English III Honors
14 December 2012
Computer Hacking is Ethical
Computer hacking is a term that most everyone in today’s society is familiar with. When the average person hears news about computer hacking, most likely they think about cyber-crimes, website defacements, or knocking various websites offline. This inaccurate description is just the image that today’s media creates. In reality, true hackers are much different. Computer hacking is not the only type of hacking in today’s society. Hacking actually originated from phreaking, which is the art of cracking a telephone network (“A Brief History of Computer Hacking”). Hacking is seen as being blackhat, or wrong, when hacking can also be beneficial to the world. There are different types of computer hackers: “Hacktivists,” ones who hack to express a political opinion, “Hobbyist” hackers, those who hack for enjoyment, and “Research hackers,” those who hack to learn about security and fix vulnerabilities (“License to hack? - Ethical hacking”).
As mentioned before, the first computer hackers were not people who were hacking to earn some quick cash. In 1878, two years after the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell, a group of teenagers who worked to maintain the New York switchboard were fired because they were interested in seeing how the phone connections were made and how the calls were distributed to specific locations. Their actions were essentially the equivalent of early computer hackers. These boys were trying to break into the telephone system to understand and see how the switchboard worked (“Timeline: A 40-Year History of Hacking”). Computers were not always in the easy to use, graphical interface they are today. Along the time period of the 50s, mainframe computers were very popular. Most universities and companies would have rooms dedicated to containing these mainframe1 computers, which were essentially a large chunk of metal locked away in a controlled environment. Due to the prices and exclusivity, users had to fight for time to obtain access to these slow-moving machines. Since these mainframe computers were so expensive and resource intensive, meaning they required time, knowledge, electricity, and money, computer programmers went out on a ledge to learn and create ways to speed up processes and modify hardware to increase performance speed (“Computer hacking: Where did it begin and how did it grow?”). In return, the machine would be able to complete more tasks and operations in a shorter time period. Hiring a hacker to modify one’s machine in the 50s and 60s would definitely increase business functionality (Parks). The term “Hacker” did not earn the definition it has in today’s world until the 1980s. Users discovered that they could apply their knowledge of the inner workings of a computer for their own gain. This was the time period when viruses, malware, and other nasty cyber infections were created to earn their coder or hacker money (“Timeline: A 40-Year History of Hacking”). In the early 1970s, a man named John Draper discovered that he could recreate the pitch a telephone used by using a whistle obtained from a box of cereal. By using this whistle, Draper could recreate the 2600-hertz audio tone and score some free long-distance calls. Draper’s actions were one of the first illegal actions committed by a hacker, which earned him the nickname “Captain Crunch.” Later in the 1970s, devices called “Blue Boxes” were invented by a computer club in California. These boxes were used to help change a tone to match the tone created by a telephone, thus making telephone tampering easier to use. These boys went by the names of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the creators of Apple Inc. (“Timeline: A 40-Year History of Hacking”). Attention towards phreaking was created during this decade, resulting in a few computer and telephone hacking magazines being created. These magazines would benefit those who wanted to become...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document