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Hackers: Outlaws and Angels Essay

Outlaws and Angels is a very interesting documentary that outlines the technology and intelligence that has permeated the hacker community. Hackers is someone who breaks into computers and computer networks, either for profit or motivated by the challenge. The subculture that has evolved around hackers is often referred to as the computer underground but is now an open community. Ian Murphy, also known as Captain Zap, is said to have done the ‘greatest hack ever’. Was the first cracker to be tried and convicted as a felon. Murphy broke into AT&T’s computers in 1981 and changed the internal clocks that metered billing rates. People were getting late-night discount rates when they called at midday. Of course, the bargain-seekers who waited until midnight to call long distance were hit with high bills.

Murphy, now the chairman of IAM/Secure Data System, was the inspiration for the movie “Sneakers.” Another story about hacking is when the famous movie Star Wars first came out, hundreds and thousands of people have to wait in line for hours to watch it. But a group of hackers have watched it and spreads it in the internet for about a week before the premiere. They successfully hacked the Star Wars database and took the movie data. So at first the term hacker referred to just people who breaks computer security. But later ‘hacker’ splits to two main sides. The Black Hats and the White Hats. A white hat hacker breaks security for non-malicious reasons, for instance testing their own security system.

This classification also includes individuals who perform penetration tests and vulnerability assessments within a contractual agreement. Often, this type of ‘white hat’ hacker is called an ethical hacker. The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants, also known as the EC-Council has developed certifications, courseware, classes, and online training covering the diverse arena of Ethical Hacking. A black hat is the villain or bad guy, especially in a western movie in which such a character would wear a black hat in contrast to the hero’s white hat.

A black hat hacker, sometimes called “cracker,” is someone who breaks computer security without authorization or uses technology usually a computer, phone system or network for malicious reasons such as vandalism, credit card fraud, identity theft, piracy, or other types of illegal activity. After learning much about hackers and internet security, we now know that the internet isn’t the safest place and that we need protection as much as we can. The least we can do right now is to keep our own system safe. Little things like keeping a strong password, not sharing any account with somebody else can help in improving our security.


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