Ethical Hacking Essay Sample
Ethical Hacking Essay
Today, one of the most sought after individuals and/or companies are those who employ ethical hackers. Although the term “hacking” might seem vague and distrustful for most individuals because of how hackers are portrayed in mass media such as unlawful and people who are hunted by the government. Nevertheless, there are plenty of times when hacking is useful and productive.
In some cases, hacking can be used to fix systems and software, and more importantly to prevent future probabilities of these systems being hacked themselves. This useful application of hacking is called ethical hacking. Ethical hacking simply means attempting to hack one’s system, network, or software in order to identify the threats to it and mitigate it in the future. In other words, ethical hackers are the “preventers” for hackers such as black hats, who are generally regarded as cyber criminals for trying to infiltrate security systems simply for their own gain. Another term for these ethical hackers are “white hats” and most industries today, ranging from digital companies, security providers, and especially banks have hired them.
Because of the demand for these ethical hackers more and more people today are engaging and trying to learn to hack, both inside and outside educational systems. For one, this is important since it is believed that the technologies today and the abilities of the companies which create them, are just in their inception and thus more and more companies would need the help of these ethical hackers in the future. In other words, an increase in the jobs available even in the comforts of their own homes and just as any online jobs, could mean the decongestion of our cities.
However, not all people are thrilled with the continuous increase of white hats in the society. For them, since white hats are just humans and are equipped with the knowledge that black hats have, then more black hats could also come from this population. Adding to the fact that these white hats are usually allowed more freedom with the use of such technologies, these increases the worrying of these people. Following from the statements above, it is apparent that the number of white hats is continuously increasing. Therefore, in response to this situation and the potential risks that it carries in the future, I believe that it is necessary that more rules and regulations must be established in order to prevent any thing detrimental that might happen not only for these technologies but also for the people who use them. One of the most prominent tech savvy and entrepreneur in the world, Elon Musk, has already warned us about the dangers of AI.
He said in an interview that “the machines will win”. In line with this, I believe that hacking (both ethical and unethical) is one of the things that would determine the fate of the world as AI technology continues to grow. For one, black hats might start the use of “destructive AIs” which could pose potential dangers for the existence of human life in this planet. On the other hand, White hats could then serve as the saviors if and when such a time comes. Countering the decisions that AIs could make regarding how the world should run, especially when taking the human factor is a part of its equation.
In conclusion, what this means is that hacking could be productive and essential for the advancement of technology in the world especially in this ever growing environment. However, as this trade grows, additional rules and regulations must be placed in order to keep hacking more helpful than destructive.
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The Harvard Gazette
New faculty: gabriella coleman, drug delivery system offers hope for treating genetic diseases, science & technology.
“Back in 1998 when I started grad school, I could count the number of anthropologists working on digital media on one hand. Today there are dozens and dozens …,” said Anthropology Professor Gabriella Coleman.
Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
Anthropology professor studies the rich, deep world of hackers
By Jill Radsken Harvard Staff Writer
Date February 23, 2022 November 8, 2023
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This article is part of a series introducing new faculty members.
Gabriella “Biella” Coleman took her first anthropology course in high school, a formative experience that led her to study healing rituals and spirit possession in college and grad school. But a year-long illness and fast internet connection inspired a swerve in focus to the burgeoning hacker world. Today she is considered one of the foremost scholars in the interdisciplinary fields of technology studies, media anthropology, digital activism, and security. Author of “Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy,” Coleman began teaching in the Department of Anthropology last month and joined the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society as a faculty associate. Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
GAZETTE: The world of hacking is constantly evolving. What are you working on now?
COLEMAN: I am deep into two big projects — one recently published by the Data and Society research nonprofit called “Wearing Many Hats: The Rise of the Professional Security Hacker” traces how former underground hackers came to occupy a privileged spot in the security industry.
Many had formerly been underground hackers banded in small groups who broke into computer systems. They did so not to cause harm, but for the intellectual thrill of learning about security and computers when such knowledge was not readily available in books, online, or the academy.
In the late 1990s, these hackers started to claim they had the expertise for improving computer security. And they did, but they still had to convince others of their trustworthiness given their outlaw status.
When some of these hackers started to seek employment, a few prominent figures cautioned against hiring them. So as they stepped out the shadows to engage with a nascent security public, hackers had to do all this labor to rehabilitate their image. Many indeed went pro and became employable, highly respected security professionals. Some even became industry leaders, but at the time they first made a claim for their special expertise, it was unclear whether anyone would take them seriously.
This project, which is ongoing, is historical and so the pace of research was slower and much kinder compared with my earlier work on Anonymous, the global collective credited with cyberattacks on governments and other institutions, and the free and open software movement. Even as I conducted face-to-face research, much of it was online. And as an anthropologist, the expectation is to be present, to participate. And when you can be present 24-7 by logging into various online forums, the pressure to be there is as immense as it is enticing.
The second project is a book of essays I’m currently calling “Weapons of the Geek,” which is tied to the Henry Morgan Lectures I’m giving this spring at the University of Rochester. Many tend to think hackers are either freedom fighters, sticking it to “The Man,” or are part of re-establishing and fortifying power structures. But it’s both or neither. It all depends on time, place, the groups, and projects. With this book, I hope to make this ethical and political variability far more palpable by juxtaposing different hacker projects and histories that complicate the idea there is an essence to hacking. For instance, one essay covers a radical hacker collective in Spain called Xnet that managed to jail bankers thanks to their whistleblowing efforts. Another essay covers a cloak-and-dagger history whereby the French state infiltrated the hacker underground to enroll them to spy. In sharing very different stories around hackers in different eras and regions, I hope to get readers to think about hacking in more nuanced and less binary terms.
GAZETTE: Why is the history of hacking so important to research now and amplify?
COLEMAN: That’s a great question. First, so much of hacker history exists online but is vanishing before our eyes. My latest project wouldn’t have been possible without the uber internet archive, the Wayback Machine. Other material unavailable there, which I used, has already disappeared. I try to digitally snapshot and store everything offline. We can’t assume what exists today will be here tomorrow.
Second, the history of hacking holds lessons to thinking through contemporary problems and predicaments. Take, for instance, the hackers who became security professionals. These hackers did not play nice. They forced software vendors like Microsoft to care and pay attention to security by being loud, spectacular, and adversarial. Today the need for such antagonistic, independent critique has never been greater, as a means to force social media giants like Facebook or Twitter to fix problems around socio-technical harms and vulnerabilities. For example, being on Twitter as woman journalist of color might mean that you’re going to get really harassed. So what can Twitter do, either at the level of policy or design, to minimize this harm? That’s much tougher to solve than fixing some technical bug, but getting the companies to even care requires the same sort of pressure that hackers had exerted on software vendors.
GAZETTE: How well-educated is the public as to who and what hackers are?
COLEMAN: Certainly 10 or 15 years ago if I told anyone, “I study hackers,” most people would immediately think: criminal-wizard stealing my credit card. Today someone still might think that or Russian nation-state hacker, ransomware hacker, Bitcoin entrepreneur, or hacktivist. Hackers land on headlines so often and for so many different reasons.
One common misperception is that hackers are asocial, loners, misfits. The reality is hacking is quite cooperative and social. For example, with free and open-source projects, some of which boast thousands of collaborators, project members not only develop software, but build institutions guided by complex voting procedures, membership guidelines, and legal philosophies. They are really thoughtful about governance structures — it is one reason that some of these projects are still kicking around 20-plus years after they were first chartered!
Anonymous was also highly social in nature, and norms encouraged the sublimation of ego. If anyone tried to amass personal fame or attention, they were put in their place. There is still a tremendous degree of sharing with little fear of being scooped.
More so, some people may think that hackers are psychologically off-kilter. The reality is far more mundane. While hackers are still overwhelmingly men, they are not deranged misfits. Some are college students; many hold jobs in technology companies doing the work of coding, security research, or administering servers and networks. They love to gather at conferences and other meet-ups, on- and especially offline. They may be obsessed with computers and learning, but academics are similarly obsessed with their work, right?
GAZETTE: Tell me about your background, and how you got here.
COLEMAN: I grew up in Puerto Rico. Interestingly enough, when I was 16 I took an anthropology course in high school. I fell in love almost right away and knew this was the path I wanted to take. When I went to college and grad school, I settled on religious healing in Guyana, South America. My side interest in free and open-source software already existed but that topic did not even strike as an option. It was too far off the beaten path, at least for graduate students.
But life had other plans for me. I ended up sick and home-bound for a year. My laptop and fast internet connection meant I could continue learning from home. When I got better, I was keen to continue my study of hackers, partly as it had not been studied ethnographically. My supervisor was supportive, but honest about my future. She told me point-blank, “You probably won’t get a job in an anthropology department,” and she was right. I’ve spent most of my career outside anthropology departments [media studies at NYU and McGill], so Harvard is my first bona fide anthropology position!
GAZETTE: Can you talk about doing this work in the anthropology space?
COLEMAN: Back in 1998 when I started grad school, I could count the number of anthropologists working on digital media on one hand. Today there are dozens and dozens of anthropologists who dedicate themselves to the study of contemporary technologies. Digital media is now so vital and for so many spheres of life, that many projects include a media component.
Still, I don’t always find it useful to approach the digital world as a stand-alone research arena. It encompasses tremendous plurality. Even digital activism is a bit of a misleading category. It includes everything from slacktivism, like signing a petition, to risky hacking and leaking. Researchers have to specialize, and yet there is this understandable need and pressure to follow more general trends, around, say, laws that shape online privacy or content, platform politics, the role of artificial intelligence in determining what content we see, and much more.
Even my area of specialization is home to tremendous diversity, and I’ve only specialized in a few arenas: free software, hacktivism, security. There is so much more: like piracy, cryptography, phone phreaking, biohacking, hardware hacking. I do try to follow research in these other arenas. It helps me determine what might be particular to one domain and what needed cross-cuts across field of practice and place.
Postdoctoral fellow Samagya Banskota (left) and graduate student Aditya Raguram, co-lead authors of the study, investigate in vivo delivery of therapeutic proteins at the Liu Lab.
Photo by Julia McCreary
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What Is Ethical Hacking?
Unlike malicious hackers, ethical hackers have the permission and approval of the organization which they’re hacking into. Learn how you can build a career from testing the security of the network to fight cybercrime and enhance information security.
Ethical hacking is the practice of performing security assessments using the same techniques that hackers use, but with proper approvals and authorization from the organization you're hacking into. The goal is to use cybercriminals’ tactics, techniques, and strategies to locate potential weaknesses and reinforce an organization’s protection from data and security breaches.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cybercrime will globally cost an estimated $10.5 trillion every year in damages by 2025 [ 1 ]. They also predict that ransomware alone will cost victims $265 billion every year by 2031.
The present threat of cybercrime combined with the shortage of experienced information security professionals has created a crisis for businesses, organizations, and governmental entities, according to Forbes. It also presents a unique opportunity for a career path. We’ve rounded up some key points to consider if you’re thinking of going into ethical hacking.
Ethical hacking vs. hacking: What’s the difference?
Hackers, who are often referred to as black-hat hackers, are those known for illegally breaking into a victim’s networks. Their motives are to disrupt systems, destroy or steal data and sensitive information, and engage in malicious activities or mischief.
Black-hat hackers usually have advanced knowledge for navigating around security protocols, breaking into computer networks, and writing the malware that infiltrates systems. Here are some of the differences:
Ethical hackers, commonly called white-hat hackers, use many of the same skills and knowledge as black-hat hackers but with the approval of the company that hires them. These information security professionals are hired specifically to help find and secure vulnerabilities that may be susceptible to a cyber attack. Ethical hackers will regularly engage in assessing systems and networks and reporting those findings.
Types of hackers
Black-hat hackers are always the outlaws, the hackers with malicious intentions. But over time ethical hackers have shifted into a variety of roles other than white-hat hackers.
Some of the roles include red teams that work in an offensive capacity, blue teams that work as a defense for security services, and purple teams that do a little of both:
Red teams may pose as a cyberattacker to assess a network or system's risk and vulnerabilities in a controlled environment. They examine potential weaknesses in security infrastructure and also physical locations and people.
Blue teams are aware of the business objectives and security strategy of the organization they work for. They gather data, document the areas that need protection, conduct risk assessments, and strengthen the defenses to prevent breaches. These ethical hackers may introduce stronger password policies, limit access to the system, put monitoring tools in place, and educate other staff members so that everyone's on the same page.
Purple teams bring red and blue teams together and encourage them to work together to create a strong loop of feedback and reach the goal of increasing the organization's security overall.
Read more: Red Team vs. Blue Team in Cybersecurity
Benefits of ethical hacking
New viruses, malware, ransomware, and worms emerge all the time, underscoring the need for ethical hackers to help safeguard the networks belonging to government agencies, defense departments, and businesses. The main benefit of ethical hacking is reducing the risk of data theft. Additional benefits include:
Using an attacker’s point of view to discover weak points to fix
Conducting real-world assessments to protect networks
Safeguarding the security of investors' and customers' data and earning their trust
Implementing security measures that strengthen networks and actively prevent breaches
Job opportunities for ethical hackers
As an ethical hacker, you might work as a full-time employee or as a consultant. You could find a job in nearly any type of organization, including public, private, and government institutions. You could work in financial institutions like banks or payment processors. Other potential job areas include ecommerce marketplaces, data centers, cloud computing companies, entertainment companies, media providers, and SaaS companies. Some common job titles you'll find within the ethical hacking realm include:
Information security analyst
Information security manager
Certified ethical hacker
Read more: 4 Ethical Hacking Certifications to Boost Your Career
Job outlook for ethical hackers
Although there are many job titles you can work under as an ethical hacker, most of them fall under the umbrella of information security. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that jobs like information security analysts may grow by 32 percent between 2022 and 2032, an average rate significantly higher than the 8 percent for all other careers [ 2 ]. The shortage of trained professionals makes this an in-demand area. As an ethical hacker, you might have a variety of job opportunities available to you, from entry-level all the way to executive management.
Not only is there strong demand for ethical hackers, but this career path might also come with strong earning potential. The average annual salary for ethical hackers in the US is $ 109,495 , according to Glassdoor [ 3 ]. However, the salary differs depending on where you live, the company you work for, your level of experience, and the certifications you hold can all impact your potential salary.
Educational path for breaking into ethical hacking
There’s no single degree you have to pursue to become an ethical hacker, but having a strong background of experience and expertise is a must. Many ethical hackers earn a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. Gaining certifications can boost your credibility with potential clients and employers and increase your earning potential.
Common courses/degree types
To work as an ethical hacker, you'll need a strong knowledge of wired and wireless networks. You must be proficient in working with a variety of operating systems, firewalls, and file systems. You'll need strong coding skills and a solid foundation in computer science.
Strong technical skills, good ethics, and analytical thinking are three of the key skills you need to cultivate. Common fields of study include:
Should I get a master’s degree?
When you work in cybersecurity, having a master's isn't always required, but many employers often prefer it. Earning your master’s degree can help give you a stronger competitive edge in the job market and, more importantly, allow you to deepen your knowledge and gain experience through hands-on, in-depth exercises that often simulate real-world scenarios.
Alternatives to getting a degree
If you already have a degree but want to pivot to gain additional skills in ethical hacking, attending an ethical hacking or cybersecurity bootcamp could be an alternative to getting a degree. Many bootcamps have ties to big tech organizations, giving you increased networking opportunities and chances to make lasting professional connections.
One of the core certifications to consider is the Certified Ethical Hacker credential issued by the EC-Council. Other popular certifications include:
CompTIA Security+ covers a broad range of knowledge about troubleshooting and problem-solving a variety of issues, including networking, mobile devices, and security.
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) is offered by (ISC)² and demonstrates your proficiency in designing, implementing, and managing cybersecurity programs.
Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is offered by ISACA and is designed to prove your expertise in risk management, information security governance, incident management, and program development and management.
GIAC certifications are available in focus areas like cyber defense, cloud security, offensive operations, and digital forensics and incident response.
Read more: 10 Popular Cybersecurity Certifications
Ready to develop both technical and workplace skills for a career in cybersecurity? The Google Cybersecurity Professional Certificate on Coursera is your gateway to exploring job titles like security analyst, SOC (security operations center) analyst, and more. Upon completion, you’ll have exclusive access to a job platform with over 150 employees hiring for entry-level cybersecurity roles and other resources that will support you in your job search.
Forbes. “ Cybercrime To Cost The World $10.5 Trillion Annually By 2025 , https://cybersecurityventures.com/cybercrime-damage-costs-10-trillion-by-2025/.” Accessed September 29, 2022.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “ Information Security Analysts , https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm.” Accessed September 29, 2022.
Glassdoor. “ How much does an Ethical Hacker make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/ethical-hacker-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm.” Accessed September 29, 2022.
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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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The Ethics of Cybersecurity pp 179–204 Cite as
Ethical and Unethical Hacking
- David-Olivier Jaquet-Chiffelle 21 &
- Michele Loi 22 , 23
- Open Access
- First Online: 11 February 2020
Part of the The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology book series (ELTE,volume 21)
The goal of this chapter is to provide a conceptual analysis of ethical hacking, comprising history, common usage and the attempt to provide a systematic classification that is both compatible with common usage and normatively adequate. Subsequently, the article identifies a tension between common usage and a normatively adequate nomenclature. ‘Ethical hackers’ are often identified with hackers that abide to a code of ethics privileging business-friendly values. However, there is no guarantee that respecting such values is always compatible with the all-things-considered morally best act. It is recognised, however, that in terms of assessment, it may be quite difficult to determine who is an ethical hacker in the ‘all things considered’ sense, while society may agree more easily on the determination of who is one in the ‘business-friendly’ limited sense. The article concludes by suggesting a pragmatic best-practice approach for characterising ethical hacking, which reaches beyond business-friendly values and helps in the taking of decisions that are respectful of the hackers’ individual ethics in morally debatable, grey zones.
- Script kiddies
- True hackers
Download chapter PDF
The goal of this chapter is to provide a conceptual analysis of ethical hacking. The chapter begins (Sect. 9.2 ) with a historical introduction, describing how the term hacking and different denominations for different varieties of hacking have been introduced in everyday, journalistic and technical language. Section 9.3 introduces our proposal of a systematic classification, one that fulfils adequate descriptive purposes and that maps salient moral distinctions into the different denominations of hacker types. It does so by proposing an initial taxonomy (inspired by common usage) and subsequently revising it by adding further nuances, corresponding to further evaluative dimensions. Section 9.4 discusses the concept of ethical hacking, revealing a fundamental ambiguity in the meaning of ‘ethical’ as an attribution to hacking. It presents our main thesis, namely that ‘ethical hacking’ refers to a limited view of ethics which assumes the pre-eminence of business-friendly values and that hacking that is ethical, all things considered, may not be ‘ethical hacking’ according to the common usage of the term. We recognise, however, that in terms of assessment, it may be quite difficult to determine who is an ethical hacker in the ‘all things considered’ sense, while society may agree more easily on the determination of who is one in the ‘business-friendly’ limited sense.
2 What Actually Is a ‘Hacker’?
Almost every week mass media communicates about hackers having stolen thousands of passwords and other sensitive private information. It is commonplace to read articles about hackers having taken advantage of system vulnerabilities to bypass security barriers in order to fraudulently access private and company networks. The current understanding of the term ‘hacker’ is influenced by the news, and this twists the original definition of what a hacker is (Fig. 9.1 ). Footnote 1
Word cloud around ‘hackers’
Today’s perception of the term ‘hacker’ tends to be reduced to ‘black hat’ and ‘cyber-criminal’. This has not always been the case, and the term ‘hacker’ conveys a much broader meaning.
2.1 Hackers in the Early Days
In the 1960s and 1970s, typical hackers were not really driven by malicious intent. They were often supportive of strong (ethical) values, broader than computer security issues, such as democracy or freedom of speech. At the same time, computers, not to mention networks, were still in an early stage of development. The economic weight of computer related business was trifling in comparison to today’s influence of GAFAMs Footnote 2 in the global market. Criminal opportunities were limited. Early hackers were often students with special programming skills. They were dreaming of a world where information would be free and openly shared, a world where hackers would belong to a fair community and would collaborate to build a better and more secure digital environment. They could be enthusiastic and appreciative about the aesthetic and the inherent beauty of an optimal programming code (e.g. using the least amount of memory). They were playing pranks and challenging each other, hoping for peer recognition. Cracking the passwords of their institution was not seen as an illegal activity (and usually was not illegal at that time), but as a playful challenge with no malicious intent. They were adept at the so-called hacker ethic— including sharing information, mistrusting centralised authorities, and using computers to make a better world—which is not to be confused with what is called ‘ethical hacking’ nowadays. We sometimes refer to these early hackers as adherent to the programming subculture, or as true hackers .
2.2 Hackers in the 2000s
With the development of computers, networks, the Internet and our modern information society, information has become one of the most valuable assets. Information is the raw resource that boosts Google and Facebook. Information leads to knowledge and new forms of identities, which, in turn, allow targeted advertisement. Such valuable assets create new criminal opportunities and incentives, and need to be protected. The time when computers were a safe playground for geeks with insignificant economic consequences at stake seems far away. Hacking has become a business; a very serious one at that.
From the 1960s to the 2010s, we can therefore observe a shift in the nature of hacking incentives: ideological incentives have been replaced by economic ones (Fig. 9.2 ).
Shift in the hackers’ incentives
Ethical values at stake have evolved accordingly. In the 1960s, they were essentially described by the so-called hacker ethic. With the development of the Internet, of e-commerce and the increasing economic weight of information, freely shared information as well as many early ideological ethical values entered into conflict with economic-related ethical values, in particular regarding the protection of information ownership.
2.3 Modern Hackers
Modern computer hackers are usually defined as skilled programmers and computer experts who focus on software, computer and network vulnerabilities. There is a plethora of terms available to distinguish them: white hats, black hats, grey hats, pen testers, ethical hackers, crackers and hacktivists, to mention the most important ones. Some categories of modern hackers do not even require significant expertise. Indeed, script kiddies are non-expert hackers who run programs and scripts developed by other, more expert hackers (Barber 2001 ). Modern hackers are categorised not only according to their expertise, but also according to the (ethical) values they adhere to or not. Legal values are often implicitly emphasised in this classification (see also Fig. 9.3 ).
White hats, black hats, grey hats and script kiddies (Note that the outer layer refers to one predominant motivation (not the exclusive one). For example, not only grey hats, but also white hats as well as black hats may have fun in doing their activities or enjoy taking a challenge. White hats might also look for peer recognition)
Early hackers were categorised according to their expertise through peer recognition, and were adherent to values described in the hacker ethic. Today, ‘hacktivists’ still consider IT vulnerabilities as opportunities to promote a cause, a political opinion or an ideology. The group Anonymous is a typical heterogeneous group of hacktivists. In her best-seller (Olson 2013 ), Parmy Olson shows a large variety of profiles and incentives within Anonymous . However, most modern hackers use IT vulnerabilities for malicious purposes to commit fraud and make money. Some modern hackers strictly conform to applicable laws, whereas the majority does not really care.
Modern hackers can have a broad spectrum of incentives for their activities. According to Richard Barber, white hats are “[s]ecurity analysts and intrusion detection specialists […] [who] spend their time—just as police or intelligence analysts do—researching the technologies, methodologies, techniques and practices of hackers, in an effort to defend information assets and also detect, prevent and track hackers” (Barber 2001 : 16). White hats do respect applicable laws. In a dichotomic world, they are the good guys. Their incentive is to protect software, computers, networks and the IT infrastructures from the bad guys, the so-called black hats or crackers.
According to Sergey Bratus, by contrast, black hats “act for personal gain and without regard for possible damage” ( 2007 : 72). According to Technopedia ( n.d. ), a black hat is “a person who attempts to find computer security vulnerabilities and exploit them for personal financial gain or other malicious reasons”. They might also have other motivations such as cyber vandalism for example. Their values lead to illegal activities.
Grey hats are hackers whose intentions are not fundamentally malicious, but who accept irregular compliance with the law to reach their objectives, which distinguishes them from white hats. Contrary to black hats, greed is not their typical main incentive.
Grey hats might also share some incentives with white hats and so-called true hackers: personal fun, peer recognition, intellectual challenges, etc. However, they do not really share the original hacker ethic.
To represent true hackers, as well as hacktivists, we need a third perpendicular dimension where the legal perspective only plays a secondary role (Fig. 9.4 ).
A third dimension to represent true hackers and hacktivists
Many different definitions are used for terms categorising modern hackers. These definitions are not always fully compatible. They bring different nuances. There is a need for a more systematic classification.
2.4 Today’s Hackers
We have already emphasised a shift in hackers’ incentives from the 1960s to the 2010s. Since the beginning of the 2000s, information grew as a valuable asset and created new economic incentives for cyber-criminals. In our modern interconnected society, we now observe a new shift: information tends to also increasingly become a societal asset too (Fig. 9.5 ).
A societal dimension in hackers’ incentives
Nowadays, our whole society heavily depends on information and information technologies: transport and communication systems, medical facilities, SCADA control systems, electrical grid, nuclear plants and other critical infrastructures, government activities and voting systems, commercial exchanges and payment infrastructures, security-oriented surveillance technologies, or even military control systems.
With the advent and the development of smart cars, autonomous drones, smart medical devices and the Internet of Things, our physical world is becoming even more intertwined with the virtual one. To mimic a famous slogan, Footnote 3 what happens on the Internet does not necessarily stay on the Internet anymore. Lives are at stake. The very functioning of our society now relies on the Internet. A disruption of Internet services and other information infrastructure can paralyse a whole country. This creates a new paradigm and extra incentives for hacking activities. As a direct consequence, we observe the emergence of new categories of hackers: state-sponsored hackers , spy hackers or even cyber-terrorists . The target can be an individual, a company, a facility, an infrastructure or even a state. Whereas black hats foster cyber-crime and cyber-security countermeasures, state-sponsored hackers or cyber-terrorists have given rise to new concepts such as cyber-war, cyber-defence and cyber-peace.
3 Towards a More Systematic Hackers’ Classification
As pointed out, different meanings of the term ‘hacker’ coexist in the context of computerised systems. The term seems to have evolved since the 60s and describes very different realities nowadays. True hackers, adept at the so-called hacker ethic, are disappointed by today’s mainstream usage of the term ‘hacker’. They do not want to be considered in the same category as security breakers and cyber-criminals.
However, in the earliest known appearance of the term ‘hacking’ in the context of computerised systems (Lichstein 1963 )—which appeared in the MIT student newspaper The Tech on 20 November 1963—the pejorative connotation is already present.
Traditional dictionaries are of limited assistance in refining the meaning of the term ‘hacker’ in the context of computerised systems. In fact, this word has numerous different meanings in the English language. The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides four definitions for a hacker (“Hacker | Definition of Hacker by Merriam-Webster” n.d. ):
: one that hacks Footnote 4
: a person who is inexperienced or unskilled at a particular activity (a tennis hacker)
: an expert at programming and solving problems with a computer
: a person who illegally gains access to and sometimes tampers with information in a computer system
Curiously, the second definition seems completely opposite to the typical common understanding as it emphasises the inexperience of the hacker at a particular activity.
The last two definitions better capture the main meanings in the context of this chapter. The third one is general and covers most of the modern categories of hackers, whereas the last one is close to what we call a black hat or a cracker.
The American Heritage dictionary gives similar definitions for a hacker (“American Heritage Dictionary Entry: Hacker” n.d. ):
One who is proficient at using or programming a computer; a computer buff.
One who uses programming skills to gain illegal access to a computer network or file.
One who demonstrates poor or mediocre ability, especially in a sport: a weekend tennis hacker.
Those definitions only describe large categories of hackers. We need to delve deeper into subtle differences to distinguish between the many terms used nowadays to characterise hackers in the context of computerised systems and eventually to precisely define what an ethical hacker is.
A more systematic classification requires, as a first step, a taxonomy , i.e. the creation and definition of classes with clear identities. A second stage of classification is ascription , i.e. placing each hacker into its class. Ascription corresponds to the identification of a hacker as belonging to a specific class. Identification itself is a “decision process attempting to establish sufficient confidence that some identity-related information describes a specific entity in a given context, at a certain time” (Pollitt et al. 2018 : 7). When the entity is a person, i.e. for people identification, the identification process relies on authentication technologies in order to corroborate (or to exclude) the fact that the given identity-related information describes this person in the given context, at the time of reference, with sufficient confidence.
Authentication technologies are classified themselves into four categories, namely:
Something you know
Something you are
Something you do
Something you have
A key aim of this paper is to develop a classification of (modern) hackers, related to categories of authentication technologies.
3.1 A First Taxonomy
In order to reach a new systematic classification of (modern) hackers, different perspectives can be chosen. A first approach consists in defining classes according to hacker’s expertise (its scope and its level) and to hacker’s values (his/her objectives and moral principles). Expertise can be seen as a collection of internal resources—something that the hacker knows— while values followed by the hacker can be seen as an internal attitude—something that the hacker is . Those classes are defined in compliance with the first two categories of authentication technologies (Table 9.1 ).
Hacker’s expertise is defined by both its scope and its level. It corresponds to what the hacker knows and is able to do. The scope considers the expertise environments (OS, protocols, network, etc.), the objects covered by this expertise—those being physical (computers, phones, medical devices, smart cars, drones, etc.) or virtual (websites)—as well as the tools and programming languages mastered. The level of expertise appears to be a decisive criterion within hackers’ communities to grant access to peer recognition. Next to their technical skills, some hackers might possess social engineering expertise. This might appear to be useful for black hats in order to bypass physical or logical security measures. Footnote 5 Social engineering can be used to gain a first internal access into a company computer network, for example. However, social engineering requires significant social skills, and not all hackers are social engineering experts. Hackers can be geeks. In his book (Marshall 2008 : 1), Angus Marschall humourously defines a geek as “a nerd with social skills, and an extrovert geek looks at your shoes when he/she is talking to you.” Conversely, most social engineering experts are not hackers. However, they can work together, typically under the direction of the same entity, a conductor.
Hacker’s values encompass both his/her objectives and his/her moral principles. Hacker’s objectives can be noble: make the digital realm a better and more secure place; they can be ideological: promote political views and ethical values (freedom of speech, democracy); they can be self-oriented (fun, personal intellectual challenge, peer recognition); and they can be malicious (information theft, money extortion, vandalism). Hacker’s moral principles define the limits, if any, that they respect while trying to reach their objectives. These limits can be legal and/or ethical. They can also be personal or related to a particular community.
To give an example based on this first classification, we only consider both the expertise level (high or low) and the legal nature of hacker’s goals. We use illegal to qualify a goal which is not legal— typically a value related to malicious intentions—and unlegal to qualify a goal which is neither legal, nor illegal in nature, for example ‘to have fun’ or ‘to make the world a better place’.
3.2 A Second Taxonomy
We can extend the first taxonomy to develop a finer classification (Table 9.2 ). In our attempt to determine a more systematic classification of modern hackers, a second approach consists in considering not only the internal resources (expertise) and the internal attitude (values), but also external attitudes, as well as the external resources hackers have access to. Following the analogy with authentication technologies, the external attitude corresponds to something the hacker does and the external resources to something that he or she has.
The external attitude describes the modus operandi. Hackers’ modi operandi are numerous. Actions can be potential or actual. Some hackers will act according to what they are able to do, as long as this is compatible with their goals. Others will stop as soon as their actions could become illegal or incompatible with some moral principles. Hackers’ targets belong either to the physical world (smart objects, computers, networks, critical infrastructures, banks) or to the virtual one (e-commerce, e-banking, websites, crypto-currencies). These targets span from individual properties, to companies or even to country-level assets. Hackers can work alone, in (criminal) networks or in state-sponsored groups. They can work for themselves or as mercenaries on behalf of a conductor.
In the economic paradigm, hackers can be classified according to three categories, namely what they know (their expertise, i.e. their internal resources), what they are (their values, i.e. their internal attitude) and what they do (their modi operandi, i.e. their external attitude). In the societal paradigm, hackers are also characterised by what they have (their tools), i.e. the external resources they have access to. Indeed, state-sponsored hackers can have access to classified information and weaponised zero-days, to sneaking, eavesdropping or deep packet inspection tools. More traditional hackers usually do not have access to these resources. Some state-sponsored hackers might even have privileged access to specific locations: Internet backbone or other key physical IT-infrastructures. State-sponsored hackers can work directly for a government, e.g. if they belong to a government agency. Alternatively, they might work for official companies selling hacking products and services to governments. Eventually, they might also belong to mercenary groups selling their services to governmental or non-governmental organisations.
In this second taxonomy (see also Fig. 9.6 ), a white hat is a skilled programmer and computer expert who looks for vulnerabilities in software, protocols, OS, computers and servers, in other physical or virtual devices, and in network systems in order to improve the IT-security of a system. As a principle, he or she abides by applicable laws. He or she will stop any action as soon as it has the possibility of becoming illegal. A white hat might work alone and disclose vulnerabilities to the legitimate owner of the targeted system, with or without a financial compensation. Most of the time, white hats are professional hackers employed by IT-security companies, the clients of whom are other companies that need their own IT-security to be assessed. Pen testers are white hats specialised in penetration tests using the client’s IT-infrastructure. All pen testers are white hats, but not all white hats are pen testers. Indeed, a white hat might decide to analyse the code of some specific open source software without being mandated by its developer or by any third party.
Crackers, pen testers and social engineering experts
Black hats are skilled programmers and computer experts who look for vulnerabilities in software, protocols, OS, computers and servers, in other physical or virtual devices, and in network systems in order to support their malicious intentions. They do not abide by ethical values and do not respect laws. Black hats typically use bugs and exploits to gain unauthorised access to a computer system or an IT-infrastructure with both malicious intent and, typically, illegal means. They aim to steal sensitive information, and personal or corporate data. They attempt to trick users or companies in order to get money transferred to accounts they have access to. They might work alone, belong to professional criminal networks or act as mercenaries by selling their services to such networks or a conductor (crime-as-a-service). All black hats are cyber-criminals, but not all cyber-criminals are black hats. Indeed, many cyber-criminals do not have much expertise. They are not hackers themselves; rather, they buy and use tools or services developed by black hats.
G rey hats are skilled programmers and computer experts who look for vulnerabilities in software, protocols, OS, computers and servers, in other physical or virtual devices, and in network systems in order to have fun, to play around, to solve a challenge, to be granted peer recognition, or to improve the IT-security of a system. Usually their intentions are not malicious and financial gain is not their main incentive. They might comply with their own moral principles that can differ from the original hacker ethic. They do not necessarily respect applicable laws, which distinguishes them from white hats.
Below we select the level of abstraction to describe the intentions and voluntary constraints of the different types of hackers at the right level of abstraction in order to distinguish them more analytically. For example, a hacktivist may share attributes with a black hat or a grey hat if he/she breaks the law, while pursuing ideological objectives (not personal gain). Grey hat hackers may also pursue apparently malicious goals, ideological or personal objectives (e.g. fun, etc.) while disregarding law altogether, but who, unlike black hats, do not aim at committing crimes. One possible way to distinguish white, grey and black hats is in terms of their relation to the law and organisations or individuals:
A white hat acts legally and tries to be trustworthy for companies or other organisations that (may) purchase his or her services.
A black hat acts both illegally and maliciously, e.g. against a victim (a company or another organisation or an individual), either alone or within a criminal network.
A grey hat does not attempt to be trustworthy for companies or organisations; he or she may act illegally when required to pursue his or her goal. However, he or she does not act maliciously and attempts to minimise harm and avoid unnecessary harm.
For example, a grey hacker motivated by ideological goals (e.g. the love of justice) may illegally break the security system of a political party to highlight inadequate privacy protections, but refrains from downloading data, publishing them and causing (serious) harm. Nonetheless, he acts illegally (in most jurisdictions) because he lacks the consent of the attacked party and may also cause some harm (e.g. reputational harm for the party), which is ‘offset’ by the broader benefit for the party members’ deriving from the awareness of the vulnerability, so the act could be seen as being prevalently benevolent.
Crackers Footnote 6 are black or grey hats who perform computer and system break-ins without permission. As a consequence, their activities are illegal. Phreakers are phone crackers.
Note that such descriptions correspond to hackers described as personae, or social roles, not to flesh and bone individuals. It is logically possible for the same individual to sometimes act as a white hat and sometimes as a grey hat hacker in incognito . However, such an individual would have to keep those identities—corresponding to the different persona, the white and the grey hat—completely separated for the public eye. Indeed, the reputation as a grey hat hacker undermines all grounds for trustworthiness that are essential to being employed as a white hat hacker. Of course, it is also theoretically possible for an individual to transact from one personae to another one: e.g. from being a black hat to becoming a white hat hacker. To be credible, however, such role changes would have to be understood as a ‘full conversion’ by others—a change in the overall motivational set of the individual. Moreover, the conversion may not be sufficient to make the individual trustworthy. Indeed, many security companies would not hire a former black hat. For example, at least until 2001, IBM had a policy to “not hire ex-[black hat]-hackers” (Palmer 2001 : 772). Footnote 7 The television series ‘Mr Robot’ (Mr. Robot n.d. ) tells the story of an individual who routinely switches between the roles of a white-, grey- and even black-hat hacker, even in the course of the same day. However, the character has an unstable personality and is schizophrenic.
3.3 Ethical Hacking
Ethical hackers Footnote 8 are white hats mandated by clients (companies) who want their own IT-security to be assessed. They abide by a formal set of rules that protect the client, in particular its commercial assets. All pen testers are ethical hackers, but ethical hackers do not limit themselves to penetration tests. They can use other tools or even social engineering skills to stress and evaluate their client’s IT-security (see also Fig. 9.7 ).
An ethical hacker will try to act similarly to a black hat but without causing any tort to the company. He will look for vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious hackers, both in the physical world and in the virtual one. In ethical hacking, the conductor of the attack is the target itself or, more precisely, the target’s representative who mandated the ethical hacker to stress and assess the target’s IT-security. In comparison, the conductor of a black hat’s attack is never the target itself, but either the black hat or a third party—different from the target—if the black hat acts as a mercenary.
Ethical hackers adopt a strict code of conduct that protects their relationship with their clients and their client’s interests. Such a code of conduct sets a frame for their attitude. It describes rules that the ethical hacker must abide by. These rules prevent the ethical hacker from taking any personal advantage of his relationship with his client. This fosters the creation of a trusted relationship similar to the special relationship between a medical doctor and his or her patients, or between a lawyer and his or her clients. The client’s trust is of utmost importance in order for the ethical hacker to get the contract and to be granted permission to maybe successfully penetrate the system. Indeed, during the course of such an attack, the ethical hacker might discover trade secrets or other very sensitive data about his or her client’s activities, as well as personal data about employees. The company needs to trust that the ethical hacker will not misuse his or her potential privileged access into its IT-infrastructure in order to introduce backdoors or to infringe privacy, neither during the mandate, nor after the contract is fulfilled.
The typical content of such a code of conduct contains rules which guarantee that the ethical hacker:
will get written permission prior to stressing and assessing his or her client’s IT-security
will act honestly and stay within the scope of his or her client’s expectations
will respect his or her client’s as well as its employees’ privacy
will use scientific , state-of-the-art and documented processes
will transparently communicate to his or her client all the findings as well as a transcript of all his or her actions
will remove his or her traces and will not introduce or keep any backdoor in the system
will inform software and hardware vendors about found vulnerabilities in their products
These rules also aim at protecting the ethical hacker and making his or her work legal de facto. Different curricula even propose training and certifications in order for a hacker to become a certified ethical hacker (CEH).
4 Is ‘Ethical Hacking’ Ethical?
Ethical issues are evaluated according to a collection of ethical values and moral principles in regards to objectives and behaviours in a specific context.
4.1 Inethical, Unethical and Ethical Hacking
Inethical hacking can be defined as hacking that does not abide by any ethical value. Inethical hacking does not imply unethical behaviour, but removes ethical barriers and in doing so increases the risk of actual unethical behaviour. Greed is not an ethical value or a moral principle. Black hats typically perform inethical hacking that leads to unethical behaviour. However, what is ethical hacking fundamentally? Is it hacking that respects at least an ethical value? Certainly not, as such a hacking might infringe other fundamental ethical values. Indeed, intuitively, in order for hacking to be deemed ethical it should respect at least the most important ethical values at stake, balanced in a reasonable way. Therefore, non-inethical hacking is not necessarily ethical.
Precisely defining ‘ethical hacking’ in a fundamental, context-independent way is not a trivial matter, if even possible. We could start to define prima facie unethical hacking as hacking that infringes at least one ethical value or moral principle in an actual context. Prima facie means that the hacking seems unethical, although it may cease to appear so after a thorough examination of the issue. By contrast, the ultima facie ethical or unethical choice considers all relevant reasons, also those pulling in opposite directions, and tries to determine what is best all things considered. The ‘all things considered’ best act is the choice that is supported by most reasons, or by the strongest ‘undefeated’ reason, including all moral reasons, if any, bearing on the matter (Scanlon 1998 ). Under this logic, non-prima facie unethical hacking would be hacking that respects all ethical values and moral principles in that context. It makes sense to consider that any non- prima facie unethical hacking is ethical . However, should we require hacking to be non- prima facie unethical in order to be deemed ethical? This would lead to an overly restrictive definition. Indeed, with such a restrictive definition of ethical hacking, almost no hacking could be deemed ethical. In practice, we often face competing ethical values. Not all ethical values can be respected simultaneously; they need to be prioritised in regards to objectives and behaviors in a specific context. Therefore, a general concept of ethical hacking should not be reduced to non- prima facie unethical hacking as it would lead to a useless definition.
The prima facie unethical category can be further sub-divided into three categories:
Morally problematic: when at least one value is violated; however, the action may be justified ‘all things considered’.
Non (ethically) optimal ( weakly unethical): when the action is not the best one, considering all ethical reasons bearing on the issue.
Ethically impermissible ( strongly unethical): when there is a strong moral reason not to perform the action; e.g. the action violates an important moral duty (what Immanuel Kant refers to as a ‘perfect duty’), e.g. the duty corresponding to another person’s moral right. Footnote 9
This distinction is mirrored in terms of a normative moral psychology, specifying the emotions that a morally decent person should feel in correspondence to each category of cases: hacking that is morally wrong in the strong sense (i.e. impermissible) should evoke feelings of blameworthiness by others and moral guilt by the moral agent. Morally problematic hacking may not even be unethical ultima facie , and may reasonably lead to no moral blame and no feelings of moral remorse; however, some have argued that it may lead to some kind of moral regret (Williams 1981 , 27–28). Non-ethically optimal hacking is unethical ( ultima facie ) but in a weaker sense compared to ethically impermissible hacking; it may then justifiably lead to moral remorse and regret.
We have mentioned the idea of the all things considered (morally) best choice. Note that in a case of value conflict, a pluralist society may not agree with a single way of balancing and resolving trade-offs between values in practice. As an example of disagreement on balancing, consider supporting trust in cybersecurity vs. achieving justice . Both values could be in conflict when a white hat hacker discovers proof of unethical behaviour, or possible signs of crimes by a company during pen testing. In order to be trustworthy, the hacker should not act in any way against the interest of the company and cannot, for example, blackmail the company, in order to induce it to stop a weakly unethical practice. Moreover, a white hat should avoid any investigation—even pursuing the signs of a possible crime—which is out of the scope of his or her mandate. Moreover, such an investigation might lead to discoveries that further reinforce the conflict between promoting justice and being trustworthy, e.g. the discovery of a strongly unethical practice by the company. We can assume that companies would have a counter-incentive to hire the services of penetration testers unless they trust them to promote their own interests in any circumstance, creating a trusted relationship similar to the relationship between a medical doctor and a patient, or between a lawyer and her client. We might also claim that widespread and protected trust in the services of white hat hackers is necessary to achieve good levels of cybersecurity for society at large, which is ethically desirable, in utilitarian terms.
It could be argued that this ‘favouring trust between white hat hackers and companies’ should include companies that do not have a perfectly blank sheet in terms of ethics and legal behaviour. This is in conflict with another strong value: the goal of achieving immediate justice and of protecting possible victims of a crime or of a strongly unethical treatment. Therefore, it is not clear if a penetration tester should always reveal strongly unethical behaviour or clues of crimes to the public, or if he or she should at least threaten to do it, in order to give the company an incentive to address the problem.
The way the term ‘ethical hacking’ is used appears to presuppose a clear and unilateral solution to the problem of value balancing: the solution that gives the highest priority to (a) refraining from acting against the interests of the company hiring the services of the hacker, (b) only acting within boundaries that have been explicitly consented to, and (c) fulfilling the expectations of the client in a way that preserves the white hat hacker’s reputation for trustworthiness. Footnote 10 It seems that these three conditions do not conflict in practice. A so-called ‘ethical hacker’ enjoys the contractual freedom to act in ways that would be illegal if they had taken place without the consent of the party hiring his or her services. He/she acts in a trustworthy way because, in addition to that, he or she acts conscientiously towards the party placing trust in him or her (Becker 1996 ). We may add to this ‘respecting the law’; respecting all law in the pertinent jurisdictions, not only the law of private property.
As mentioned above, an ‘ethical’ hacker could face situations involving a trade-off between, on the one hand, preserving trust in himself or herself and white hat hackers in general and, on the other hand, achieving justice or other ethical values directly, in the short term. Note that the trade-off between trustworthiness and other ethical values could be solved differently depending on the legal framework in which the white hat hacker operates. Suppose that the hacker operates in a jurisdiction with a law that mandates the white hacker to violate a confidentiality agreement should he or she establish proof of serious crimes. In this case, the individual choice of the hacker to act against the interest of the company hiring him or her, e.g. by revealing proof of strongly unethical behaviour (which happens to also be illegal), would not in itself undermine trust. Indeed, trust relies on rational expectations and we could claim that a company could not rationally expect a hacker to protect its interests when this is explicitly prohibited by the law. Note, however, that the legal framework itself would make some companies less likely to rely on white hat hackers to enhance their cybersecurity, since some companies may prefer to run cybersecurity risks rather than giving others legal opportunities to reveal their illegal and/or strongly unethical activities.
To maximise the incentive to rely on white hat hackers, society could pass laws allowing and requiring them, like lawyers, priests and medical doctors, to maintain confidentiality about all behaviours, including crimes, discovered in the course of their professional activities. In such a context, a hacker would undermine trust by revealing clues, or even proof of illegal activities by firms. Note, however, that this is not the same as acting strongly unethically : the severity of the unethical behaviour discovered could make it the case that all things considered, the choice involving a breach of trust is the most ethical (ethically optimal), or even the only ethical (morally required) choice. Nothing guarantees that the (most, or only) ethical way to act is always the legal way to act.
It should also be noted that in choosing between these two legal frameworks, society, or its elected representatives, have to choose a trade-off point between different, equally legitimate, social values. The choice involves a balance between, on the one hand, maximising incentives to rely on white hat hackers or, on the other hand, discovering some serious crimes in the short term. Societies may make this choice based on their understanding of where the utilitarian optimum lies, but some societies may also adopt legislation reflecting non-utilitarian considerations. For example, the public discussion of a case in which a white hat hacker had a legal duty to keep an ugly crime confidential may turn public opinion against confidentiality protection, irrespective of whether it is the utility-maximising solution. A society may be moved by moral indignation to adopt legislation less protective of companies, even if the rationally expected result is that unethical companies will not hire ethical hackers and thus expose their clients to more risks.
In the previous section, we presented the well-established concept of ethical hackers (white hats mandated by clients who want their own IT-security to be assessed, and who abide by a formal set of rules that protect the client, in particular its commercial assets.) Ethical assessment in this context prioritises honesty towards the client, as well as legal and commercially-oriented values. However, other ethical values could interfere with these prioritised values. If the company which IT-security is assessed has some ultima facie (weakly or strongly) unethical activities, is it ethical to reinforce its IT-security? What about if its core business is deemed to be ultima facie unethical, in the strong sense (morally impermissible)? This shows the limit of an automated analysis of ethical behaviour based on a standard set of rules. So-called ethical hackers might perform ethical hacking in the context of their trusted relationships with their clients, while this same ethical hacking appears unethical (weakly or strongly) if we take a broader perspective.
This ethical problem cannot be solved by simply prescribing absolute respect of the law of a country. As highlighted above, nothing in the world guarantees that the ‘all things considered’ best act is always compatible with the laws of the country in which the ethical hacker operates.
Legislation might prioritise trust relations between hackers and companies above all other values. Footnote 11 However, it is possible—at least logically—that considerations of trust and trustworthiness do not override, or defeat, any other consideration in every context. Footnote 12 Hence, the ‘all things considered’ best act may sacrifice trust and trustworthiness. Footnote 13 Therefore, a hacker who is ethical—in the sense of doing the best ‘all things considered’ act—is not necessarily an ‘ethical hacker’ according to the ordinary definition, which presupposes both actions to be lawful and acting in a way that proves trustworthiness to mandating firms .
Actually, the well-established concept of an ‘ethical hacker’ is misleading. In some ways, it is a misappropriation of the term ‘ethical’. The expression ‘trustworthy for business and lawful hacker’ would fit better. Indeed, the rules that the ethical hacker has to abide by are fundamentally business-oriented. They foster economic-compliant ethical behaviour, Footnote 14 and they create a clear trust-enabling distinction between ethical hackers and black hats. They also protect ethical hackers in making their activities legal de facto. However, these rules do not consider the possibility of ethical issues competing with the need of a trusted relationship and a protection of economic interests. Often, ethical hackers essentially agree to stay faithful to their client whatever the client’s activity is. This creates an inviolable trusted relationship similar to the relationship between a lawyer and his or her client, or between a priest and his faithful. Is it ethical to keep secret (and protect) the illegal activities of a client? In utilitarian terms, it depends on the existence or not of a greater public interest to improve companies’ IT-security even at the cost of covering critical non-ethical behaviours. Even if it were not a matter of public interest, covering critical non-ethical behaviour may simply be irreconcilable with reasonable individual moralities (e.g. of a more deontological type). Some ethical hacking companies introduce a provision allowing them to report observed illegal activities, at least if questioned by the police in the course of an investigation.
Any practical definition of ethical hacking should incorporate the existence of possible competing ethical values, even within a fixed context (see also Chap. 3 ). In other words, hacking could be deemed ethical when it sufficiently respects ethical values and moral principles at stake in regards to objectives and behaviours in a specific context. This provides a practical definition of ethical hacking. We are not suggesting that this definition should replace the ordinary one. The most important purpose fulfilled by having a new definition is to distinguish both concepts. One possibility would be to use ‘trustworthy for business and lawful hacker’ and ‘ethical hacker’ to distinguish both of them. An alternative would be to use ‘ethical hacker’ in the usual (business-oriented) way and invent some other label for the sufficiently ‘all things considered’ ethical hacker instead. This new definition—as well as ethical assessment actually—is intrinsically vague, subject to interpretation and context-dependent. This emphasises the fact that ethical evaluation cannot be reduced to an a priori assumption that business-oriented values should take priority, and the qualification of ethical should not be limited to a narrow definition of professional ethics.
4.2 Competing Ethical Values
Ethical evaluation, like any evaluation process, produces values that can be fed into a decision process (Pollitt et al. 2018 : 8). The values resulting from an evaluation process are not restricted to numbers. They can be impressions, feelings, opinions or judgments. In her axiological sociology essay (Heinich 2017 ), Nathalie Heinich identifies three ways to attribute a value: measurement, attachment, judgement. An ethical evaluation is typically of the third kind: some form of judgement. The decision process following an ethical evaluation usually allows or does not allow an action, an activity or a behaviour to be pursued.
A priori, the ethical assessment of relevant ethical values related to hacking could perform an ethical evaluation of all four criteria used to classify hackers (see also Table 9.2 ):
hacker’s modus operandi
However, a hacker’s expertise is knowledge. It is ethically neutral and does not carry out direct ethical issues. Tools available to the hacker are not relevant from an ethical standpoint either. This does not mean that hacking tools do not create ethical issues. Indeed, the creation or not of some hacking tools, e.g. weaponised zero-days, leads to important ethical issues at a societal level: on the one-hand, weaponised zero-days allow countries to develop cyber-weapons to dissuade potential enemies, on the other hand, unpatched vulnerabilities—if discovered by or made available to black hats—can endanger large scale IT-systems. The WannaCry worldwide ransomware attack that shut down UK hospitals and numerous systems in May 2017 shows the impact of such a weaponised zero-day falling into criminal hands (Mohurle and Patil 2017 ).
Eventually, only the hacker’s values and modus operandi need to be ethically assessed by the evaluator. Note that the evaluator can be either the hacker or another person.
The result of an ethical evaluation depends on the evaluator’s expertise, on the available information, and on his or her way of handling and processing this information, as well as on his or her own criteria and values’ prioritisation and interpretation. State-sponsored hackers, for example, might be deemed ethical if the evaluator prioritises values of the sponsoring state, whereas these same hackers might be considered simultaneously unethical by evaluators living in the targeted country. The interpretation of the facts (state-sponsored actors do not necessarily follow traditional white hats’ rules; they typically try to introduce and keep backdoors in the targeted system; they might use zero-days and not divulge them to the developers) really depends on the evaluator’s perspective, interpretation and prioritised values.
Ethical evaluation parameters also present similarities with the four classes of authentication technologies (Table 9.3 ).
The evaluator’s level of expertise allows a distinction to be made between an ethical opinion and an ethical expert evaluation (Heinich 2017 ). The information available to the evaluator might change over time, possibly resulting in new conclusions. This is in particular true when a so-called ethical hacker penetrates his or her client’s infrastructure and discovers ethically sensitive new information. The way the evaluator processes the information relates to quality procedures and best practices; it influences the confidence in the conclusion. The core of the evaluation resides in the evaluator’s own prioritisation of (competing) values at stake.
When addressing ethical hacking, we should consider at least three collections of possibly competing ethical values (see also Fig. 9.8 ): one at a personal level (hacker’s own perspective), one at a business level (company’s perspective) and one at a societal level (global perspective). Ethical conflicts can happen within one of these collections or between some of them.
Potential conflicts between collections of possibly competing ethical values
So-called ethical hackers can ethically evaluate their own attitude, i.e. their values and their modus operandi, and they probably will because they chose not to use their expertise for malicious purpose. The code of conduct that ethical hackers have to abide by strongly focuses on the collection of values at a business level. Therefore, these values must belong to the own hacker’s ethical values and moral principles. Already at this stage, competing ethical values can appear if, for example, protecting an employee’s privacy (whose emails reveal that he is blackmailed by a competitor’s board member) conflicts with transparently communicating all the findings to the mandating client. Generally speaking, it will be easier to assess if a hacker is ethical in the narrow (and usual) sense of the term, which assumes the priority of business-oriented moral values.
Ethical hackers also have their own values and moral principles at a personal level. They might share some of the original hacker ethic. If their ethical values conflict with those at a business level, their ethical evaluation of the situation will depend on the prioritisation of the values. A strong personal ethical value or a well-established important societal value might prevail on any other business-related value and lead to breaking the code of conduct. This is in particular true if the ethical hacker unveils critical non-ethical behaviours within the company. In this case, the evaluation of whether the hacker is ethical will be significantly more complex. It is likely to achieve reasonable disagreement, even between equally well-informed persons, concerning what is the ethically optimal act in a given context. There might be no pre-established harmony between values—e.g. no way to maximise fairness and aggregate well-being at the same time—(Berlin 1991 ; Nagel 1991 ; Raz 1986 ). Moreover, even individuals who rely on monistic moral views (e.g. utilitarianism, which recognises only utility, understood as well-being) and single-rule based moralities (e.g. again utilitarianism: maximise aggregate well-being in the long term) may disagree on what the actual best choice turns out to be (see also Chap. 4 for a discussion of ethical frameworks in cybersecurity).
Note that our argument does not rely on a rejection of ethical realism or cognitivism. Realism is entailed by the view that the question concerning ‘the all things considered best choice’ can be objective, because it is determined by moral objective facts existing independently of mental states (beliefs, attitudes, emotions) about the choice in question. Cognitivism is entailed by the view that these objective moral reasons, or facts, are not facts about what (all, or the majority) of people actually want to be the case. The key point is that, even conceding that morality is grounded in objective facts independent of will of any agent, it may be in fact extremely difficult to determine what the morally best choice is.
4.3 A Pragmatic Best Practice Approach
Pen-test companies and other IT-security hiring white hats face a competing values dilemma (see also Chap. 15 ). On the one hand, they need to create a trusted relationship with their clients. On the other hand, they need to respond and even anticipate their employees’ ethical expectations. There is certainly no perfect solution to solve this dilemma, as ethical evaluation has an intrinsic personal component, is subject to interpretation and is context-dependent.
As explained above, companies hiring ethical hackers develop a code of conduct that reinforces the business-related ethical behavior of their employees, guarantees that their hacking activities are compliant with applicable laws and fosters a trusted relationship with their clients.
As already mentioned, some ethical hacking companies have introduced a provision allowing them to report observed illegal activities, at least if questioned by the police in the course of an investigation.
To minimise the inherent risks related to the competing values dilemma, an active European pen-test company with about 40 employees created an internal ethical committee. This ethical committee is composed of three employees, freely elected by all employees. Company board members are not allowed to be elected in order to avoid business-related biases in the ethical evaluation. Any employee can submit his or her ethical concerns about an upcoming project if this employee fears that participating in such a project could create a conflict with his or her own values or moral principles, or with other societal ethical values. Members of the ethical committee are in a position to make an independent ethical evaluation. Their decision is binding and cannot be challenged, neither by the direction nor by the other employees. If the committee decides to block a project, the company will stop it independently from having financial consequences.
This example illustrates a possibility to anticipate potential competing ethical values in order to avoid employees breaking their code of conduct or leaving the company. Such an approach enriches and strengthens the concept of ethical hacking and goes beyond a rule-based definition. It promotes an ethical evaluation that is not reduced to an automated process or a checklist, and allows a fine interpretation of the context and a more subtle ethical evaluation, as well as context-dependent decisions.
The term ‘hacker’ has many different meanings, even within the context of computerised systems. It should not be amalgamated with that of a cybercriminal only. In this chapter, in order to capture a much broader perception of the term and to describe its nuances more faithfully, we developed a new systematic and neutral classification based on four categories: the hacker’s expertise (his or her internal resources), the hacker’s own values and moral principles (his or her internal attitude), the hacker’s modus operandi (his or her external attitude), and the tools and information that he or she has access to (his or her external resources). These four categories can be related to the four categories of authentication technologies: something that the hacker knows, something that the hacker is, something that the hacker does, and something that the hacker has.
The term ‘ethical hacker’ in its wide acceptance appears to be misleading and a misappropriation of the term ‘ethical’. Particular pluralist societies, those that recognise that different ethical values are valid and there is no single simple way of measuring or ranking them, are likely to disagree on what is the morally best behaviour for a hacker to adopt in every given circumstance. The expression ‘business-oriented ethical hacker’ would fit better. Moreover, it gives the false impression that it is sufficient for hacking activities to abide by a list of fixed rules in order to be deemed ethical. Ethical evaluation cannot and should not be reduced to a checklist of rules to abide by those rules that are legal and/or ethical. This is especially true in contexts where at-the-edge hacking opportunities are sometimes in a grey zone which is not covered by current laws, e.g. for spy and state-sponsored hacking activities.
The creation of a code-of-conduct with rules to abide by is a welcome and necessary step in order to support ethical hacking. However, it is not sufficient. Other mechanisms—such as internal ethical committees—have to be created within the pen-test companies or the Gov-CERT units in order to allow a finer interpretation of each context, a more subtle ethical evaluation, and context-dependent decisions.
As C.C. Palmer wrote: “Instead of using the more accurate term of ‘computer criminal’, the media began using the term ‘hacker’ to describe individuals who break into computers for fun, revenge or profit. Since calling someone a ‘hacker’ was originally meant as a compliment, computer security professionals prefer to use the term ‘cracker’ or ‘intruder’ for those hackers who turn to the dark side of hacking.” (Palmer 2001 : 770)
The GAFAM acronym stands for Web main players, namely, G oogle, A pple, F acebook, A mazon and M icrosoft.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!
The verb ‘to hack’ has numerous meanings. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the first definition is “ to cut or sever with repeated irregular or unskillful blows ” which has nothing to do with computer hacking.
Social skills may also be useful for white hats, when testing again the possibility of black hat hackers’ intrusions.
Some authors consider black hats and crackers as equivalent terms. We introduce here some distinctions. In particular, we consider that crackers might be grey hats acting for fun with no malicious intent.
This may have been the case up to 2001; the authors were not able to determine if a change of policy occurred since then.
Some authors consider white hats, pen testers and ethical hackers as equivalent terms. In this chapter, we introduce some slight distinctions.
An imperfect moral duty is a duty like the duty to do charity. Wheres—Kant maintained—we all have a duty to charity, the duty is not perfect in the sense that we have discretion concerning when, how, and to whom we act charitably. Act-utilitarianism rejects the distinction between perfect and imperfect duties, because according to act-utilitarianism the acts that maximise aggregate utility are both right and dutiful and all other acts are wrong and impermissible in the context.
For the link between trust, trustworthiness and reputation see (Pettit 1995 ).
Maybe, it (correctly) identifies this policy as the one promoting the utilitarian optimum—maximum aggregate utility—in the long term.
Even if preserving trustworthiness maximises long-term utility, for it may even be the case that the best moral view is not utilitarian.
If the ultimately right morality is not utilitarian morality, the morally right act can be one that violates a policy that has a rule-utilitarian justification (the policy that would optimise utility in the long run). It is even conceivable that the morally best/right act for social morality (the morality behind laws and public policies) and for individual morality are different acts, because the two moralities differ, due to constraints (e.g. of impartiality, objectivity, inter-subjectivity, integrity) that apply with different force in the two cases. If this unfortunate moral hypothesis is correct, individuals in high-stake roles are condemned to face hard-to-solve moral dilemmas occasionally. See Sect. 4.2 .
This behavior may, or may not, be optimal in utilitarian terms (it is often very difficult to determine what maximises utility in the long term and some economic behavior may be harmful, all things considered). Even if it is optimal in utilitarian terms, it may not be ethical, if, as many people think, utilitarianism is not the right ethical theory.
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The authors would like to thank their colleagues Eoghan Casey and Olivier Ribaux, who reviewed a draft version of this document, for their fruitful comments. The chapter was created with funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 700540 and the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) under contract number 16.0052-1.
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Jaquet-Chiffelle, DO., Loi, M. (2020). Ethical and Unethical Hacking. In: Christen, M., Gordijn, B., Loi, M. (eds) The Ethics of Cybersecurity. The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology, vol 21. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29053-5_9
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Computer Science > Cryptography and Security
Title: a survey on ethical hacking: issues and challenges.
Abstract: Security attacks are growing in an exponential manner and their impact on existing systems is seriously high and can lead to dangerous consequences. However, in order to reduce the effect of these attacks, penetration tests are highly required, and can be considered as a suitable solution for this task. Therefore, the main focus of this paper is to explain the technical and non-technical steps of penetration tests. The objective of penetration tests is to make existing systems and their corresponding data more secure, efficient and resilient. In other terms, pen testing is a simulated attack with the goal of identifying any exploitable vulnerability or/and a security gap. In fact, any identified exploitable vulnerability will be used to conduct attacks on systems, devices, or personnel. This growing problem should be solved and mitigated to reach better resistance against these attacks. Moreover, the advantages and limitations of penetration tests are also listed. The main issue of penetration tests that it is efficient to detect known vulnerabilities. Therefore, in order to resist unknown vulnerabilities, a new kind of modern penetration tests is required, in addition to reinforcing the use of shadows honeypots. This can also be done by reinforcing the anomaly detection of intrusion detection/prevention system. In fact, security is increased by designing an efficient cooperation between the different security elements and penetration tests.
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Best Hacking Essay Examples
2066 words | 6 page(s)
Among the many scandals that seem to be accompanying President-Elect Trump into office is the hacking of the United States election by Russian hackers. This event has caused a great deal of debate, and rightfully so, by prompting questions about the election and its results. It has also had the effect of reinvigorating ongoing debate regarding hacking and its many aspects. One of those aspects focuses on the ethical dimensions of hacking. While many hackers and their supporters characterize their work as for the “good of the people,” others assert that they are “exercising their freedoms.” Despite these descriptions, most jurisdictions within the United States have deemed hacking a criminal behavior which is punishable by stiff fines and jail time. The discrepancy between how the hackers and their supporters view hacking and how it is perceived legally raises several questions regarding the ethics of hacking which bear closer examination.
Many hackers argue that hacking is for the good of all people and organizations because hacking highlights flaws in computer security systems. Cross (2006) asserts that most hackers are seeking “to do creative things with technology” but are “often beset by controversy” because their activities involve “forbidden knowledge” (p. 37). This forbidden knowledge relates to the public’s “basic right to privacy, respect and freewill” which is why the public often has a strong reaction to the concept of hacking (Jamil & Ali Khan, 2011, p. 3758). The general public has, according to Cross (2006), “difficulty drawing a line between hackers who study computer security as a technical interest and criminals who break into computers” with intent to cause problems or obtain that forbidden knowledge (p. 37).
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Unfortunately, according to Jamil and Ali Khan (2011), the media’s focus on cyber crime has not helped the general public’s perception of hacking, whether it would be considered ethical or not. Jamil and Ali Khan (2011) note that the media seems to focus on inside hacking attacks, which comprise 90% of all hacking attacks. This raises concerns regarding “how easy it is to be working on the inside,” giving hackers a far easier route to accomplishing nefarious attacks (Jamil & Ali Khan, 2011, p. 3758). This can undermine public confidence in the ability of a corporation to adequately secure and preserve the public’s private information. In other words, if corporations are hiring legitimate professionals who also happen to be hackers, what prevents the hackers from taking advantage of their insider status to execute malicious attacks? How will the corporation guarantee that their employees will not take advantage of their status?
This situation becomes far muddier when one considers that hacking can be and is often taught to computer programming and security professionals. Individuals who teach such skills struggle with the idea that they are teaching potential malicious hackers better intrusion skills (Jamil & Ali Khan, 2011). Of course, there is always a risk involved in teaching anyone anything. As Jamil and Ali Khan (2011) observe, it can be difficult to understand or predict the intentions of any one particular student. A nursing instructor who teaches students to give injections teaches those students how to administer life-saving medications; they also teach them a means of injecting people with toxic or fatal substances. A police recruit who learns how to shoot a gun and gains an understanding of basic forensics is given a foundation with which to uphold law and order; they are also equipped with skills with which to commit crime. These are life-and-death skills whose proper use hinges on the willingness of the individual to make the socially acceptable choice – or not. As Cross (2006) states it, “Knowing how to do something that might be harmful is not the same as causing harm” (p. 39). While some may argue that hacking into email accounts to steal credit card information is not life-or-death, the fact remains that (1) people’s financial stability affects their lives significantly, and (2) perhaps it is only a matter of time before an unethical hacker attempts to and successfully infiltrates subway systems or air traffic control systems, leading to collisions and loss of life.
However, it is clear that there are hackers who behave ethically and legally; these are often referred to as white-hat hackers (Pike, 2013). Those who do not are referred to as black-hat hackers (Pike, 2013). One may liken white-hat hackers to nurses who abide by the Hippocratic Oath and cops who endorse the police motto of “to protect and serve.” Black-hat hackers may be likened to “angels of death,” healthcare professionals who use their skills and access to harm or kill patients, or cops who use their positions of authority to exploit citizens. This brings the discussion to the question of whether or not hackers actually do work for the good of all people. It seems that the answer to that question is yes – so long as one is talking about white-hat hackers. Such hackers are “committed to full compliance with legal and regulatory statutes as well as published ethical frameworks that apply to the task at hand” (Pike, 2013, p. 67). Those tasks may include activities similar to those of black-hat hackers but are undertaken with the agreement and knowledge of the parties involved. For example, an organization may hire a security company to test the integrity of the organization’s security system. The organization is aware that its borders will be tested and potentially breached, but the security company is doing so at the behest of the organization. The members of the security company are merely testing the borders; they agree not to extract data or resources from the organization. Such an undertaking can identify weaknesses in the organization’s security system which the organization can work on closing. This can improve the integrity of the information and data relating to the organization’s customers and clients, in essence improving privacy and security. Everybody benefits from such an endeavor and, as such, represents how hackers can work for the good of all people. Of course, this may affect how research in such areas is conducted and shared; after all, publishing how-to manuals with code might be somewhat irresponsible, especially if it puts the public at risk (Anon, 2010).
Nevertheless, until the legal system changes its stance, hacking remains a criminal activity. Obviously, white-hat hackers, as long as they comply with regulations, are protected from prosecution (Pike, 2013). But clearly there are hackers who do not; they seek to benefit from their actions and take advantage of others in ways which are criminal. As such, one must consider what punishment fits the crime. Currently, hackers who are caught are subject to monetary fines and jail sentences. The most sensible way of determining the most appropriate punishment is the way in which punishment is determined now – that is, based on its impact and the level of premeditation. It would be unfair and unjust to prosecute a white-hat hacker who had been legally hired to test borders and simply retrieved data agreed upon by the hacker and the organization that hired him as evidence of the hacker’s success in breaching the borders. However, a black-hat hacker who infiltrated an organization’s patron databases and stole credit card data has committed theft and, as such, should be prosecuted and punished in the same way that a person who steals a credit card from someone’s wallet is prosecuted and punished. Someone who steals one credit card is punished at one level of intensity, one might say, while someone who steals several credit cards is punished at another level. The fact that these crimes are committed using a computer seems irrelevant; the outcome is the same: someone has their identity and/or resources stolen from them.
One can argue that someone who takes advantage of their insider status to execute black-hat crimes should be punished more severely. They have betrayed the trust of their employer and their clients/customers. They have deliberately taken advantage of that trust in order to enrich themselves. Not to be too dramatic, but one might say this is like a pedophile who takes a job in a daycare to gain access to children to assault or abuse. The pedophile takes advantage of the children’s trust in them, their employer’s trust in them, and the parents’ trust in them in order to serve their own needs. This seems even more despicable than just snatching a child at the park, since the pedophile exploits their position of trust and authority for their own needs. A black-hat hacker who gets a legitimate job at an organization then uses that access to gain sensitive information which they then use to enrich themselves (or damage someone else) has misrepresented themselves; this seems like fraud. It should be punished like fraud, in addition to theft.
Of course, the actions of a hacker sometime lead to network security breaches at major corporations, such as the one that occurred at Target around Christmas of 2013. While under the current law the hackers who carry out the attacks are accountable, there is also the question of whether or not organizations that experience security breaches ought to be held accountable as well. After all, they have an obligation to their customers and clients to preserve the security and integrity of their information. But when they fail, there is some question as to who should be held accountable within the organization when such hacking-based breaches occur. Some organizations which have experienced such breaches, like Target, take action; they inform their customers, they offer compensation of some sort, and they take action to close gaps and improve security. They do this ostensibly because they have a legal obligation to do so, but also because they value the relationships with their customers. The breaches can undermine their credibility with their customers (Anon, 2010); the organizations should do what they can to mitigate the damage such breaches can do and to re-establish public confidence in their ability to protect and preserve privacy and security.
But in re-establishing that confidence undoubtedly people will look for a scapegoat. Or they will want to know how the breach occurred and who is responsible. Stakeholders like investors will also want to know if their investments are secure; business partners will worry that they will suffer damage to their reputation or become vulnerable to attacks. The ripples associated with hacking attacks can spread far and wide. So the question of who would be held accountable is a legitimate one. It seems that it is a chain of command question; if information technology (IT) security specialists do their very best and take all possible measures to secure networks, it seems hardly appropriate to fire them over the breach. Policemen who do their best to prevent crimes are not fired every time a house gets broken into or a driver who is speeding does not get a ticket. If the IT people have done their part with hardware and software, as well as training non-IT employees about network safety, it seems that holding them accountable is unjust. If the IT people have identified issues which they cannot rectify without the resources and endorsement of higher management and management fails to provide IT with those resources and endorsement, then management should be held accountable. However, if it is obvious that IT security specialists have not done all that is reasonable to protect the network, it seems obvious who should be held responsible. In cases where an insider has exploited the network, it seems most appropriate to hold that insider accountable for the attack. Hacking may be a contentious issue. Some liken the ability to hack systems effectively on par with the ability to produce biological weapons or engage in other terroristic behaviors (Cross, 2006). But hacking, like many things, involves choice. White-hat hackers are clearly an asset; they can benefit from formal training and legitimate work, as well as the freedom to conduct research that helps them to do their jobs (Anon, 2010; Cross, 2006). Such hackers engage in ethical hacking, unlike black-hat hackers.
- Anon 2010, ‘Security ethics’, Nature, 463, 7278, p. 136, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 January 2017.
- Cross, T 2006, ‘Academic freedom and the hacker ethic’, Communications of the ACM, 49, 6, pp. 37-40, Science & Technology Collection, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 January 2017.
- Jamil, D & Ali Khan, M 2011, ‘Is ethical hacking ethical?’, International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology, 3, 5, pp. 3758-3763/ Directory of Open Access Journals, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 January 2017.
- Pike, RE 2013, ‘The “Ethics” of Teaching Ethical Hacking’, Journal of International Technology & Information Management, 22, 4, pp. 67-75, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 January 2017.
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Ethical Hacking Essay
Pros and cons of network administrator.
Every Single day it is indeed a full-time job for the network administrator to keep up with the changing technologies. These new technologies come with new challenges, threats, and vulnerabilities which a smart network administrator must solve to keep the system secure. The network administrator must keep up with new hacking techniques, latest countermeasures, and in-depth knowledge of company’s data to address the suspicious activities and minimize their effects. But then comes the question of Ethics. Should the network administrator access employees’ private emails or websites logs to ensure company’s rules aren’t violated? Is it ok to browse employees’ documents or graphics files stored on the computers or on file servers? So, the network administrator has both charms and pitfalls as he has a huge responsibility to secure the company by carrying out his duties in an ethical way. This paper explains some ethical and social challenges a future network administrator may encounter in a company. The paper also introduces some basic ways the new network administrator can use to maintain a healthy, trustful, and ethical relationship between his work and the society.
Hackers And Their Motivation Behind Hacking
In the early days of computing, a hacker was primarily referred to as a computer guru, someone who is extremely technical with a high expertise in computer also known as “Expert Programmers”. Nevertheless, as technology is advancing at a face pace, hacking has adopted a completely different definition. The modern definition is someone who access a computer system primarily to steal or destroy information. Hacking has caused major harm in the realm of technology. Over the years, hackers have become much more lethal in their craft. They manage to break into complex information systems from entities such as banks, government agencies, and private businesses. Furthermore, they often manipulate their victims through social engineering in order to obtain financial benefits. Hackers hold different label such as: black hat hacker and white hat hacker in which all have their own motives.
Public Engagement, Democratizing Science Or Nightmare?
The word hacking, usually associated with information technology, is a term used for the development of creative solutions for a problem by someone in a non-professional environment. With the introduction of personal computers and the internet, anyone could create solutions to problems in computer science. This led to the emergence of “hacker culture”, leading to the decentralization of computer industry (Hicks, 2014).
Nt2580 Unit 6 Case 6
Security and ethical employees will continue to be a vital aspect of ensuring the success of an organization. There will always be a need for ethical IT security professional as hackers will continue to force organizations to make adjustments in their business models to protect their employees, data and customers. Many organizations and managers believe application security requires simply installing a perimeter firewall, or taking a few configuration measures to prevent applications or operating systems from being attacked. This is a risky misconception. By understanding threats and respect impacts, organizations will be equipped to maintain confidentiality, availability and
Almost 90 percent of our society now depends on complex computer based system. With the increasingly use of computer and explosive growth of the Internet has brought many good things: electronic commerce, online banking, e-mail, video conferencing etc. The improvement of systems security to prevent criminal hacker has become an important concern to society. There are many ways to protect those information systems; it seems that the Ethical Hacking is a better way. Therefore, whether to teach or not teach the "Ethical Hacking" as a course in Tertiary education has become an interesting argument. In this article will analysis the ethical, legal, and ethical implications of this issue.
Black-hat hacker | A computer attacker who tries to break IT security for the challenge and to prove technical prowess.
An ethical hacker is a person who performs most of the same activities a cracker does, but with the owner or company’s permission.
The Ethics Of Hacking 101 Summary
Ellen Nakashima and Ashkan Soltani (2014), in “ The ethics of Hacking 101” article focus on how ethics is related to teaching hacking. Famous university professors teach their student the principle of hacking but expect from them in return to be ethical in what they do. For example professor Sujeet Shenoi at the university of Tulsa teaches his students on how to hack into oil pipeline and electric power electric plants but won’t accept students into his program unless they promise to work , if hired for the National Security Agency, the Energy Department or another U.S. government agency. David Brumley at Carnegie Mellon University instructs students on how to write software that enable user to hack into networks. George Hotz who made
Kevin Mitnick's Conviction
Kevin Mitnick has spent his entire life taking advantage of technological exploits, building a skill-set that would give him unprecedented access to some of the highest profile computer networks in the world. He will always be remembered for his 1995 arrest, but will also go down as a pioneer for both black hat and white hat hackers. He serves as an excellent case-study for where the line between ethical and unethical decisions lie in a very murky world that is becoming more and more connected every
Research Paper On Identity Theft
Computer hacking: Is the practice of modifying computer hardware and software to accomplish a goal outside of the creator’s original purpose. People who engage in computer hacking activities are often called hackers. Since the word “hack” has long been used to describe someone who is incompetent at his/her profession, some hackers claim this term is offensive and fails to give appropriate recognition to their skills. The majority of hackers are technology buffs. They are self-motivated and learning about computers is their true passion. ("What Is Computer Hacking?" WiseGEEK. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2013).
The Pros And Cons Of Hacking
The ethical issues surrounding hacking, stem from several sources mainly dealing with order and control, and information ownership. What is difficult to decipher from all the media hoopla surrounding the terms, "hacker" and "hacking" is both the simultaneous sensationalism and the condemnation of said activities. Of course just recently, even a movie was made and was appropriately called Hackers. The term and all that it implies has truly entered our popular consciousness when Hollywood has made a box office movie on it. As the advancement of computer technologies and systems of information become increasingly more and more complex in today's fast paced modern world and said technologies become an integral
Hacking And Its Impact On Society Essay
Hacking is the process of gaining unauthorized access to information through various means like systems or computers. In the context of computer security, a hacker is that person who looks for weakness in a system so that they can gain access to unauthorized information. They are motivated by various reasons like protest, profits or evaluating the entire system weaknesses.
As the world becomes more and more reliant on computers the computer hacking industry is greatly rising. With people such as Kevin Mitnick, who is known as a "computer terrorist" (Kjochaiche 1), computerized information isn't safe any more. Kevin is known as "the most high-profiled computer criminal and responsible for more havoc in the computer world today."(1) He considered this a fun and easy task. He got caught and thrown into prison, but once he got out nothing changed. Kevin stated that as long as the technology is there it just calls to people to break into it. Computer hackers usually start off young, thinking that it is nothing but a little harmless fun. But as they get older, they realize it has turned into
Cyber Security Essay
Cyber Security also called computer security and IT security, is the assurance of data from theft or any harm to the gadget, the product and information stored on hardware. It incorporates controlling physical access to the equipment and additionally ensuring against code or data injection or via network access.
The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines cyber security measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) against unauthorized access or attack Most people think that hackers are just people that want to mess up your computer, but real hackers break into systems because they want to see what they can do, then they might leave a message on the victims computer, but that’s it. So, the computer security people protect from those other hackers that want to mess up peoples computers. The means we take can as individual to protect ourselves in the cyber world is be anyomous on websites, don’t post your personal information ,have virus protection install on your computer, get spy
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Hacking year-old bloomington man was.
They would sometimes be using the school curriculum as an excuse to hack pertinent information that are government or privately owned. At some point, these students would be challenging themselves if they will be able to create and send unnecessary information (such as computer viruses) to other computer systems. This will provide extreme joy and satisfaction for these students. However, the issue here lies on how can this be prevented by education facilitators? Creating programs and knowing various techniques of getting into different computer systems is necessary for the curriculum. This is part of the training for the students. If the teachers would stop training the students regarding programming, then what will happen to the future of the computers? On the Public Computer hacking is normally done anonymously. It being anonymous creates triggers more actions from the public. For example, an adolescent who would never consider picking someone's pocket or physically damaging someone….
Chanen, David. (12 September 2000). "Man accused of hacking into nuclear weapons lab; Federal agents arrested a Bloomington resident they say got into computers in California. National security wasn't threatened, FBI says." Star Tribune. Minneapolis, MN
Hackers" (2006). [Online available]
Hacker: Computer Security" (2006). [Online available] ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ (computer_security)
Hacker Hacking Web Usage and the Internet
Hacker Hacking, Web Usage and the Internet Hierarchy Computer hacking is perceived as a crime and is frequently motivated by economic interests such as the stealing of personal and credit information, or by ideological interests such as the disruption of a company's service or the acquisition of classified information from government or corporate sites. However, hacking is also quite frequently used as an instrument for the expression of political, philosophical and practical frustrations. As a result, hacking has become the province of a number of highly intelligent, skilled and sophisticated groups designed to invoke public scrutiny of our society, our leaders and the direction of our world as a whole. Even in their criminality, such hackers appear to carry forward meaningful ideas. Slide Among such groups, few have been more salient or effective in this than the 'Anonymous' organization. So tells the presentation by Misha Glenny during a recent TED Convention speech. Glenny describes Anonymous….
Hackers Hacking Has an Interesting
For his activities, he was banned from using the Oxford University computers. Here he also built his first computer from scratch, using a soldering iron, TTL gates, and M6800 processor and a television. Later, Berners-Lee worked with CERN, a nuclear research organization in Europe. Here he created a hypertext prototype system to facilitate sharing and updating information. Later, Berners-Lee combined hypertext with the Internet, and the World Wide Web was born. At MIT, he also founded the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C. Linus Torvalds is a white hat hacker who is credited with the creation of the Linux operating system. He began his computer career with a Commodore VIC-20, after which he worked with a inclair QL, which he modified extensively. In 1991, Torvalds created the Linux kernel, inspired by the Minix operating system. An interesting fact is that Torvalds only wrote about 2% of the current Linux kernel himself.….
Hackingalert.com. "History of Hacking." http://www.hackingalert.com/hacking-articles/history-of-hacking.php
Tippit, Inc. "Top Ten Most Famous Hackers of All Time." http://www.itsecurity.com/features/top-10-famous-hackers-042407/
Trigaux, Robert. "A History of Hacking." St. Petersburg Times. 2000. http://www.sptimes.com/Hackers/history.hacking.html
Computer Hacking Electronic Surveillance and the Movie
Computer Hacking, Electronic Surveillance and the Movie Sneakers Sneakers Sneakers (1992), directed by Phil Alden obinson, begins in December of 1969 as college students Martin Brice and his friend Cosmo are hacking into government and other computer networks and manipulating financial accounts by transferring funds from the epublican National Committee to the Black Panther Party and so forth as what is later termed a "prank." When Brice leaves to get a pizza the police come and arrest Cosmo and Brice goes on the run. The action then advances twenty years into the future and we find Brice, now using the name Bishop, heading a group of security specialists in San Francisco for hire by companies to test the integrity of their physical and electronic security systems. Martin is approached by two men claiming to work for the National Security Agency (NSA) who tell him that they know of his real identity and in….
Oak, M. (2011, September 23). What are the effects of computer hacking? Buzzle.com. Retrieved April 16, 2012, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/what-are-the-effects-of-computer-hacking.html
Robinson, P.A. (Director). (1992). Sneakers. [Motion picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.
Stanley, J. & Steinhardt, B. (2003, January). Bigger monster, weaker chains: The growth of American surveillance society. American Civil Liberites Union. Retrieved April 17, 2012 from http://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/bigger-monster-weaker-chains-growth-american-surveillance-society
JP Morgan Hacking
Hacking the AIS Technological advancements have predisposed many businesses across the globe to challenges related to system manipulation and hacking. Connectivity technology and the internet have eliminated almost all communication barriers that businesses and individuals faced previously. Some of the dangers and risks associated with these advancements include an increase in cyber criminals who invade into the private databases of companies and individuals. For this assignment, I will focus on JP Morgan hacking. This company is the most recent example of how a serious data breach can cause harm to not only the business but to also millions of individuals. The essay discusses the responsibility of the software provider in ensuring that the entity and its customers are guaranteed that their information is protected. Some of proposals are given for businesses such as JP Morgan so that they can ensure that their systems cannot be manipulated in future. Background Information on JP….
Malware and Hacking Attacks
Asset Descriptions Computer Server A computer server is basically a fancier computer that serves as a centralized point for one or more functions that are used by one or more workstations, commonly referred to as clients. Servers can be used as launch points for applications, as a place to store files and so forth. For example, a Citrix server could be set up so as to allow people to use their "2nd Desktop" web portal. This allows people to log into the server and use applications online even without the program files and so forth being on the local workstation that is using the program (Citrix, 2015). Personnel Files Personnel files are those that relate to the employment records of an employee. Examples of personnel records could and would commonly include I-9 forms, W-4 forms, W-2/W-3 forms, performance reviews, any records of disciplinary action, job applications, wage and compensation information and so forth. Particular….
Citrix. (2015). Leader in mobility, virtualization, networking and cloud services - Citrix. Citrix.com. Retrieved 13 December 2015, from http://citrix.com
MIT. (2015). Viruses, Spyware, and Malware. Information Systems & Technology. Retrieved 13 December 2015, from https://ist.mit.edu/security/malware
SHRM. (2015). Personnel Records: What should, and should not, be included in the personnel file?. Shrm.org. Retrieved 13 December 2015, from http://www.shrm.org/templatestools/hrqa/pages/includedinpersonnelfile.aspx
Zengerle, P. (2015). Millions more Americans hit by government personnel data hack. Reuters. Retrieved 13 December 2015, from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cybersecurity-usa-idUSKCN0PJ2M420150709
Hacktivism One Expression of the
Anonymous is one of the groups that can be seen as participating in this form of hacktivism, as is ikileaks. ikileaks is probably the best know hactivist site to the general public because of the sheer volume of political information that it has made public and because of the unapologetic nature of the owner of the site. This is unfortunate in many ways because it has given individuals a false view of what hacktivism is because Julian Assange seems to have been motivated more often by pique than by genuine political concerns for making the world a better place. This is not, as one might guess, how the ikileaks founder sees the nature of his mission. ikileaks, like Anonymous, is based on the idea that information -- all information -- should be available to everyone. This is a radical claim, and indeed resembles radical claims made by groups in the 1960s….
"Analysis: WikiLeaks -- a new face of cyber-war?" Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/12/09/us-wikileaks-cyberwarfare-amateur-idUSTRE6B81K520101209 . Retrieved 8 May 2012.
The Atlantic Wire. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/07/did-lulzsec-trick-police-arresting-wrong-guy/40522/ . Retrieved 10 Mary 2012.
Castells, Manuel. The Internet galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, business, and society. Oxford: Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001.
Old-time hacktivists: Anonymous, you've crossed the line. CNET News March 30, 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
Hacktivism Securing the Electronic Frontier Consider How
Hacktivism Securing the Electronic Frontier Consider how cybercrime is defined and how it relates to the issue Internet vulnerabilities. Cybercrime is any illegal or illicit activity which is mediated by internet usage and which is aimed at accessing, stealing or destroying online data. This may include hacking of government websites, phishing scams, disruption of commercial service sites or penetration of privately held databases containing personal information about private citizens. The presentation given by Hypponen (2011) at a recent TED conference helps to underscore the vulnerabilities to which the Internet exposes us, indicating that both our privacy and our financial security are at risk on the web. Cybercrime presents an ongoing challenge to database hosting services, commercial entities, political organizations and government agencies, all of which must find a balance between creating user-friendly, accessible web experiences and establishing fortified defenses against potential breaches of privacy, security or stability. 2. hat are trespass, unauthorized access, and….
Goel, S. (2011). Cyberwarfare: Connecting the Dots in Cyber Intelligence. Communications of the ACM, 54(8).
Hypponen, M. (2011). Three types of online attack. TED.com. Retrieved on June 16, 2012 at http://www.ted.com/talks/mikko_hypponen_three_types_of_online_attack.html
Spinello, R.A. (2004). Reading in Cyber ethics (2nd ed.). (4th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning. Chapter 5
Spinello, R.A. (2011).Cyberethics - Morality and Law in Cyberspace (4th ed.). (4th Ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning. Chapter 6
Hacker Hacker Techniques the Hackers in
Such people may not geneally take shelte unde the canopy of hackes but as a esult of the moe seious attibutes of thei motivation. (Hacke Motivation) Most of the people ae anxious about the pobability of being an objective fo exploitation by a hacke. It is quite nomal that if a compute has been installed fo home use and only connected to the Intenet fo two hous once a week, then it is not vulneable to be a victim of a hacke. Application of such judgment makes it possible to indicate the vulneability of being hacked, basing on the level of Intenet exposue, as high-isk and low isk and the Intenet Secuity fims ae most common victims fo the hackes. The High pofile media-fiendly victims ae inclusive of the lage copoation's sites, political paty sites; celebity sites, etc. which ae vulneable to the assaults. Any body having thei own website,….
references and Deter Computer Crime" Yale Law Journal. Vol: 112; No: 1; pp: 47-51
Hacker Mitigation and Culture in the International Systems
Hacker Culture and Mitigation in the International Systems The explosion of the internet technology in the contemporary business and IT environments has assisted more than 300 million computer users to be connected through a maze of internet networks. Moreover, the network connectivity has facilitated the speed of communication among businesses and individuals. (Hampton, 2012). Despite the benefits associated with the internet and network technologies, the new technologies have opened the chance for hackers to attack the information systems of business organizations and collect sensitive information worth millions of dollars. Each year, businesses have been a victim of cyber-attacks in the United States. As an increasing number of people and businesses own internet-enabled devices, more businesses have become a victim of cyber-attacks, which has become a critical concern in the business and governmental environments. (Hacker news, n.d.). The objective of this paper is to analyze the cyber incidents of the Sony Corporation and….
Atkinson, S (2015). Psychology and the hacker - Psychological Incident Handling. Sans Institute.
Christopher, A. & Vasili, M. (2006). The KGB and the World: The Mitrokhin Archive II. Penguin. 41: 120-1.
FBI (2014). Update on Sony Investigation. Federal Bureau of Investigation. USA.
Fotinger, C.S. & Ziegler, W.(2004). Understanding a hacker's mind -- A psychological insight into the hijacking of identities. Donau-Universitat Krems. Commissioned by RSA Security.
Hacking Iranian and Israeli Infrastructure
Hacktavist AttacksHacktivist Attacks Show Ease of Hacking Industrial Control Systemshttps://www.securityweek.com/hacktivist-attacks-show-ease-hacking-industrial-control-systemsAn ongoing problem since 2016 and reported especially 2020 and September 2022, pro-Palestine hacktivist group named GhostSec and a group named Gonjeshke Darande along with others hacked state infrastructure with moderate cyber sophistication, focusing on unprotected ICS or IoT devices that are exposed to the internet. They typically rely on open ports, publicly available tools, and they typically operate for short periods of time to achieve a specific goal. They have attacked infrastructure in Israel and Iran and elsewhere in order to protest against state aggression committed by Israel, Iran or other state targets. This is important because they cause mainly localized disruption and other effects that can also lead to major consequences jeopardizing public safety. One possible solution is for states to perform cyber assessments: these attacks can be easily mitigated by securing internet access, hardening authentication mechanisms, performing basic….
Global Payments Hack With the New Advancements
Global Payments Hack With the new advancements of technology comes the many risks and dangers is also carries along. The evolution of the internet and connect-ability technology has brought everyone closer and has nearly eliminated many communication barriers that have been present throughout recorded history. These new advances have also accompanied a rise in cyber criminals, wishing to invade a person's or business' digital information. The purpose of this essay is to examine computer hacking and hacking processes that pose risks and dangers to society. The essay will use the company Global Payments as an example of how a hacking problems effects many and highlights the dangers involved in our digital world. This essay will view Global Payments and their hacking problem from a third party accounting system point-of-view. The company's security assessment will be analyzed and different software issues will be discussed. Finally the essay will conclude by offering recommendations to….
Dignan, L. (2012). Cost of Global Payments hack likely manageable. CNet, 1 April, 2013. Retrieved from http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57407787-83/cost-of-global - payments-hack-likely-manageable/
Dubois, S. (2011). What it actually takes to prevent a hack attack. CNN, 11 July 2011. Retrieved from http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/07/11/what-it-actually-takes-to- prevent-a-hack-attack/
Global Payments Website. Viewed 1 May 2013. Retrieved from http://www.globalpaymentsinc.com/USA/productsServices/index.html
Kitten, T. (2013). Global Closes Breach Investigation. Bank Info Security, 15 April 2013. Retrieved from http://www.bankinfosecurity.com/global-closes-breach-investigation-a- 5684
How the Chicago Airports Were Hacked
Aircraft Flight Disturbance Internal Memo: Lessons Learned From September 26th O'Hare International Airport Incident Senior Management ecommendations to Avert Widespread Flight Disturbances On September 26th, 2014, both O'Hare and Midway airports experienced a day-long disruption of operations that led to over 2,000 flights being cancelled and the entire nation affected by the disruption of operations. An employee with psychological problems intent on killing himself started a fire in the basement telecommunications room of the Aurora, Illinois control center, then attempted to slit his throat. After posting his suicide note on Facebook, relatives called 911 and both his life and the control center were saved. The fire damaged the most critical areas of the IT infrastructure for air traffic control for both the O'Hare and Midway airports, forcing air traffic control locations in adjacent states to take on one of the busiest areas of the country for air travel. The lack of IT controls in place….
Cavusoglu, H., Mishra, B., & Raghunathan, S. (2005). The value of intrusion detection systems in information technology security architecture. Information Systems Research, 16(1), 28-46.
Crockett, B. (1988). People, not systems, key to network security. Network World, 5(12), 17.
Deane, F., Barrelle, K., Henderson, R., & Mahar, D. (1995). Perceived acceptability of biometric security systems. Computers & Security, 14(3), 225.
Lynch, D.M. (2006). Securing Against Insider Attacks. EDPACS, 34(1), 10-20.
White Hat Ethical hacking is the act of having individuals who are professionals on how computer and networks systems work seek vulnerabilities and deficiencies in a network computer's security system so that they may know how and what other computer hackers can and cannot break into (Bishop 2007). This type of hacking is done so that companies themselves could know what information is more vulnerable than others, and how secure their security systems actually are. Ethical hackers attempt to break into data systems in a non-malicious way so that they may know how much others who do have bad intentions can access (Palmer 2001). The individual who conducts this ethical hacking is sometimes referred to as a "white hat" as opposed to a "black hat" which are both references from Western movies depicting the "good guy" and the "bad guy." In order for a network to be truly secure, it must….
Palmer, C.C. (2001). Ethical hacking. IBM Systems Journal. 40(1): 769-780.
Bishop, M. (2007). About penetration testing. Security and Privacy IEEE. 5(6): 84-87.
Whitman, M.E. (2011). An etymiological view of ethical hacking. In Whitman M.E., & Mattord, H.J. (Eds.) Readings and cases in information security: Law and ethics. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Caldwell, T. (2011). Ethical hackers: Putting on the white hat. Net work Security. 7: 10-13.
Cyber Warfare Cyber Attacks
Cyber warfare, a term defined by Clarke (2010) as an action of a nation-state to effectively penetrate another nation's computer resources or networks for the sole purpose of causing malicious damage or even disruption is a major cause of national and global security concerns (p.6).In this paper, we identify some cyber warfare tools (either Attack, Defense, Exploitation), and write a scenario to execute the tools. We also identify if the tool is for UNIX or Windows hacks, outer Attacks, etc. Also identified is why you would want to use the tool as opposed to another tool which may conduct the same form, via comparison and contrast. Cyber warfare tools These are the tools that are used in carrying out cyber warfare activities. They may either be attack tools, defense tools as well as exploitation tools. Exploitation tools Vulnerability exploitation tools are the tools that are used for gathering information on a given network. These….
Andress, J., Winterfeld, S (2011). Cyber Warfare, Techniques, Tactics and Tools for Security Practitioners. 1st Ed. Elsevier
Clarke, R A. (2010).Cyber War, Harper Collins.
SecTool (2012). SecTools.Org: Top 125 Network Security Tools. Available online at http://sectools.org/tag/sploits/
Tenable (2012a).Tenable Network Security. Available online at http://www.tenable.com/products/nessus
Education - Computers
They would sometimes be using the school curriculum as an excuse to hack pertinent information that are government or privately owned. At some point, these students would be…
Hacker Hacking, Web Usage and the Internet Hierarchy Computer hacking is perceived as a crime and is frequently motivated by economic interests such as the stealing of personal and credit information,…
For his activities, he was banned from using the Oxford University computers. Here he also built his first computer from scratch, using a soldering iron, TTL gates, and…
Computer Hacking, Electronic Surveillance and the Movie Sneakers Sneakers Sneakers (1992), directed by Phil Alden obinson, begins in December of 1969 as college students Martin Brice and his friend Cosmo are…
Hacking the AIS Technological advancements have predisposed many businesses across the globe to challenges related to system manipulation and hacking. Connectivity technology and the internet have eliminated almost all communication…
Black Studies - Philosophy
Asset Descriptions Computer Server A computer server is basically a fancier computer that serves as a centralized point for one or more functions that are used by one or more workstations,…
Anonymous is one of the groups that can be seen as participating in this form of hacktivism, as is ikileaks. ikileaks is probably the best know hactivist site to…
Hacktivism Securing the Electronic Frontier Consider how cybercrime is defined and how it relates to the issue Internet vulnerabilities. Cybercrime is any illegal or illicit activity which is mediated by internet usage…
Such people may not geneally take shelte unde the canopy of hackes but as a esult of the moe seious attibutes of thei motivation. (Hacke Motivation) Most of…
Sports - Drugs
Hacker Culture and Mitigation in the International Systems The explosion of the internet technology in the contemporary business and IT environments has assisted more than 300 million computer users to…
Hacktavist AttacksHacktivist Attacks Show Ease of Hacking Industrial Control Systemshttps://www.securityweek.com/hacktivist-attacks-show-ease-hacking-industrial-control-systemsAn ongoing problem since 2016 and reported especially 2020 and September 2022, pro-Palestine hacktivist group named GhostSec and a group…
Global Payments Hack With the new advancements of technology comes the many risks and dangers is also carries along. The evolution of the internet and connect-ability technology has brought everyone…
Aircraft Flight Disturbance Internal Memo: Lessons Learned From September 26th O'Hare International Airport Incident Senior Management ecommendations to Avert Widespread Flight Disturbances On September 26th, 2014, both O'Hare and Midway airports experienced a day-long…
Business - Ethics
White Hat Ethical hacking is the act of having individuals who are professionals on how computer and networks systems work seek vulnerabilities and deficiencies in a network computer's security system…
Cyber warfare, a term defined by Clarke (2010) as an action of a nation-state to effectively penetrate another nation's computer resources or networks for the sole purpose of causing…
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80 Hacking Essay Topic Ideas & Examples
🏆 best hacking topic ideas & essay examples, 🥇 most interesting hacking topics to write about, 📌 simple & easy hacking essay titles.
- Ethical and Illegal Computer Hacking For the ethical hackers, they pursue hacking in order to identify the unexploited areas or determine weaknesses in systems in order to fix them.
- Computer Security Breaches and Hacking To avoid such an attack in the future, it is advisable to keep both the client and server applications up to date.
- Hacking: Positive and Negative Perception The possible advantage of cooperating with hackers for security systems mangers of international organizations and governmental organizations is the probability to recruit them and use their knowledge to empower different organizations to improve their security […]
- Kosovo 1999: Hacking the Military The paper addresses the motivation behind the attacks, the methods of attack, and the responses of the defenders to these attacks.
- Ethics in Computer Hacking Hacking by no means follows ethics; the infiltration is to the benefit of hacker and loss of users of computer system, network or website.
- Hacking: Social Engineering Online The information is fed to the main web site that’s runs the hacking software, where the information is sorted according to various numbers.
- Ethical Hacking: Bad in a Good Way Introduction of personal computers led to the increase in the number of hackers as well as hacker targets were widened. Many hackers lack the skills to damage network systems in a major way.
- Benefits and Dangers of Ethical Hacking The advantages of ethical hacking The following are some of the advantages associated with the use of ethical hacking in an organization.
- Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Hacking So as to discuss the ethical, lawful, and ethical inferences of this concern, people need an understanding of the phrase ethical hacking.
- Adrian Lamo’s Hacking: Is It Right? The example of Galileo introduces a theory about the construction of the Solar System that was the target of interest of the well-known scientist.
- Cybercrime: Gary McKinnon’s Hacking Event It is the lack of effective controls that accounts for most hacking incidences, as depicted by the case of Gary McKinnon who was able to gain unauthorized access to NASA and pentagon systems, deleting crucial […]
- Two Greatest Hacking Systems in the USA Appropriating intellectual output of someone else is also a computer malpractice that is intolerable. Generally, Computer malpractice is seen when a person shows hasty and careless conducts or behaviors when making use of computer systems.
- Banking Sector Cyber Wars and International Hacking Flaws in the network allow hackers to access the systems. In efforts to reduce hacking in the country, a number of police units have been formed.
- Ways to Stop Cell Phones Hacking Although it is in the view of many that their phones cannot be hacked as they only protect their computers from hacking, mobile phone operators are more predisposed to being hacked since a mobile operator […]
- Sony Corporation Hacking and Security System The organization had to stop the hackers and ensure information did not flow freely but it was unfortunate, as the company sought the services of the California court because it had no capacity to deal […]
- Hacking: White, Black and Gray Hats Living in the era of the Internet and online technology increases the vulnerability of the information stored online and on electronic devices.
- The Documentary “How Hackers Changed the World?” The documentary provides detailed information, as to what were the process’s sub-sequential phases, while presenting the audience with the excerpts from the interviews with the most prominent members of Anonymous and promoting the idea that […]
- The Three Types of Hackers The article “They are attacking you: learn the three types of hackers’ was written by Jonathan Nichols and explores the three main types of hackers that attack organizations and their clients, and the factors that […]
- Shadow Brokers Hacker Group and Cyber Security Industry Therefore, in order to prevent the recurrence of such attacks, the N.S.A.needs to strengthen the security system of particularly essential information to eliminate its diversion.
- Hacker Ethos as a Framework Protecting Freedom In the case of the hacker ethos, this takes the form of hackers attempting to convince other people of the righteousness of their cause based on the image that they are portraying, namely, as individuals […]
- Cyber Security: Shadow Brokers Hacker Group A concealed group of hackers stole several disks containing secret data belonging to the National Security Agency in 2013; In 2016, they announced an auction to sell off the data they had obtained illegally; […]
- US Brokerage Hacking by India Issue The personal accounts of the defendants were used to purchase shares of stocks, following which they hacked into other people’s accounts and made good use of their passwords and usernames.
- The Different Sides of Hacking In a general sense, computer hacking involves the intrusion of the computing privacy of other people, damage of the computing property of other people like files, software etc.or the theft of private information by unauthorized […]
- Sony vs. Hackers: PS3 Jailbreak It is alleged that such option contributed to that PS3 could not be jailbroken for a record period of time, as opposed to other video gaming devices, as it gave hackers the opportunity to install […]
- The Hacker Subculture Nature and Allure The Internet connected people all around the globe and changed the face of the society forever. However, with the development of the computer networks, the meaning of the term started to change.
- Hackers: The History of Kevin Mitnick The trial that took place in the year 1999 contained his confession to some of the presented crimes and the sentence was administered in a form of a plea bargain, where he received three years […]
- Hackers’ Role as Information Security Guardians This article points out the fact that information technology has enabled increased efficiency, increased effectiveness, and an increased amount of IT-enabled processes within the personal and industrial fields.
- Hacking Government Website From the View of Right and Justice Computer crimes refers to the use of the computer system or the internet to commit criminal activities A computer crime is an unlawful act done via a computer or a network and some of the […]
- Moral Issues Surrounding the Hacking of Emails The devises to enter into another people’s email and steal information in the email is called Email Hacking. It should noted that stealing of valuable information through email hacking has become a phenomenon in both […]
- Computer Sciences Technology and HTTPS Hacking Protection Many are assured when they see the SSL symbol of a lock at the bottom of the screen and feel their information is confidential and the website is protected.
- Ethical Hacking: Is It a Thing? Computer programmers implemented the term ‘hacker’ at the beginning of the 1960s in the framework of a positive definition for an individual of dexterous software development skill.
- Hacking as a Crime and Related Theories The move to embrace the novel technology has led to the emergence of a new form of crime and behavior referred to as “hacking”. Today, the term is used to refer to individuals engaged in […]
- 21st Century Hackers – Documentary Review According to the documentary, hacking is of three different types: white hackers, black hackers, and grey hackers. On the other side, there are black hackers who use their hacking pedigree to extort money from innocent […]
- Protecting Organizations From Hackers and Thieves Relative to this fact, Mukhopadhyay et al.say that the uptake of technology and the prominence of the Internet of Things, which is a network of objects that communicate with each other, has increasingly exposed companies […]
- Internet Hacking and Cybersecurity Conundrum Therefore, the increasing number of attacks during the pandemic could be handled with the help of machine learning and have the numerous human workers assigned to less crucial tasks that actually require human judgment.
- Internet Hacking and Cybersecurity Conundrum Analysis Many people have gained access to computer systems, the Internet, and related products and services, leading to the emergence of cyber-related threats. Cybersecurity improvements are vital to the continuous developments in information technology, national security, […]
- Hackers: The Good, the Bad and the Gray They are the most familiar with the latest methods of Black Hat hacking, thus making it possible to prevent attempts and reinforce security.
- White Hat and Black Hat Hacking On the other hand, White Hats work with companies and help them identify weaknesses in their systems and fix relevant vulnerabilities to ensure that attackers cannot illegally gain access to data.
- Encryption and Hacking Techniques There are several advantages of text-based encryption, and they include the fact that the data can be used across different devices through the concept of multi-device encryption techniques.
- Hacking Prevention: Mobile Phone Anti-Virus However, the less discussed and addressed subject is the cybersecurity of mobile phones, which are among the most used and vital devices for the majority of the population.
- Assessing the Factors Associated With the Detection of Juvenile Hacking Behaviors
- Hacking Attacks, Methods, Techniques, and Their Protection Measures
- Hacking Bluetooth Enabled Mobile Phones and Beyond
- Hacking: Implications for Computerized Accounting Information System
- Computer Crime, Hacking, Phreaking, and Software Piracy Issues
- The Infamous Sony Hacking Scandal in the Modern Times
- Computer Hacking and Cyber Terrorism: The Real Threats in the New Millennium?
- Hacking Computers and Ethics: What Comes to Mind When You Think of Hacking?
- The Concern Over the Rising Cases of Hacking and Other Computer Crimes
- Media Regulation and the UK Hacking Scandal
- Cybercrime and Internet Hacking and Its Effect on the Cybersecurity Policies
- The U.S. Charges North Korean Spy Over Wannacry and Hacking the Sony
- Characterizing Cyberbullying Among College Students: Hacking, Dirty Laundry, and Mocking
- How Does ATM Hacking Affect Business in the U.S?
- Investigating Kevin Mitnick and Computer Hacking Philosophy
- Hacking as Transgressive Infrastructuring: Mobile Phone Networks and the German Chaos Computer Club
- Use of a Multitheoretic Model to Understand and Classify Juvenile Computer Hacking Behavior
- The Debate About Securing the Internet With Advancements in Technology and the Rise of Hacking
- Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics: Ethical and Unethical Hacking
- Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals Accused of Hacking Houston Astros Player Database
- Computer Hacking: Just Another Case of Juvenile Delinquency?
- The Hacking of America: Who’s Doing It, Why, and How?
- Common Reasons Why Internet Users Resort to Hacking
- The General Theory of Crime and Computer Hacking: Low Self-Control Hackers?
- The Past, Present, and Future of Computer Hacking
- Computer Crimes and the Most Famous One Is Hacking
- Information Systems Management: Original Purpose of Hacking
- Hacking Competitions and Their Untapped Potential for Security Education
- Hacking: Redefining the Society’s Concept of the Computer Enthusiasts
- Illegal Computer Hacking: An Assessment of Factors That Encourage and Deter the Behavior
- What New Dangers Might Result From Data-Phishing and Hacking for Businesses and Individuals?
- Cybercrime Prevention Measures: How to Avoid Hacking?
- Scientific Causal Model: Cybercrime Related to Terrorism, Economy, Privacy, and Hacking
- How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to the Epic Hacking of Mat Honan?
- Corporate Ethical Issues and Ensuing Influence: Case Study of Murdoch’s Phone Hacking Scandal
- The Extent and Consequences of P-Hacking in Science
- Norse Corp.: Monitoring Hacking Traffic
- Canada and Legal Issues Involving Regulation of the Internet and Computer Hacking
- Hacking Exposed: Network Security Secrets & Solutions
- Understanding the Concept Behind Hacking and Methods, They Use to Hack Computers
- Chicago (A-D)
- Chicago (N-B)
IvyPanda. (2023, November 9). 80 Hacking Essay Topic Ideas & Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/hacking-essay-topics/
"80 Hacking Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." IvyPanda , 9 Nov. 2023, ivypanda.com/essays/topic/hacking-essay-topics/.
IvyPanda . (2023) '80 Hacking Essay Topic Ideas & Examples'. 9 November.
IvyPanda . 2023. "80 Hacking Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." November 9, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/hacking-essay-topics/.
1. IvyPanda . "80 Hacking Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." November 9, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/hacking-essay-topics/.
IvyPanda . "80 Hacking Essay Topic Ideas & Examples." November 9, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/hacking-essay-topics/.
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