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Home » Hacking News » Will Hackers Unite and Take Over?

Will Hackers Unite and Take Over?

by Nikola Strahija on July 25th, 2002 If the Web falls prey to a massive shutdown, I do not want to see finger-pointing. I want to see handcuffing. How many hackers does it take to break into a supposedly secure Web site and wreak havoc on the wired world? Just one. How many security experts does it take to track down that hacker ? That is a more difficult question to answer. New laws against hacking will carry stiff penalties, including life in prison. All well and good, if you can catch the culprit.


But computer security is not an exact science, and while some hackers have been stopped in their tracks, most remain free to repeat their performances.

If tech industry giants can't stop hacker attacks, then who can? If almighty Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) can't provide a fix, then what hope do we have?

Somebody better do something, though, because today's ill-intentioned hackers are cracking with a vengeance. Folks, it is time to take action, because no one is immune to the ramifications of an Internet security breach.

New Breed of Hackers

Today's hackers are organized into militias ready to wage war against the Web. Indeed, a new breed of hackers has more in mind than merely manipulating Hotmail messages or tinkering with USA Today's newspaper articles.

Recent attacks go beyond the realm of practical jokes and petty fraud.

Evil hackers are taking over eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) user accounts and holding fake auctions. Malicious crackers are breaking into government databases and stealing social security numbers of state employees.

Of course, the scariest hackers of all are not the pimple-faced teenagers seeking a few extra bucks to spend on chocolate bars and acne cream. The most frightening are the extremists who want to dismantle the very structure of the Web.

Pro-Islamic hackers reportedly have joined forces to carry out full-scale hack attacks. The FBI is claiming that the al-Qaida network could launch a disastrous hack attack on the Internet.

Troubling Motives

Again, it is the motives that are troublesome. While most hackers get cheap thrills from breaking into a Web site or lining their wallets with greenbacks, these vandals and pickpockets are relatively benign.

Terrorists, on the other hand, seek to perpetrate an attack that could temporarily shut down the virtual doors of e-commerce giants, striking another blow to a U.S. economy that is already struggling.

Now what do we do? Close our eyes and try not to look? How about ignore the problem and hope it goes away?

Did We Ever Find Osama?

The U.S. House of Representatives thinks it has the answer. The Cyber Security Enhancement Act promises to make hacking with the intent of causing danger, death or serious physical injury a more serious crime. Yes, laws are great, if you can enforce them.

But if the hunt for Osama bin Laden is any indication of law enforcement's ability to track down fleeing criminals, then the likelihood of prosecuting evil hackers is nothing more than a bad joke.

Now the government is calling for cooperation from the private sector. But with IT budgets shrinking, the hands of corporate America are seemingly tied.

Worst-Case Scenario

The government must do more than enact laws. It must step in with some financial support for security measures. We spend billions upon billions on Homeland Security, but we might be all but ignoring the next terrorism target.

If we are not going to take action to address this threat, then we might as well brace ourselves for the worst possible scenario.

Remember the hubbub over Y2K? Y2K is a picnic compared to what cyber terrorists have in mind. An attack on our technology infrastructure might not cost lives, but it could have a devastating impact on our economy.

I know I can't afford that. Can you? Let's put some pressure on both the public and private sectors to take swift steps before it is too late. If the Web falls prey to a massive shutdown, I do not want to see finger-pointing. I want to see handcuffing.

So, how many hackers does it take to break into a supposedly secure site and wreak havoc on the wired world? Just one. Let's do something before it's too late.

- article available from www.osopinion.com -


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