I don’t know why its been a buzz eversince the computing world began. I think its because for every matter, there should be an anti-matter.. well, that for a fact still needs to be proven. Let’s just say, for every good, there is evil… but hacking isn’t evil by itself.
We programmers get elated by our creation. We enjoy making things out of plain ideas. Seeing them come alive is the next best thing to being alive. But, if you think about it, you cannot create something that you cannot undo, or destroy. For every creation, there must be destruction too.. otherwise, there wouldn’t be any end to anything at all that is being created. Right?
Now, much like there is engineering, there is also reverse engineering. Sometimes its harder to engineer and easier to reverse engineer something. In the computing world, its difficult to simply come up with an idea.. create it, then bullet proof it. When you create something from scratch, it gets a higher susceptibility to destruction. Because something was born from nowhere it is automatically susceptible of its environment.. just like a baby. Unlike something that is constructed through a model of an object that has been tried and tested, the newly created object would be open to the dangers of its environments, moreso to the dangers of its enemies capabilities.
I am not saying that creating a new system from a specially profound idea is all out bad.. the hackers make it harder for this system to survive. Consider this, you have a system, like Google or Yahoo for example, that are already known as robust, stable and scalable. You present it to the public. The public will go “Aaaaahhh” at first, and then.. “Hmmm.. what if..” in the end. There are a lot of brains out there and folly that are waiting to be executed upon these systems. Others will go hacking them directly, while others will attempt to do something stupid to make it crash. Either way, it can be called hacking.
In computer security, a hacker is a person who specializes in work with the security mechanisms for computer and network systems. The subculture around such hackers is termed network hacker subculture, hacker scene or computer underground. While including those who endeavor to strengthen such mechanisms, it is more often used by the mass media and popular culture to refer to those who seek access despite these security measures. Accordingly, the term bears strong connotations that may be favorable or pejorative.
For a third world country, we Filipinos intend to become known most of the time. We strive hard to establish a personality that will make the country proud and satisfy our own personal pride at the same time. The last time a Filipino became extremely famous in the world of computing was when the I Love You Virus broke out. Its also really surprising that many hacking attacks to the US’ famous FBI and Microsoft including a lot of local companies/establishments came from the Philippines. I do not know why, but I believe its the attention that is being given to hackers in movies, and the glory that seems to be attached in them that makes more computer know-hows try to learn hacking.
Personally, I tried to understand hacking.. even so, navigate my own technical knowledge into hacking skills. For one, I have learned in my undergrad years that it takes a lot of patience and even more thought power to debug a program, than to actually create it. Just like hacking, it requires just as much effort, understanding and a lot of patience. Skill must be innate. Hacking cannot be learned overnight, if you believe you learned hacking within 24 hours, then I think you have mistaken hacking for a cheat sheet. Hacking is difficult, stressful even when done at the most crucial times (just like how you see them in movies). They are usually the stars of a movie when they can work out something technically difficult for the average guy, then succeed in the end.
It can be good at times. Good, when you can try to save a reputation, prevent mishaps to happen or even save lives. Its also good when you do it in behalf of a company that badly needs a hack or tweak during times of emergency. But, most of the time its bad. It causes destruction because some person feels like hacking brings pride and glory despite the side effects. A very good example would be to create a virus that can only bring fame and fun.
At this point, I’d like to advice people who want to become hackers to think about defining for themselves what hacking is and what kind of a hacker do they really want to be. I asked my good friend and mentor once, whether he ever tried hacking before. I was astounded to hear such simple answer as: “It is better to strengthen the system, than trying to attack it to identify its weakness”. Shortly, he followed with a suggestion: “Why not try cryptography. Its a good start.”
In the end, its how one can morally behave given a skill set, is what defines their ethics. You can try to read this article. I think its a good read.