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    Computer Hackers Essay (1851 words)

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    In the late 1970s, hackers were people who enjoyed learning the details of computer systems. Today, hackers (or crackers) refer to people who break into computer systems. Some malicious hackers use Trojan horses, logic bombs, and other means to infiltrate computer systems. Breaking into other computer systems is called electronic trespassing. This paper will speak of :On-line Outlaws: Computer Crime Computer Security: Reducing Risks Security, Privacy, and Freedom: The Delicate Balance Security and Reliability Safe ComputingComputers are used to break laws as well as uphold them.

    Computer crime involves: Software Piracy and Intellectual Property Laws Hacking and Electronic TrespassingAccording to the FBI, the average computer crime is worth $600,000. More than 40 percent of corporate, university, and government sites report at least one break-in per year. The typical computer criminal is a trusted employee with no criminal record. Hacker Kevin Mitnick is alleged to have broken into several major organizations’computer systems, including those of Sun Microsystems, Motorola, and the Pentagon.

    Mr Mitnick was ARRESTED on February 15,1995, after an FBI computer expert Tsutomu Shimomura tracked him down. Mitnick, the first hacker ever to have appeared on an FBI wanted poster. With 25 counts of alleged federal computer and wire fraud violations still pending against him, the criminal prosecution of Kevin Mitnick is approaching its most crucial hour. In June of 1999, Kevin was sentenced for certain admitted violations of his supervised release and for possession of unauthorized access codes.

    The court imposed a sentence of 22 months instead of the 32 months sought by the government. Since Kevin has been in custody since his arrest in February 1995, this sentence has been satisfied. Kevin has experienced years of legal battles over alleged violations of the conditions of his supervised release and for possession of unauthorized cellular access codes. The greatest injustice in the prosecution of Kevin Mitnick is revealed when one examines the actual harm to society (or lack thereof) which resulted from Kevin’s actions. To the extent that Kevin is a “hacker” he must be considered a purist. The simple truth is that Kevin never sought monetary gain from his hacking, though it could have proven extremely profitable.

    Nor did he hack with the malicious intent to damage or destroy other people’s property. Rather, Kevin pursued his hacking as a means of satisfying his intellectual curiosity and applying Yankee ingenuity. These attributes are more frequently promoted rather than punished by society. The ongoing case of Kevin Mitnick is gaining increased attention as the various issues and competing interests are played out in the arena of the courtroom. Exactly who Kevin Mitnick is and what he represents, however, is ultimately subject to personal interpretation and to the legacy which will be left by “The United States v. Kevin David Mitnick”.

    Software piracy is the illegal duplication of copyrighted software. Intellectual property includes the results of intellectual activities in the arts, sciences, and industry. The expression of intellectual property can be copyrighted. Inventions are patented.

    Trade secrets are covered by contract law. Look-and-feel lawsuits can result from mimicking intellectual property. Software piracy is a serious worldwide problem. In fact, many countries have staggeringly high piracy rates – countries like Russia, China and Vietnam, just to name a few – some even close to the 100 percent mark. The worldwide piracy rate in 1998 was 38 percent, causing losses to the global software industry of approximately $11 billion according to a Business Software Alliance study. Unfortunately the problem is getting worse.

    In one year, from 1997 to 1998, the problem grew so dramatically that 2. 5 million more software applications were pirated. Much of this astronomical worldwide piracy growth comes from the equally aggressive growth of the Internet around the world, coupled with the fact that intellectual property and copyright laws vary considerably from country to country. Although industry organizations like the Business Software Alliance have been successful in many of their worldwide efforts to combat software piracy, governments around the world must take steps to improve their intellectual property laws and enforcement systems to ensure that software is fully protected.

    The software industry stands ready to provide governments with the support they need to meet this challenge and would like to cooperate with governments to educate the public about the importance of respect for intellectual property rights in software. Software piracy harms more than just the software industry. Without commitment to reducing piracy from worldwide consumers, law enforcement, industry leaders and government officials alike, the potential for world economic growth, driven in part by the booming software industry, is seriously crippled. The high rate of piracy acts as asignificant barrier to the development of the software industry and precludes it from reaching its full potential around the world. Piracy threatens development and innovation by cheating legitimate budding software developers and companies out of the rights and rewards of their hard-earned intellectual property.

    As pirated software makes its way into countries around the world, so do the problems such software causes for consumers, including susceptibility to viruses, lack of technical support or warranties, and even the absence of key software program elements. http://www. microsoft. com/piracy/worldwide/Sabotage of software or hardware may include a: Trojan horse: a program that performs a useful task while also being secretly destructive An example is a logic bomb, which is programmed to attack in response to a particular event or sequence of events.

    Virus: a program that spreads by making copies of itself from program to program or disk to disk Vaccines search for viruses and remove them. Worm: a program that travels independently over computer networks, seeking uninfected sitesBy Ted Bridis The Associated Press W A S H I N G T O N, Aug. 5Mark Alberding, acollege student in San Francisco, was perplexed: His computer running Windows 95 was working fine until he installed some popular multimedia software called QuickTime. Suddenly, whenever he double-clicked to look at any of the hundreds of digital photographs on his hard-drive, his machine launched the new QuickTime software from Apple Computer instead of a rival Microsoft program he had been using to view pictures. But what had been a common and fairly esoteric technical annoyance is a new focus in the landmark debate over whether Microsoft unfairly uses its enormous influence to stifle competition in the high-tech indu Alberding suspects that in his case, Apple’s QuickTime established itself as the default software to view his pictures, supplanting the viewer programs from Microsoft and other companies.

    http://www. abcnews. de/sections/tech/DailyNews/software980805. htmlComputers are revolutionizing education, sometimes in surprising ways. Now there’s software that can teach kids how to cuss like a drunken stevedore,” writes Robert Cwiklik of the Wall Street Journal.

    (See http://rtmark. com/faq. html for full press reports. )The software, a Panasonic Interactive Media (http://www. panakids. com/) product called “Secret Writer’s Society,” is meant to help seven to nine-year-olds learn to write by reciting their compositions back to them in a computer-generated voice.

    Instead, the program spews obscenities at very predictable times, according to Andrew Maisel, the editor in chief of SuperKids (http://www. superkids. com/aweb/pages/reviews/writing/1/sws/merge. shtml), a website that evaluates educational software. He says that all that is required to trigger the foul-mouth feature is for a typed passage to be at least several sentences long and followed by a double-click, rather than a single-click.

    Panasonic Interactive claimed that a “bug” in a “filter” caused the problem. But now a rogue contract programmer has stepped forward to claim responsibility for the hack. Computer crime has led to a need to protect computer systems. Computer security attempts to protect computers and the information they contain. Computer security protects against unwanted access, damage, modification, or destruction.

    A variety of security techniques are used to protect computer systems. These techniques range from low-tech to high-tech and include: Physical Access, Restrictions Passwords, Firewalls, Codes, Shields, and Audits Backups. Many companies use a call-back system to prevent unauthorized use of stolen passwords by outsiders. When a user logs in and types a passwrod, the system hangs up, looks up the user’s phone number, and calls back before allowing access. Security measures prevent crime, but can also pose threats to personal privacy. Active badges can simultaneously improve security and threaten privacy by: identifying who enters a door or logs onto a machine finding an employee’s location, remembering where an employee has been throughout the day.

    Computer security involves more than protection from trespassing, sabotage, and other crimes. Software errors and hardware glitches account for some of the most important security issues, such as: Bugs and Breakdowns Computers at War. Software bugs do more damage than viruses and computer burglars combined. Facts about software engineering: It is impossible to eliminate all bugs. Even programs that appear to work can contain dangerous bugs. The bigger the system, the bigger the problem.

    Computer breakdowns pose a risk to the public and the incidence doubles every two years. “Safe computing” once meant only running a virus checker on your files before you gave your floppy disk to your co-worker. Today it means so much more. It means monitoring your computer system, to proactively catch any problems that may be brewing. Today, safe computing means using software that can detect other software and hardware that may be having problems.

    Tips for Preventing Computer Disasters1. Always close applications that are not in use. 2. Don’t leave your computer turned on in “sleep mode” when you leave the office.

    Turn it off. 3. Use an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) to give you time to save your work and turn the computer off safely when you lose power. 4.

    Run a disk utility program every week and act on its warnings. 5. Back up data daily; use more than one source if data loss would mean you’d have to close your business. Back up devices do fail so be sure to check the integrity of the data every couple of weeks. And make sure you TEST the restore function of your backup software periodically. 6.

    Run a virus program in the background at all times. 7. Upgrade your virus application every 30-60 days. New viruses are created every day. Practice Safe Computing Commercial Software, Shareware, Friends, and Internet Downloads beware of Bonus software or free gifts Unknown or questionable sources Scan everything ! Email attachments beware of Unexpected attachments Email from unknown senders Promises that are too good to be true Senders who tells you to ignore virus warnings Subject lines or file names that are risqu or otherwise enticing Macros no matter the source.

    Use POP3 email client (e. g. , Eudora, Pegasus, Zmail) Fewer features mean fewer opportunities for virus programmers Use MS Works, Star Office, or Word Perfect in lieu of MS Word. Less popular programs have fewer viruses.

    Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 97 (and 2000) have built-in macro virus protection:. Write protect the global template normal. dot. Only Word documents or templates can carry viruses: text files and RTF files cannot. However, one can simply rename a *.

    doc file with the *. rtf extension to fool some anti-virus programs. Set your anti-virus scanner to check all file typesat least add *. rtf and *.

    txt. Bottom line, Use Anti-Virus Software Bibliography:N/A

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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