September 20, 2008

Cracking Vs. Hacking

Posted in English, Reflections at 11:56 pm by Rou...

A few days ago my facebook account posted a spam message on all my friends’ walls…

Yesterday I failed to login to my account…

In short, I was hacked*…

 

I was very angry (and still) from the fact of losing my stuff over there, I mean it’s like spending time in building up something, then an unknown comes and takes it all from you… However, I am not angry from losing my stuff as much as I am angry from the idea of being stolen… I mean, this is a stealing process after all… for whoever did that, has taken something that is not his…

 

Anyway, I tried many things, all failed to let me re-access my account, so I finally sent a report to facebook with the situation… I took that step just for the sake of being positive towards what happened to me… However, I don’t think that they will get me anything back… and to tell you the truth… I am kinda taking this as a sign… See, I have been thinking of closing my facebook account for some time now, so may be this will simply make me do it at last (even though I have no idea how to close it since I don’t even have access to it!)…

 

Anyways, the reason I am writing this post today actually is that while I was surfing the internet in my desperate searches for a way out last night, I came across some interesting facts that even though I am with a solid educational IT background, I never knew about…

 

How did “hacking” start…?

 

To cut a long story short, the hacking community developed at MIT and some other universities in the 1960s and 1970s. However, hacking of that time had nothing to do with today’s definition of hacking… But it rather included a wide range of activities, from writing software, to practical jokes, to exploring the roofs and tunnels of the MIT campus. In 1969, the most famous hack of all times was created when two employees at Bell Labs’ think tank came up with an open set of rules to run machines on the computer frontier, a new standard operating system which they called later UNIX. (Now, does this ring a bell?)

 

How come then that we often think of a hacker as a security breaker…? How did this confusion develop…?

 

Well, they say it all started around the year 1980, when the news media took notice of hackers, they engrossed one narrow aspect of real hacking: the security breaking which some hackers occasionally did. They ignored all the rest of hacking, and took the term to mean “breaking security”, no more and no less. The media have since spread that definition, disregarding any other attempts to correct them. As a result, most people have a mistaken idea of what hackers actually do.

 

I won’t make it long with the complete history of hacking… you can google it yourself if you’re interested… The thing is bass that after I came cross these info, I kinda realized that one should actually distinguish between security breaking and hacking. See, the term “cracking” is what the security breaking issue is all about, and people who do it are “crackers”; some of them may also be hackers, just as some of them may be chess players or golfers… But, most of them are not…

 

It’s rather hard to write a simple definition of something as varied as “hacking”, but may be hacking would simply means exploring the limits of what is possible, in a spirit of playful cleverness. Thus, any activity that displays playful cleverness has a sort of a “hack value”, which is quite different from the unethical cracking…

 

I remember years ago, I came across a book entitled “Ethical Hacking”… Something that was very provoking to me back then, as those were two words, from my own point of view, that can never be accompanied to each other… because hacking can never be ethical!

 

Well, may be it’s time to search for that book and read it…

 

Anyways…

 

Rou…

(* I guess the correct term that describes what happened with me is “I was cracked!”)

 

 

Note:

Ah, whoever has me added on his friends list on facebook.. don’t forget to remove me, for it’s not me any more!

 

 

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