What the Media (and so government) thinks are hackers

Denial of Service Attack

Image by Toni Birrer via Flickr

Ok the media is good at hyping things lately but not so good with the fact checking. They have started calling everything hacking, for instance, in England a reporter who guessed that people were using the default password on their voice mails (because it was what was on his voice mail) is suddenly a hacker. OR a kid that guessed the password for several peoples facebook accounts, because they used either a default or the word ‘password’ for their password is called a hacker.

Other media branded hackers include people who accessed files on a network that had no firewall. I mean what the heck, that’s not a hack that’s just knowing how to use windows map network drive. And Sony should be ashamed that they let it happen. But it wasn’t a hack. It is not a hack to go to a computer someone else was sing and they didn’t lock or log themselves out but left it logged in for you to use. That is almost, and legally arguable, that they are asking you to use it logged in as them.

So if you left that computer in the library logged into your online game account and some one else uses it to teach you not to leave it logged in, it’s not a hack and you should learn something from it. Really, don’t be so stupid.

But also if you find a computer logged in to someone else’s account, make sure the lesson is learned but not to painfully. And then log them out so no-one else is able to exploit them. Anyway back to non-hackers, if the user who is “hacked” did something stupid, it’s not a hack, it’s a life lesson that is by gone days would have ended much worse like death. While being exploited in this way is a sign that someone’s genes shouldn’t be passed on it seems that darwin is not always in play.

Are phishing attacks hacks? No. While some include hacks most don’t and only include things like the user giving their log in credentials to something away. Again the user did this to themselves by being stupid and not figuring out they were conned. There is already a name for this, conman, not hacker.

Is a distributed denial of service attack a hack? It involves computers and some coding, so you might think it is but no it’s not. It’s the opposite of a hack and is more akin to a bunch of people going to the bank and waiting in line but not really wanting anything. They waste the time of the tellers and real customers can’t get at their money. Not a hack but a good way to protest.

Was the stealing of military secrets by a young soldier a hack? Um, no. He had access to the files, he just copied them to a cd and gave them away. The problem there was the army already was looking at kicking him out, but they didn’t revoke his security classification, they were already thinking he could be an issue but they left him with access to everything. Personally the guy who left him with his creds’ should be punished worse than he will be.

Is firesheep a hack? Yes, finally something that is at one stage at least a hack. The guy that wrote it is a hacker, of the highest order, but the users are script kiddies by definition. They are using a script someone else wrote to do a hack. (And don’t use anything but secure sites if you are on an open wifi network.)

So there you go. Would the media consider you a hacker? What have you done that is not a hack but could result with you in headlines?


About echlinm

Computer Programmer/Systems Analyst/Hacker S31
This entry was posted in Computers and Internet, hackers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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