Hackers: Heroes or Villains

Harrison Frost, Writer

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Hackers have been hacking or exploiting computer systems,  since the dawn of the internet. Although hackers often have a negative connotation,  they have been both good and bad for the community. In order to dive deeper into the understanding of hackers, I interviewed three people whose jobs require them to work with computers and hackers alike. They include SAFD Battalion Chief Douglass Berry, Schertz Police Chief Michael R. Hansen, and CEO of q2q, a software company, Patrick Frost.

 

Most hackers hack for personal reasons, including trying to make as much money quickly with very little effort. They often steal countless social security numbers, credit card information, and bank accounts.

SAFD Chief  Berry said, “Hackers that do it for malicious or immoral reasons should be punished as any other person who purposely hurts people”.

Identity fraud affects over 15 million Americans each year. Although it may not be a violent crime, it is still very hurtful to people who are targeted and attacked.

Not all hackers have the intention to hurt and harm people. Some hackers use their computers to try and help people. Is this morally right? Or, should they be held to the same standards as hackers whose main intention is to harm people?   A hacker known as “Hunger Strike” hacked into a hospital computer system and caused thousands of dollars in damages. His reason for hacking into the system was because he thought that a patient was being abused and wanted to draw attention to this case.  

When asked if he thought this was a crime that should be punished, Schertz Police Chief Hansen said “ If he had information about an illegal activity there are means to provide that information to law enforcement agencies. There is a process because we, the people,  have decided that there needs to be a process. Those that operate outside of the law, even with good intention, are still in violation.”

Chief Hansen also went on to say, “ it is the purpose of the court system to judge the actions of the individual and decide if they were justified.”

When asked the same question,  software company CEO Patrick Frost stated,   “This should not be tolerated. The reason I believe this is- where does it stop? Can any innuendo or false statement be a reason to hack a system? No. That is why we have search warrants that are based on probable cause and evidence before searches are conducted. The same should apply to digital property.”

Some hackers have been employed by companies and governmental agencies. Many companies actually pay hackers to strengthen their security systems.  According to Patrick Frost, “Companies hire individuals to try and get into their system. This is to identify problems they may have. This is sometimes  called white hat hacking.

” Hackers that work for the government are great tools of war. Hackers that work in the CIA  are key to defeating any technologically advanced government.

So, is hacking good for our society? Are hackers villains or heroes? Chief Berry, Cheif Hansen and Patrick Frost believe that hacking for malicious intent or to take the law into their own hands was wrong. They believe that any grievances should be taken through our court system. It seems that the only good hacker is a hacker that is employed legally by a company or government.

 

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Hackers: Heroes or Villains