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The Evolution Of A Hacker

The term "hacker" has been associated with stigma and very many negative meanings. Hackers have been associated with doing all the malicious things that happen in the technology world. But far from that school of thought, hackers have been able to contribute a lot to the security of networks and websites. Hacking on a positive sense has a lot to contribute to the technology world and has been a niche which many internet security corporations used and have built their businesses upon. The hacker has been known as a curious mind, an individual who is tech savvy and a person who is able to apply innovative and deductive reasoning. These are for the people who have been able to embrace technology and the potential that exists through business. The IT security companies as earlier mentioned are but one of the groups of people who utilize positive hacking to help online entrepreneurs and all other online property. They will utilize their hacking knowledge to identify vulnerabilities that exist on a website, an operating system or any other network. This kind of expertise is referred white hat or ethical hacking and the practice of identifying vulnerabilities is in itself called the penetration test. They will not stop at identifying the risk but the ethical hacker will go ahead and utilize their programming knowledge to seal the loophole.  The penetration test is done on systems to lower the incidence of security breaches and ensure that all data on a network remains secure. Other smaller tasks achieved using the ethical hacking method are those of an individual working o this own website or system to identify loopholes and work on them. It becomes a learning process through which skills are learnt and honed.

On the other hand, the mind of a hacker has greatly analyzed and talked about due to the great damage that they have visited upon websites and networks. This has been irrespective of the fact that some of the websites are sensitive like those belonging to government, security agencies, public infrastructure websites and networks and the privately owned websites by individual and corporations. This kind of negative hacking has been termed as criminal since it infringes of regulations and laws that govern what should go on within the technology industry. The intent on the minds of the hackers is also criminal for those who have caused severe harm and unprecedented mass destruction of intellectual property and infrastructure.  Black hat hackers will expose the loopholes and further exploit these loopholes to their own malicious and mischievous ends. This is what has caused very many problems in the IT world. Rogue and malicious minds whose intent is to wreck havoc. The most notorious hackers have been the organized gangs of cyber criminal gangs and teenagers. The younger minds are most dangerous since most of them will be so driven into doing a lot of damage just for the thrill of it or out of lack of proper knowledge.
A look through history has many incidences which have been recorded and that caused irreparable damage or serious financial implication or yet serious security implications depending on the systems and networks that were infiltrated.  These groups of people have simply been termed as criminal who have been hunted down and had criminal charges leveled against them. These people have been variously referred to as intruders, the virus writer, criminals and all other different titles. They target to get information which is either leaked to the public, information to shut down the operations of a system, information regarding credit card details and the bank account information used to defraud people while others will do all these acts just to prove of ability penetrating security establishments in a system. Research has found that hackers are usually the white male between the ages of 12 years and 30 years. Most of these people will lack social skills and they end up locking themselves doing all these terrible actions. Other hackers are people who were faced by psychological torture and trauma or even sexual abuse.
Here is a simple timeline to the activities of hackers from fifty years ago,
-        In the 1960's, huge mainframe computers owned by universities like those in MIT become platforms for hackers. During the time, hacking was a positive term for a person with a mastery of computers.
-        John Draper a computer fanatic way back in 1971 who discovered that the sharp audio tone which could tap the telephone line and make long distance calls free of charge. He was convicted of crimes concerned with tampering of public infrastructure.
-        Computer gurus Steve Wozniak and Steve Job in 1975 made devices which were based on the inventions of John Draper when they were still members of the Homebrew Computer Club. They made the blue boxes to hack into the phone system. Two years later they were to start apple computers.
-        Due to the increased incidences of hacking, acts and regulations were passed that were to safeguard technology systems. Thus in 1986, The Congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
-        Now in 1987, a teenager 17 year old Herbert Zinn was able to hack the AT&T computer network. He was arrested for the crime after admitting to doing it from his bedroom. He was just about to bring down the whole system.
-        The same year a computer virus called brain was released which was not harmful but was a feature in hard drives as a small MS-DOS file.
-        A hacker by the name Robert Morris a Cornell University graduate released a replicating virus which shut down so many UNIX systems. He was convicted for the crimes. With this event having almost crippled internet networks, a computer emergency response team was started to investigate cyber crimes.
-        An intrusion into US University and government IT systems is noted in 1989. It was done by five West Germans. They were arrested for espionage and convicted for selling information to the KGB.
-        In 1991, a group of Dutch teenagers hacked the computer network of the Defense Department stealing information which was being used during the gulf war.
-        Two hackers "Data Stream" and "Kuji" in 1994 broke into several hundred computer systems, including NASA and the Korean Atomic Research Institute. After a lengthy manhunt, detectives from Scotland Yard finally arrest Data Stream but not Kuji.
-        At different times in 1995, two different events happened. Vladimir Levin a Russian hacker was able to break into the computer systems of Citibank. Estimates stand at $3.7-$10 million of the money stolen. He was able to transfer funds to different accounts before being arrested extradited and convicted. Then Kevin Mitnick, a well-known hacker, is arrested for security violations and stealing private information.
-        AOHell a virus is released wrecking havoc on the America Online and its users. The virus brought down all services and flooded the inboxes of users with spam messages. This was in 1997.
-        In March of 1999, a hacker MagicFX broke into the popular online auction site E-Bay and perpetrated so many changes including changing the front page and changing auction prices, posting fake products for sale, and diverting traffic to other sites.
-        In 2000 at the turn of the millennium, a research was released by the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center found that there are more than thirty thousand viruses out there and with projections of a virus being released into the it world about every hour.
-        In February, some popular websites, including Yahoo,,, E-Bay, and CNN are hacked via denial of service attacks that overloaded the servers with so many information requests that brought them down.
-        In November, MoRE a Norwegian hacker group cracks a key which is used to decode copy-protected DVDs. The group created a DVD decoder program, which was widely distributed for free on the internet creating a lot of uproar.
Events have continued to happen to happen even to this day. Groups like Anonymous and Lulz have dominated headlines as hackers from these groups and their affiliates have taken over headlines with their activities. They have hacked websites and threatened to do more harm as members of the group are hunted down.
Even with the continuing debate about the hackers and the many schools of thoughts for and against, it is agreed that hackers have had an impact on the IT world. Despite their rogue actions, hackers have had a role in the advancement of technology. Many inventions have come alongside by breaks into system by the virtue that they identify gaps in technology and work to seal them.

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