Hacking started in the ‘70s when a group of friends decided to tap into phone lines and make calls for free. Those people were called Phone Phreaks, a group of young men who twisted technology and used their technological know-how to create simpler solutions to complicated problems. What started as an intrinsically good past time slowly became a form of pranksterism. The Phone Phreaks soon held phone conferences from everywhere in the world. However, Telephone companies were less than delighted, and phone tapping became a crime.
As more and more Phone Phreaks got persecuted for these crimes, the movement stopped, and the Phone Phreaks were almost of the extrinct race. However, the sensibilities of trying to one-up learned engineers and big corporations did not die down. A couple years passed and the same Phone Phreaks discovered a new form of technology to “play” with: the computer. And the exact same people who started and led Phone Phreak conferences were the people who started hacking computers, a new revolutionary product that everyone wanted to have.
Back then, computers really did not have any practical purpose at home, but for a hacker, the simple joy of watching the screen light up, and looking at moving blobs of colors were enough. However, with the advent of the internet, everything changed. When the internet was first used, all the information was open for everyone to use and manipulate. However, with the internet slowly becoming a place of business and transactions, where a lot of personal and, supposedly, confidential information about people and companies are stored, hackers posed as a huge threat
What started as a hobby of manipulating electronics to prank people and find easier solutions for common problems turned into something more serious. While Phone Phreaking in the 70s was encouraged as somewhat of an exercise of the mind, computer hacking was a far different story. Computer hackers did not stop at pranking people; they started to use information they gained from hacking government and corporate computers. Hacking became a crime.
According to PCWorld. About. com, some people even rigged phone systems to win two Porsches and other prizes at a radio contest. This poses an ethical problem that has always been a problem in society since the beginning of time: stealing. No matter what mode they use, may it be as blatant as rigging telephone lines to win prizes, or as furtive as stealing an identity to escape prosecution by the law, it is still all considered stealing.
Taking someone else’s property, and using the results of someone else’s hard work (without permission, and through deceit) to your advantage is very unethical, and is one of the most basic things society teaches us not to do, no matter how hard times may be. Somehow, hackers forget that what they do is stealing, because they are too focused on breaking down systems and trying to outsmart companies and electronics. Hackers are intelligent people, yet instead creating their own products and reap the fruits of their own labor, they do the opposite, and use their skills and abilities to take advantage of other people’s weaknesses.