I read an article like
    What is it going to take to get people to stop redefining the term
    "hacking"  for every new story?  It's beginning to degenerate into
    meaninglessness.  As it stands, "hacking" seems to mean "using
    computer equipment," although the Merriam-Webster Collegiate
    Dictionary now has as one of the meanings of hack "to gain access to a
    computer illegally."  By this absurd definition, jimmying open a door
    to get into a locker where a Palm is stored is "hacking."
    I'd like to remind members of the press and the lexicographical
    community that one of the original meanings of the verb "to hack" was
    "to communicate in a mediocre or unprofessional manner."
    Ergo, people who misuse the term "hacking" are themselves hackers. In
    other words, virtually every literate (and I use the term with its
    broadest possible interpretation) person on the planet is a hacker.  
    If we're all hackers, calling someone a hacker is a simple redundancy,
    so the practice should be discontinued. This argument makes as much
    sense as any of the others used to rationalize misuse of the term.
    I've employed the following quote before, but I think it bears
    repeating every so often:
         Ill fares the land, to galloping fears a-prey
         When gobbledygook accumulates, and words decay.
      --James Thurber, who was definitely *not* a hacker
    Robert G. Ferrell
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