Computer Hacker Nefarious Notions III Term Paper

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(Hackers Chronology,



The first case of cyber espionage is recognized in Germany (west). This reportedly involved the CHAOS computer club.

"Mentor releases the hacker manifesto Conscience of a hacker, which ends with the intriguing line: 'You may stop the individual, but you can't stop us all.'" (Hackers Chronology, 2006).


Electronic Frontier, Freedom on the Internet advocacy group, is launched

Polymorphic viruses (which modifies themselves when they spread), along with other sophisticated kinds of viruses, such and multipartite viruses (infecting multiple locations in the machine) appear.

During the first acknowledged major computer bank hack, First National Citybank of Chicago loses 70 million U.S.$

Kevin Lee Poulsen, Hacker Dark Dante, is arrested after a 17-month search. He had obtained numerous military secrets.

Mitnick and Shimomura lock horns. (Hackers Chronology, 2006).


The first Def Con hacking, was supposed to be a one-off-knees-up to bid good-bye to BBS's (outdated by the web), conference occurs in Las Vegas. This event became so popular it turned into an annual event.

Hackers hit U.S. federal web sites, including the CIA, Department of Justice, NASA and the Air Force. This isn't popular with U.S. officials. (Hackers Chronology, 2006).



Vladimir Levin

Vladimir Levin, head of a Russian hacking ring, reportedly masterminded a $10 million virtual holdup of Citybank. He is arrested in London a year later and extradited to the U.S.A. (Hackers Chronology, 2006).


US Defense Department experiences a quarter of a million hacks in one year.

Kevin Mitnick

Mitnick, arrested and suspected to have stolen approximately 20,000 credit card numbers, pleads guilty a year later. (Hackers Chronology, 2006).


Hackers, a movie, sparks more misconceptions about hackers' activities.


Network Associates runs an anti-hacker advert during the Superbowl in the U.S. In it, two Soviet missile technicians blow up the world, unsure whether the orders came from Moscow or hackers.

Hackers claim to have cracked a military satellite system and threaten to sell secrets to terrorists

NIPC (National Infrastructure Protection Center) launched with multi-million dollar funding.

LOpht, hacking group tells Congress it could shut down the Internet in half an hour. Group calls for more intense security. (Hackers Chronology, 2006).


1999 proves to be a massive year for Microsoft patches, due two hackers exploiting Windows 1998 vulnerabilities. Hence, mainstream anti-hacking software is born.


During 2000, Denial of Service attacks cripple the net's biggest names.


Jon Johansen

Jon Johansen (Norway) co-authored DeCSS with two other programmers who remained anonymous, and published it on the Internet. This program decrypted DVD's so they could be run on a computer too. Johansen was arrested January 23 and charged with hacking onto other's computers. He created a program that enables people to watch (legally bought) DVD's on their own computers, rather than instead of a stand alone DVD player. The Motion Picture Association did not win this case as the E.U. law they banked on had not yet been implemented. Several years later in 2005, the justice department releases Johanson and he is acquitted because "European law explicitly allows reverse engineering when needed for interoperatibility." (Hackers Chronology, 2006).

II. Methods


Firewall breaches:


Phishing Schemes: soliciting sensitive information, frequently for identity theft, by posing as a legitimate company or charity. (Paulson, 2006)

Ping sweeps:

"If you're able to think like a hacker, you're able to prevent some of the attacks that are happening," Aaron Cohen, argues. Cohen, founder of a new academy in a viable field of security companies dedicated to helping the government and corporations keep data safe from increasingly sophisticated attacks by cunning computer hackers. Paulson, 2006) Ralph Echemendia, Cohen's lead instructor, began initially hacking when a teenager. He first hacked ham radios and instigated "phone freaking," and then began hacking computers. Along with his current work with/for the military and Fortune 500 companies, Echemendia also heads an underground hacker meeting in Florida. In this setting, people do not reveal their names. Here, Echemendia obtains real-world information from hacker associates. At times, and he has tried to convince some of those he "works" with to try the legal side of hacking. They are amazed that some companies will actually pay people to hack them. (Paulson, 2006)

At one time in history, however, the thought of a hacker being paid by companies was not so foreign. In fact, "a 'good hack' is a clever solution to a programming problem and 'hacking' is the act of doing it," according to Eric Raymond, compiler of the New Hacker's Dictionary. Raymond, who also recognizes a hacker as a clever programmer. (SearchSecurity, 2007)

"Key-logging software often is installed on systems when an individual simply views e-mails or clicks links that look and seem like reputable sites," the March 23, 2007 article, "DOD INVESTIGATES HACKING of TROOPS' PERSONAL COMPUTERS," notes Defense Finance and Accounting Service officials to explain. "Hackers then are able to detect passwords and other personal information." Customers have a responsibility to implement measures guard their personal information from thieves and scammers, all on and off line. (INDSTRY GROUP 91, 2007)

According to the Federal intelligence report, Defense Department officials recently "launched an investigation into recent computer hackings of service members' home computers that compromised personal information and led the redirection of funds from their military pay accounts." (INDSTRY GROUP 91, 2007)

Officials report that during an eight months period, accounts of approximately two dozen Defense Finance and Accounting Service "myPay" participants were accessed by unauthorized personnel. The compromise for the myPay program, which allows DFAS users to manage pay information, along with leave and earnings statements, as well as W-2s online, most likely ensued from personal information "stolen from home computers via spyware and keystroke-logging viruses," DFAS officials stated.

Computer security

Computer security involves the prevention and detection of unauthorized users or "intruders" from accessing any part of a computer system. Detection helps a computer owner determine whether an intruder attempted to break into his/her system, and if so whether or not they succeeded, as well as what they may have accomplished. Even though information or communications on a computer may not be "top secret," most people do not want strangers to read their e-mail, use their computer to attack other systems send forged email from their computer, or examine personal and/or business information stored on computer (particularly financial statements). (Home Network . . ., 2007)

Home internet users are less likely to be attacked in 2007 than in 2006, Lisa Lerer (2006) reports in Hackers Headed for Home. Contemporary hackers however are more likely targeting users to search for money, according to Symantec, a computer security firm. Symantec estimates computer hackers target home users 86% of the time versus 93% in 2006 because of poor security features.

"The home user is just a great deal less prepared to deal with attackers than enterprise, who's had to deal with them for quite some time," (Lerer, 2006) notes that Alfred Huger, senior director of engineering at the Symantec's security response division, stresses.

Hackers target personal home computers for personal information to use in financial crimes (e.g. identity theft) Huger points out: "We've seen some [attacks] that are sensitive to 1,200 or 1,300 different banks and credit card companies' Web sites." (Lerer, 2006). Another target lucrative target for committing fraud by hackers consists of the financial services industry.

Web browsers, such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer, constitute a popular route of attack since information comes from different sources. Hackers attack web-based applications approximately 69% of the time according to Symantec. Popular security alternatives, in 2006, contained flaws documented by Symantec as: Mozilla Firefox (17), Microsoft's Explorer (38), and Apple Safari (12). Microsoft addresses flaws and distributes repairs within 9 days of the infection; while Mozilla and Apple Safari take 1 day or less. (Lerer, 2006)

Computer hackers or intruders are also known as attackers, or crackers sometimes do not care about a person's identity but want to gain control another computer to launch attacks on other computer systems. When a person gains control of another computer this provides them with the ability to hide their actual location while they launch attacks, frequently against government or financial systems' computers. Any computer connected to the Internet may be targeted. Hackers may obtain the ability to actions on the computer and/or inflict damage to a computer by reformatting the hard drive or changing personal or business data. (Home Network . . ., 2007)

Computer hackers routinely discover new vulnerabilities or "holes" in computer software to exploit. As software becomes more and more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to meticulously test computer systems' security. As holes are discovered, however computer vendors generally create patches to counter problem(s). It is up to the computer owner, nevertheless to secure and install needed patches, or properly configure software to perform more securely. The majority of computer break-in incident reports might have been avoided if system administrators and users had insured their computers' patches and security fixes were up-to-date. (Home Network . .…[continue]

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