DAA Daily

Your information is at risk right now

Luka Vukovic
Staff Reporter
The Pawprint

Your computer is at risk of being hacked right now. Hacking has been around almost ever since personal computers sold all around the globe, and has been an omnipresent threat that slips the minds of everyone until it happens to them. Recently, an exposed security hole in all Intel processors has become known and has sparked discussion on how much we should trust where we keep our personal information and how we use computers.

Because of the recent issues that have surfaced with Intel, many people are afraid of their information being stolen. But there are many organisations that can still prevent it, as well as many “white hat” hackers who do good and help people to keep safe from identity and information thieves.

The term “hacker” originated in MIT in the 1960’s where highly skilled programmers were working in older languages such as FORTRAN extremely seriously. These people were developing new software and new ways to use or bypass certain measures in those software at an incredible rate, and are considered to be the “forefathers” of hacking. In short time, the word hacker began to be used a lot, without most knowing the actual meaning behind it’d, and plastering it in as a compliment to people who were good with computers or “geeks” and “nerds”. I’m 1969, Ken Thompson, a Bell Labs employee, invented UNIX and essentially changed the computing industry for years. And the following year, in 1970, Dennis Ritchie invented the programming language “C”, made to work with UNIX, and it became popular extremely quickly. Around the same time, a network known as ARPANET was founded by the US Department of Defense to link government offices and eventually became what is known as the internet now.

Hacking as it is known now, to be dangerous and a criminal act, really began in the 1980’s when a group called the “414s” were one of the first hacker groups to be raided by the FBI and faced with 60 charges of their hacking. Many such hackers were exchanging info and ideas through UNIX machines and the Secret Service was granted jurisdiction on credit and computer fraudery and violations. During this time however, hacking was not yet a known threat as it is now. To be one was similar to being in a cult, a secluded and secretive group who only let in certain people. The two most notorious hacker groups around this time were known as “The Legion of Doom” and “Chaos Computer Club”, based in the USA and Germany respectively and are still widely recognised and even feared by some today.

Towards the end of the 1980’s, many people in the US came to realize what hackers could do, and decided to take extra measures on security when a man named Kevin Mitnick was arrested and trialed for  stealing software and information as well as damaging computers. In the same year, the LOD were raided in Atlanta where some of them still resided. They are still recognized now as old-school hackers.

In the 1990’s, Kevin Mitnick was again arrested after he was tracked down by Tsutomu Shimomura, his trials were the most publicized hacker trials in history.  As time progressed, many like him discovered ways to exploit security failures and holes in local systems as well as remote, such as the new problem that Intel had exposed themselves. As time progressed, so did the methods that many hackers found to exploit different systems. As technology became updated, various companies had their “White Hat” hackers look through them to find weaknesses and exploits that others may have used maliciously so they could patch them before release. In addition to these software hackers, there are also people known as “crackers” who illegally download and manipulate software for free and distribute it to others on websites such as “Pirate Bay” along with “phreakers” who manipulate phones and systems like such. In the beginning however, this was all out of curiosity to see how the systems worked and how they did it.

Ever since the 2000’s, many people, especially teens, became interested in hacking, many turning to malicious uses of software and harming other networks, one such person was Jonathan Hames, who became the first juvenile to be arrested for hacking.  In February of 2001, a Dutch hacker released what is known as the “Anna Kournikova” virus, which prompts the receiver to open and infected and corrupted file which showed a lewd picture of the Russian tennis star, in order to release a virus on their computer.

One of the biggest and most destructive hackings in history was carried out in 2012 by an Iranian group called “The Cutting Sword of Justice”  against Saudi Aramco, and crippled over 35,000 of their computers, stopping business for months with a virus called Shamoon. Just a year later, the social networking site Tumblr was hacked and 65 million emails and passwords were leaked, this was confirmed by Troy Hunt.

The most common hacks in modern day involve a group finding and releasing previously unreleased episodes of shows or illegally distributing games, music and movies to the general public for free, causing loss of money for the companies who made or own the data. In addition, many hackers use “ransomware” to hold identity and information from people in order to receive money if the owner wants it back.

Recently, many countries have strived for a “coding society” as it is seen as the way of the future, with massive amounts of the society having this coding ability of various levels, some are then motivated to start hacking, which is the dangerous side of having the ability to code. This results in a society who are motivated for various reasons to begin hacking to take action on various companies and software, and since they are not experienced enough to hide their tracks properly, many of them gain criminal records.

Many people of this category are driven to commit “computer crimes” for anything from pranking to getting revenge on people. As almost everybody in modern day society has access to technology capable of various tasks, it is possible for anybody to begin hacking which can be a major problem to schools if a certain student didn’t like his grades, said student could hack into the database in order to raise them and, with luck, go unnoticed, as the security systems in most schools are not advanced enough to detect something that a determined and skilled hacker could do, which poses a major problem for education systems in the modern world as everything now is so dependant on electronics, in particular, computers, which many students have access to.

 

Hacking has been a major problem ever since the 1980’s, with many large scale cyber crimes being committed by individuals and large groups alike such as the “Legion of Doom” and other similar groups. Hacking goes from stealing money and identity to simply finding a password, but originated from simple curiosity from skilled students.

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