Research Paper - Hacker Plague

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  • 1. Perrin 1Luke PerrinMrs. LesterAdvance Composition11 October 2011 Hacking Plague More than 30 percent of computers are infected by hacker-made viruses (“China Issues”).Hackers are an international threat that breach computers to gain information, to harm others,to make a profit, or to cripple a system. Hackers steal anything that might give them what theyspecifically want. This threat has increased to the severity that hacking threatens corporationsand governments. Unfortunately, the hacking epidemic is rapidly spreading, but in order tocounter hacking, one must examine and pinpoint the problems, while analyzing the solutions andoutlook. In order to counter hacking, one must have an understanding of what hacking is.As discussed by Dr. Mizrach, “Hackers are just like people, and hold their own beliefs andethics.” Many people think of hackers under the stereotype of the overweight, hygienicallychallenged, antisocial being. However, hackers have evolved into the polar opposite appearanceand blend in with normal people. Hackers have rules, regulations, and laws that they follow.Each set is similar to many organizations. Unlike past efforts, hackers do not have to be at theirtarget to hack it; rather, they can be anywhere in the world, as long as they have their computers(“Cyber Tension”). Hackers are not stationary anymore, but work from laptops and other mobilecomputers. Modern technology has allowed many hackers the ability to work from a laptop innearly any location. The world communication has created the downfall of secure, computerizedinformation through the use of the Internet, networks, satellites, and other modern innovations.
  • 2. Perrin 2Hackers do not need a direct hook to the source of information to steal it. They can break into thesystems through nearly any means (phone lines, Internet, etc). The technological advances of themodern era have created the developing downfall of mass communication. Similarly Dr. Mizrachstated, “Dont leave a trail or trace of [hacker’s] presence; dont call attention to [hacker] or[hacking] exploits.” For instance, Hackers use tricks, viruses, and other techniques to breakthrough security systems. These tricks often disguise themselves as “working” programs, butslowly steal information from the victim. Hackers cover their “tracks” through the use of viruseswhich often cause havoc on the victim’s computer. Often the viruses create more back doors forthe hacker to return through later. Although the overall definition of hacking is diverse, thespecific problems with hacking are a more dominant matter. The hacking epidemic can be linked through several key problems caused byhackers. Unfortunately, hackers, independent or military, are capable of attacking stronggovernment servers if given time to test the system (Yam). Hackers can and have crippled entiregovernment -run installations. A prime example is the series of attacks on the Pentagon andLockheed Martin which resulted in stolen military data (“Report: Stolen”). Hackers are notreckless, and they probe entire systems for weaknesses. These probes take weeks, or even years,to successfully accomplish. Many of these weaknesses are not realized by the installations andcan cause severe damage to the facility. Another issue is that hackers create viruses, as stated byDr. Mizrach: “These are people who write code which attempts to a) reproduce itself on othersystems without authorization and b) often has a side effect, whether that be to display amessage, play a prank, or trash a hard drive.” These viruses create havoc, which allows thehackers to easily breach security. Some examples are Trojan (which leaves back doors open),Botnet (which allows for hacker control), and false programs or advertisements (Mizrach).
  • 3. Perrin 3Viruses also weaken the computers, and, if handled poorly, cripple entire networks. Hackerscraft viruses to make their breaches easier, while allowing for a clean escape. Another problemcomes from organized groups of hackers, like Anonymous or LolzSec (Saporito). Hackers, asindividuals, are a dangerous threat to any computer; however, an organized group of hackers is apotentially fatal threat to entire networks. These groups are usually professional hackers andknow exactly where to find weaknesses in firewalls or security in computers. These attacks havecrippled military, government, civilian infrastructure, and even home entertainment. Thesehackers are capable of breaching all levels of security, and only a few experts can accuratelycounter these attacks. Hackers are a threat to all levels of technological use, unfortunately thereis no permanent solution. Although there are not any permanent solutions, there are several methods ofpreventions to hacking. Unknown to most, the tools created by hackers to break into systems canalso be used in a reverse method. The tools can be used to find security holes, back doors, andother areas of weakness (Lemos). The very tools used by hackers can provide an antidote tohacking. These tools allow companies or governments to improve their own defenses. However,this temporary solution requires companies to work hand in hand with those that would causeharm to their systems. Yet, not all hackers conduct illegal activities. Many work as InformationTechnology specialists, or white caps, and help prevent hackers from breaking into the systems.Currently, the focus is not just on traditional warfare, but on a larger cyber war. Hackers acrossthe world are involved in the attacks on different countries. Primarily, the United States andChina appear to be the forefront of the war (Yam). The United States and China can and do hackeach other. Their attacks steal everything from blueprints to meaningless emails. On thecontrary, the real issue here is the lack of funding governments put into IT, and the results of this
  • 4. Perrin 4deficit being a lack of ability to counter hacks. Governments are steadily increasing in theiractivities revolving around the cyber war. Many governments have hired hackers as soldiers tocounter and attack other governments. Through this method, hackers are controlled by thegovernment and are focused on national enemies instead of civilians. Although a hacker hasbeen removed from a system, the operating system can still be infected. Computers need to bereformatted, and the operating system reinstalled to prevent the hacker from reentering thesystem (“Crucial Paradigm”). The computer can never return to a safe status once it has beenhacked. By reinstalling the system, the computer is given a clean slate against hackers. Hackerscan return to the computer like a common cold if actions are not made to prevent the attacksagain. Users have to re-secure the computer after an attack, and then reformat the computer tomake it stronger against hackers. Hackers are an incurable disease, and the future of hacking ismorbidly ill. The outlook of preventing the hacking epidemic is not encouraging and withoutany traces of a simple end. For example, the Conficker virus is a rapidly spreading virus that hasalready infected nearly 30 percent of the computers internationally (“China Issues”). This virusspreads across the Internet, and it is capable of hiding itself in multiple places across a computer.It is just one example of how many computers can be affected by one hacker-made virus. TheConficker virus is not a simple Trojan, but a combination of the strongest malware in theInternet. It uses this combination to move quickly into thousands of computers every day andacross 200 countries total. As reported by Robert Lemos, “...but [hacker’s tools] can also be usedto secure them.” Hackers will always be around, so long as technology advances. Althoughhackers can not be defeated, their tools can be reverse engineered to provide methods to counterhackers. Yet, hackers are able to counter every attempt made to stop them through their own
  • 5. Perrin 5programming abilities. This programming war is impossible to win, since there is no end to theincreasing number of hackers. As stated earlier, hackers across the world are involved in theattacks on different countries. Hackers are a fast rising threat to governments, yet few take theinitiative to combat it. Governments can barely counter attacks, and they have decreasingbudgets to improve these defenses. The rise in cyber warfare is shifting the way spying,1 orespionage, is conducted. Now hackers are capable of stealing from facilities in all branches ofthe government, and they face little repercussions for it. The government’s focus is on physicalwarfare when the real threat comes from a cyber-based enemy. The outlook for hacking is atragedy in the making, and without any signs of a permanent end. In spite of hacking, future generations need to go into computer programming becausethe world demands people with the ability to program. Although hackers will never go away, thisissue should not deter any individual from this field. Computers are used in nearly every fieldof work, and in order to get an edge on other workers, people need to have the ability to workfluently with a computer. The future of many jobs will be in computer technology, and the jobfields will only increase from this change. Society changes with the flow of technology, which isconstantly evolving into more sophisticated ideas. Programmers will be at the forefront of thesechanges and will provide the backbone of future ideas. Yet, Programmers will also be the wallstanding between hackers and the rest of the world. Programmers are the antibody to the hackingdisease, and the only applicable means of stopping hackers. Technology will always advance solong as there are new ideas or inventions. Programmers provide the blood of these innovations,and the ability to code will be essential. Programming is just like many fields, and shares thesame risk as any other job; however, the rewards from programming are sufficiently better.
  • 6. Perrin 6 Works Cited“China Issues Legal Interpretation to Tighten Grip on Hacking.” Xinhua. N.p., 29 Aug. 2011. Web. 10 Sept. 2011. <​english2010/​china/​2011-08/​29/​ c_131082389.htm>.“Hacking Attacks - Prevention.” Crucial Paradigm. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2011. <http://​resources/​tutorials/​website-web-page-site-optimization/​hacking- attacks-prevention.php>.Lemos, Robert. “Shades of gray at security conference.” CNET News. N.p., 2 May 2002. Web. 11 Sept. 2011. <​2100-1001-897596.html?tag=txt>.Mick, Jason. “Cyber Tension Flare Amoungst U.S., Chinese Military.” Daily Tech. N.p., 12 Mar. 2008. Web. 8 Sept. 2011. <​ Cyber+Tensions+Flare+Amongst+US+Chinese+Military/​article11045.htm>.Mick, Jason.“Reports: Hackers Use Stolen RSA Information to Hack Lockheed Martin.” Daily Tech. N.p., 30 May 2011. Web. 6 Sept. 2011. <​ Reports+Hackers+Use+Stolen+RSA+Information+to+Hack+Lockheed+Martin/​ article21757.htm>.Mizrach, Steven. “Is there a Hacker Ethic for 90s Hackers?” Old and New Hacker Ethics. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2011. <​~mizrachs/​hackethic.html>.Saporito, Bill. “Hack Attack.” Time 4 July 2011: n. pag. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 Sept. 2011. <​login?url=​ login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=61963642&site=ehost-live>.Yam, Marcus. “Chinese Military Suspected of Hack on Pentagon.” Daily Tech.
  • 7. Perrin 7N.p., 4 Sept. 2007. Web. 9 Sept. 2011. <​Chinese+Military+Suspected+of+Hack+on+Pentagon/​article8717.htm>.