POST OF THE DAY
January 31, 2017,Posted by: Admin
In defense of the Art of HackingBreaking into computer systems to steal information or damage files is definitely criminal. But that does not justify classifying the art of hacking itself as illegal or undesirable, argues Samir Kelekar, as he puts forth his case in defence of hacking.
In a world full of dos and doníts, there are few things that are good for the soul. And one such thing is hacking. Hacking, the art of electronically breaking through the security of a computer or a network, is much maligned, but for a true hacker, it is almost the essence of his/her (havenít heard of too many women hackers though) life.
In a world full of hegemony of the biggies, and where the small are almost trampled upon, hacking is the equivalent of registering protest for the underpowered, the oppressed and the helpless.
It is one way for the downtrodden to get back at the big bad world. From a totally different perspective, hacking as a technological challenge is almost unparalleled. It is the technological equivalent of a climb to Mount Everest, the climax of which occurs when one has broken into a computer.
Never mind the legality or the illegality of it, or the ethics or the lack of it, I would like to put together here a defence of an art which is so special and unique that it is almost worthy of worship.
* Hacking advances technology
Today a whole new field of computer and network security has arisen due to the ingenuity of the hackers. Remove the hackers, and this field is bound to disappear. Keep them there, and hey, there are more jobs for people, the economy is boosted, and thus society is benefited. Estimates by Lehman Brothers done recently indicate that publicly traded Internet security companies are likely to grow as much forty percent in the next twelve months.
* Hacking is good for your brain
Hacking is like playing chess, and one of the most mentally stimulating exercises that one can think of doing today. In a world increasingly inclined towards passive entertainment such as watching television, hacking is something that challenges the mind to be more active and alert.
A society of hackers would no doubt be a society with a very high intelligence quotient.
* By itself, hacking is not harmful
The mere fact of breaking into someone elseís computer is not harmful. If there is no malicious intent to harm the computer that is broken into, and no harm comes to the data, programs or hardware in the process of the break-in, then what is wrong with it?
* Hacking is a creative endeavour
Hacking is not an easy job. The hacker has to pull the last trick out of his bag to be able to break through. Creativity is at its peak when a system gets broken into. Right from the mathematics of encryption to befriending the pretty receptionist of a company to get the passwords of the users, the hacker resorts to a whole spectrum of techniques under the sun to achieve his end. In that sense, a hacker is not just a nerd but has to learn to understand the gamut of life itself.
* Hacking motivates
In the dreary world of the software industry, with five pages of documentation to be written for every page of code, and five managers to be kept satisfied at all times, few things can be as motivating as a crack at a website. Hacking is so motivating it can lure a true hacker away from the pubs, boring dates and other distracting human activities, to the dizzy heights of the cyberworld.
In a world that is becoming increasingly full of rules and legalities that urge you to do this and not to do that; where lawyers, rather than software engineers, already rule the roost, making hacking illegal would tilt the balance further in the wrong direction. Also, hacking is equivalent to freedom of speech in the cyberworld. A cyber user should have the right to probe, inquire and explore his/her world freely. Cutting off his freedom by making hacking illegal is equivalent to gagging of his freedom of speech. If at all, it is technology which should be advanced so that hackers cannot break into networks; laws are no excuse for technological incapability. Make breaking into computers tough, if not impossible. Hackers will of course be ready to take up the challenge, and find newer and more innovative ways to hack. After all, the hacker loves nothing more than a smart adversary on the other sideófor ultimately thatís the test of how deep and true his love for technology really runs, and how smart he really is.
The author is a Bangalore-based entrepreneur, with over 18 years of experience in companies like Motorola, Alcatel and IBM. Among his varied interests is the area of network security and its impact on society. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org