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Describe the Tone in Regard to Hacking and Explain What the Article Conveys in Regard to Stigmas and Labels Surrounding the Hacker

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Hacking is an attempt to exploit a computer system or a private network inside a computer. Simply put, it is the unauthorised access to or control over computer network security systems for some illicit purpose. To better describe hacking, one needs to first understand hackers. One can easily assume them to be intelligent and highly skilled in computers. In fact, breaking a security system requires more intelligence and expertise than actually creating one.

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There's also another way we parse hackers. Remember the classic old Western movies? Good guys = white hats. Bad guys = black hats. Today's cybersecurity frontier retains that Wild West vibe, with white hat and black hat hackers, and even a third in-between category. If a hacker is a person with deep understanding of computer systems and software, and who uses that knowledge to somehow subvert that technology, then a black hat hacker does so for stealing something valuable or other malicious reasons. So it's reasonable to assign any of those four motivations (theft, reputation, corporate espionage, and nation-state hacking) to the black hats. White hat hackers, on the other hand, strive to improve the security of an organization's security systems by finding vulnerable flaws so that they can prevent identity theft or other cybercrimes before the black hats notice. Corporations even employ their own white hat hackers as part of their support staff, as a recent article from the New York Times online edition highlights. Or businesses can even outsource their white hat hacking to services such as HackerOne, which tests software products for vulnerabilities and bugs for a bounty. Finally, there's the gray hat crowd, hackers who use their skills to break into systems and networks without permission (just like the black hats). But instead of wreaking criminal havoc, they might report their discovery to the target owner and offer to repair the vulnerability for a small fee. Early hackers who obsessively explored low-tech methods for getting around the secure telecommunication networks (and expensive long-distance calls of their era) were originally called phreaks—a combination of the words phone and freaks. They were a defined subculture in the 1970s, and their activity was called phreaking. Nowadays, phreakers have evolved out of the analog technology era and become hackers in the digital world of more than two billion mobile devices. Mobile phone hackers use a variety of methods to access an individual's mobile phone and intercept voicemails, phone calls, text messages, and even the phone's microphone and camera, all without that user's permission or even knowledge. Compared to iPhones, Android phones are much more fractured, whose open-source nature and inconsistencies in standards in terms of software development put the Androids at a greater risk of data corruption and data theft. And any number of bad things result from Android hacking. Cybercriminals could view your stored data on the phone, including identity and financial information. Likewise, hackers can track your location, force your phone to text premium websites, or even spread their hack (with an embedded malicious link) to others among your contacts, who will click on it because it appears to come from you. Of course, legitimate law enforcement might hack phones with a warrant to store copies of texts and emails, transcribe private conversations, or follow the suspect's movements. But black hat hackers could definitely do harm by accessing your bank account credentials, deleting data, or adding a host of malicious programs. Phone hackers have the advantage of many computer hacking techniques, which are easy to adapt to Androids. Phishing, the crime of targeting individuals or members of entire organizations to lure them into revealing sensitive information through social engineering, is a tried and true method for criminals. In fact, because a phone displays a much smaller address bar compared to a PC, phishing on a mobile Internet browser probably makes it easier to counterfeit a seemingly trusted website without revealing the subtle tells (such as intentional misspellings) that you can see on a desktop browser. So you get a note from your bank asking you to log on to resolve an urgent problem, click on the conveniently provided link, enter your credentials in the form, and the hackers have you.

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Computer-related deviance has not been sufficiently studied, especially from the perspective of the perpetrators themselves. The present study analyzes the ways in which hackers interpret their lives, behavior, and beliefs, as well as their perceptions of how society treats them. The study examines hackers’ life stories that explain who they are and what they do, which provides a deeper, sharper picture on the complexity of the phenomenon than a survey could. The focus is on the social construction of deviant identity among hackers and on the meanings they assign to their reality.The computer underground forms a worldwide subculture. The symbolic identity of the computer underground generates a rich and diverse culture consisting of justifications, highly specialized skills, information-sharing networks, norms, status hierarchies, language, and unifying symbolic meanings. The "hacker" label is often used to refer to the computer underground as a whole (Taylor, P. A. (1999). Hackers have a distinct image, an imagined identity that binds them, even if they never meet each other. But there are also differences between subgroups that are classified depending on their expertise, areas of interest, and behavior patterns. The perplexity surrounding the label "hacker" has to do with the fuzzy definition of the term and the vague boundaries between computer experts and hackers, as well as those characteristics that differentiate between various types of hackers. Hackers themselves suggested different terms and meanings to define hackers and hacking. The best-known members of the computer underground are hackers/crackers (usually referring to those who break into computer systems), phreaks (those who use technology or telephone credit card numbers to avoid long distance charges), and pirates (those who distribute copyrighted software illegally). As there are differences in the meaning and practice of being a hacker, it is essential to examine if and how it is represented by differences in the hackers’ self-presentation. This research outlines the differences between deviant and less deviant computer hackers. The term hacker has evolved through the years. From the beginning, hacking has raised serious concerns on the misuse of the powerful, new electronic technology. Yet, initially the term had connotations of honorable motives of virtuoso programmers overcoming obstacles. “Hacking can signify the free-wheeling intellectual exploration of the highest and deepest potential of computer systems (Woo, H., Kim, Y., & Dominick, J. (2004). Hacking can describe the determination to make access to computers and information as free and open as possible.” This is hacking as defined history of the computer milieu, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution.

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Overall, spending a weekend at Def Con is a good way to learn how many dangers lurk in the digital world. (It wasn’t just voting machines, hackers also demonstrated hacks on cars, kitchen appliances and all manner of other connected devices.) It’s also a way to appreciate how necessary ethical hackers are to a modern democracy, especially one that is under siege from foreign online attackers. To paraphrase an organization with close ties to the government: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a hack is a good guy with a hack.

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Ben Y., N. (1990). Positive and negative deviance: More fuel for a controversy. Deviant Behavior, 11(3), 221-243.

Swann, W. B. Jr., Wenzlaff, R. A., & Tafarodi, R. W. (1992). Depression and the search for negative evaluations: More evidence of the role of self-verification strivings. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 101, 314—317

Taylor, P. A. (1999). Hackers: Crime and the digital sublime. New-York: Routledge.

Turgeman-Goldschmidt, O. (2002). Becoming deviant: The social construction of computer deviants (hackers, crackers, and others).” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Woo, H., Kim, Y., & Dominick, J. (2004). Hackers: Militants or merry pranksters? A content analysis of defaced web pages. Media Psychology, 6(1), 63-82.

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Essay sample
Describe the Tone in Regard to Hacking and Explain What the Article Conveys in Regard to Stigmas and Labels Surrounding the Hacker
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