E Zine of KV Pattom published by the Library

THE NICE HACKERS By Abhilash Panigrahi

In Articles on September 23, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Most people think of hackers as computer criminals. But, call a real hacker a criminal and believe me, he would do more than lose his temper. Hackers are not computer criminals. Why do people think of hackers as criminals? The media is responsible. The media projects hackers as computer vandals who damage system files and release viruses. And people tend to believe everything the media projects.

Traditionally, hackers were computer geeks who knew almost everything about computers (both hardware and software) and were widely respected for their wide array of knowledge. But over the years, the reputation of the hackers has been steadily going down. Today, they are feared by most people and are looked upon as icons representing the underground community of our population.

Hackers know almost everything about the way software or an application works. They have this unusual habit of finding out the ways of doing the impossible.? They do not accept software applications in the form they are meant to be in. They debug code and use trial and error methods to discover new things. They do try to break into systems but have the decency not to cause damage or steal passwords, credit-card info etc., but instead they report the vulnerability to the system administrator and help him fix the problem. They try to break free from the restrictions and discover new hidden features.

From this we see that hacking is all about knowledge, far from what most people think of them as ?crime activities?. However there is thin line between a ? hacker? (the nice guys) and a ? cracker? (the not-so-nice guys) and not many can resist the temptation of crossing it. The reason why most ? so-called-hackers? cross this thin line is that they want quick popularity. They do so but fail to understand that this popularity is not respect but hatred.

Let me tell you an example which will lead you to the right direction of choosing between ?hacker? and ?cracker?.

There was a 13 year old hacker in the US who with his other hacker friend used to relish programming and hacking. They always enjoyed breaking into each other’s system and proving their superiority. They were both immensely intelligent and had perfect mind needed for business.

These geeks too could have crossed the ?line? and become crackers and do all sorts of stupid things, in effect ruin their lives. But fortunately for them, and also fortunately for us, they did nothing of that sort. Today we know these two kids as Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Both of them as most us know are practically zillionaires.

So guys, it must be clear which direction to choose from here. Either be a ?cracker? become famous among the smaller parts of the society i.e. the underground world, or become ?hacker? and become famous among the much larger part of the society.

So I end it saying:





Abhilash Panigrahi

Class: IX-A

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