Why aren't computer hackers more rampant?

What with more and more homes having one or more computers contained therein, and more lil kiddies raised with them I would think that there would be an aboundance of really good computer hackers out there in the world. I realize that the really good comp hackers are going to be hard to find, most mediocre ones will survive a few years before getting busted, and the lamer ones will get caught before they do any real damage.

I guess what I’m asking is why isn’t it really hitting the fan out there? The local comp guy, who started about 13 years ago had one or two helpers. Now he has a huge staff of programers and repair people working for him, most of whom barely graduated high school (but they can write code like you wouldn’t believe). Now, not to seems jaded, but the youth of today seem far more morally bankrupt than the people I graduated with in 87 (and we were far from angels), so what keeps these kids from hacking into systems that we comp illiterates don’t even know exists?

The anarchist spirit is not thriving amongst the kids. Best we can do is feign cynicism. :wink:

Ill keep this short.

The laws and the talent.

It takes alot more than a Mac and AOL to learn to become a hacker. Ever try reading 2600? I sometimes do just to see whats up in the hacker world. For the most part, no one wants to be the next Kevin Metnick. Almost all of the really talented hackers (who arnt in jail) are now working to protect networks from their once so-called brethren.

As for myself? After taking both a C and linux class, I realized I hate working on computers.

-x out

Er, yea. For one, it is hard. I mean, anyone can learn what it takes, but it is hard to be good enough to not get caught. Hence the popular term “script kiddies,” which most laypeople call “hacking.” These are the poeple who take part in the amateur hacking, if you will. They use programs and methods made by other people to automatically do things. No one is impressed with this.

For the most part, a lot of the talent is directed at more productive enterprises - making programs (especially for Linux), or if you want to be all evil, in “cracking” legal software, making emulators, and the like. A good hacker can make a name for himself in the hacking community, as dangerous a place to try to get into in the first place as it is, but just making a profram and having everyone lub j00 on Freshmeat is easier.

Granted, there is a huge underground… but they are more likely to be involved in hacking systems for one of two reasons: Aggressive attack, such as theft or disabling a system, or just because. Making minor changes to major corporate sites is the graffiti of this generation… hell, often times, hackers hack just for the glee in pointing out to a multi-billion dollar corporation that they beat them.

These people wouldn’t be interested in going around hacking little sites, accessing your computer for porn, or whatever they’re accused of. They have many ways to get credit card numbers, and too much risk involved in hacking everything daily. The more you do, the bigger a target you become.

And a good chunk of them just aren’t interested in it, for whatever reasons.

zombie dude13 writes:

> Now, not to seems jaded, but the youth of today seem far
> more morally bankrupt than the people I graduated with in 87
> (and we were far from angels), so what keeps these kids from
> hacking into systems that we comp illiterates don’t even know
> exists?

You are jaded. Come on, you’re 32 years old, so it’s too early to turn into a cranky old man who goes around mumbling about the low morals of these kids today.

Remember true hackers are in it for the “ART.” They enjoy it. Like the ancients liked making algorithims.

Where I work people say “You’re so good with computers you could find out anything” (not true but let them believe it).

If I wanted to find stuff out I could wait till my boss goes home. he always forgets to turn his computer off (creating back up problems). Our General Manager’s password is always a sports team. Credit Cards…Look in the trash, no way I’d EVER get caught.

In short there are easier ways to steal. Do damage it would be easier to pay a homeless guy $5.00 to spill a coke on the server.

Hackers are artists so to speak.

I would have to agree with what most of the posters have said already - it’s dangerous, there are easier ways to cause trouble, and a lot of the “hacking” done today is by “script kiddies” who couldn’t hack their way out of a wet paper bag. However, I would also like to emphasis something touched on by Zagadka and Markxxx - a lot of hackers aren’t out to crash your web server or steal your credit card information, they break in just for the challenge. Most of them would be more than happy to e-mail your local IT people and tell them exactly how they got in, and what they should do to fix it.

It’s the same kind of reasoning that leads people to climb Mt. Everest - you don’t do it just so you can spraypaint “John was here” on the peak, you do it because it’s there.

Since someone is due to come in here and have a fit soon, I’m going to specify in advance of my post that the word “hacker” means “malicious hacker” in this post.

I kinda qualify as a “person who could have been evil, but did not end up that way”. At least with respect to computers. Regardless of the libel written in Livejournals about me, I am neither “evil”, nor a “dumbfuck”.

At one time I could have been a “malicious hacker”. I knew how to write virii, and I had a working Excel Macro function that could have been a malicious virus before I ever heard of one that was released on purpose to cause trouble.

I also knew a large bit of hardware-level programming too. And because of a special assignment I had early on, I knew a few tricks about one brand of ATM machine that could have been seriously tempting.

But I didn’t do any harm with my knowledge. Why? Because I’m not sick and disgusting sociopath or psychopath who enjoys such things as hurting or harassing people, trying to repeatedly access places where they are absolutely not wanted or forbidden, or making people’s lives difficult.

A person I’ve known IRL for more than 15 years is a “true” computer genius. This person is a person who can figure out anything, and is at the level where the only thing keeping them from writing entire operating systems from scratch is lack of time. They have written entire networking protocols from scratch over a long weekend, doing impossible things with PCs and hardware that amazed the vendors themselves. They also have shown an uncanny ability to guess people’s passwords, just by what they know about them. It’s almost like a magician’s act.

They are also an extremely quiet, keep-to-themselves type of person that no one would really suspect would do any harm at all. This sort of person could be planning the end-of-the World nuclear missile silo hacking thing, and no one would ever know.

From the circles I’ve been in, the best and most elite hackers (malicious or otherwise) are the ones you would never suspect. They are discreet in all things, online and off. There is a group of these people who are very public, and who live to be “Net Celebrities.” I guess it’s like people on this Board who get a swelled head over being…umm…“popular”, I guess. But in the end, it’s the old “My Mom says I’m the coolest Dungeon Master on the block!” type of thing. Those that brag about it are are not elite.

My understanding of it (from personally knowing hackers) is that to be successful at hacking requires a very creative mind. Therefore hackers tend to be of a creative bent rather than a destructive one.

I think this predisposes them to be less likely to be malicious hackers, because that is effectively “destructive” hacking.

Hackers also seem more motivated by the idea than the execution. Many collect files like people collect stamps or stickers, without any intention of selling them, just the thrill of having something rare. (By files I mean thing like missile plans hacked from military sites. Interestingly, this “rare file” mentality also extends to warez people, again it’s often more about pride than profit for them).

I know a hacker who has come up with a truly brilliant white paper on the most destructive worm you could imagine. From the very little I understand of programming and networking, I can see its potential for sheer world grounding havoc. But he has no plans at all to actually make it, it’s just the concept that fascinates him.

I think because a true hacker - a truly brilliant hacker - knows that ultimate he has all the power at his fingertips, he has full confidence in his abilities, he never has the need to use those abilities to full execution.

But you are an unholy vampire of the night, right? Don’t dissappoint us!

Heh. If my health declines any further, I really will find out if there is such a thing as the lesbian undead.

Then, maybe, I will be evil. But not a dumbfuck. :slight_smile: