Summer 2004 - Issue 16
Make Me Sick
Hacking and Cracking
Please Be Seated!
There are hackers all over the world hacking and cracking into computers, businesses, e-mail accounts, FTP accounts, and web sites. When they hijack machines, hackers conduct DOS attacks and send spam from other computers. The real definition of a hacker is one who bypasses security measures to get to information that is not displayed at public. Although that harm does not appear once in the definition, it is inferred that all hackers are intending to do harm to computer users.
All over the world, people have claimed and stated that hackers have infected their computers with viruses, trojans, and other such objects. But what is the evidence that they have really had such an experience? How do they know that it was a hacker that got onto their computer, but not an email that they accidentally opened? All around the world, people are mistaking the actions of a hacker with the horrible minds of those who are intent on destroying the world that they live in.
Some people, however, do not think that hackers are bad. Some people actually believe that hackers are quite "hip" and "slick".
Spencer H. states, "I think a hacker is a slick guy with mad computer skills."
Although people do believe that hackers aren't always bad, there are those that still believe in the media stereotype of a hacker. They believe every bad thing they hear and think that a hacker will always try to destroy systems and computers. Not many people disagree with this idea.
Charles G. summarizes the complicated definition of a hacker as someone who goes into your computer system and ruins it.
Derek A., who agrees with Charles, said he believes a hacker is someone who breaks into someone's computer and messes it up. However Derek thinks that hackers are horrible people; he claims that he has gotten a virus. He also believes that there was no way that a hacker put it there, but that he got it from the music downloading program, WinMX. Michael G. has also gotten a virus which he claims that he got from e-mails and downloads. Michael's definition of a hacker is a person who gets into programs and other people's computers.
There are several people who believe that hacking is bad and that hackers will ruin your computer. Some people, however, don't really seem to care if their web site or computer is hacked.
"A hacker is someone who cracks codes and hacks into the web sites and gets private information...you know, baby...stuff like that," stated Quinn G. when asked for the definition of a hacker. Quinn has also gotten viruses, but he, like Derek, claims he got it from downloading music. Mitchell S. seemed to be indifferent. He says, "A hacker is someone who takes account money and stuff. It also rhymes with cracker."
If people think that hackers are extremely dangerous and bad, why do they refuse to install precautionary programs on their computer? It really makes no sense. These people are always saying that hackers are dangerous, but they are not doing anything to stop the "threat" of a hacker.
"I haven't really thought about it. I don't really care." This was Derek A.'s statement when asked if he put any precautions on his computer. Quinn G. said, "Not really...I probably should protect myself from crazy people like that."
Statements like those sometimes make one think that hackers don't have to put much effort into destroying other people's computers. Computer owners who have been hacked are always blaming the sick mindedness of hackers. Yet they are not putting any precautions on their computer. Who can really blame the hacker when the computer owner does nothing to prevent stealing, hacking, or cracking?
Michael G. on the other hand, does try to protect his computer. "I put up a firewall protection and closed all open ports."
But then again, installing precautions takes time. Some people do not have the time to put up these programs.
Stephen R. concludes his answer of victims by saying, "I think my computer is a target because a hacker might just try and hack into random persons' computers or send a virus to random computers." Michael G., however, says ,"My computer is not a target because there are not many important things on my computer." Mitchell S. agrees with Michael and says, "No, it's not a target because there is nothing on it."
Derek A. commented, "The desktop is a target because there is a lot of downloading stuff and lots of Internet." Evidently, Derek thinks that a computer is a victim if it has good software or if its passwords are important to web sites and businesses.
There is no reason that a computer should be vulnerable to attack from hackers and crackers. There are hundreds and thousands of anti-hacker, anti-spyware, and virus programs on the internet. At least 85% of these programs are successful in preventing computers from being hacked or cracked. Examples of these programs are Spybot: Search and Destroy, PC-cillin, and AVG Anti-Virus. Many other programs that are free can be found at http://grc.com/freepopular.htm and http://www.panvasoft.com. The two sites also have several file recovery programs. These programs help recover "casualty files of viruses".
All anti-hacker programs should have an option called real-time protection. This option allows the program to scan all files written to the system rather than just scanning the computer. Another issue with anti-hacker programs is that users must always keep the program updated. Besides making sure that there are no infected files on the computer, users must check that their computer is free of spyware. Spyware records activity on computers and sends them to remote locations. Hackers who use spyware can record habits and have access to Internet cookies.
A step that all internet users should take is to install the firewall on their computer before thinking about going on the internet. Under no circumstances should Internet users take off their firewall. They should not even do this when anti-hacking or cracking programs are up and running. Firewalls make a hackers job a recorded 10 times more difficult than it is without the firewall.
In conclusion, computer users are open to hacking and cracking when they do not have firewalls. -- Bryan C.