- What Is a Hacker?
- Who Are the Hackers?
- What Damage Can Hackers Do?
- Targets of a Hack Attack
- Hacker Motivation: I Think Therefore I Hack
- Tools of the Trade: Pass Me a Trojan Horse, Would You?
- Firewall: Shut Out the Hackers
- Software Firewalls: Programs That Stop Hackers
- How to Detect a Hacker Attack
- How to Fix a Hacker Attack
- Batten down the Hatches—10-Minute Tactics
- Wall off the World—Install a Better Firewall in an Afternoon
- The Absolute Minimum
Who Are the Hackers?
Hackers and crackers are usually highly intelligent social misfits who tend to have a strong curiosity and often have an anarchist or, at very least, anti-authoritarian bent. They see the Internet as a playground and they tend to believe information should be free. Sometimes they are described as digital joy riders.
In an interview on SafeMode.org, one hacker—who used the nickname xentric—explained why he hacks:
"It’s just that feeling when you finally get something done. You put lots of effort into some hacks and I feel a rush of excitement whenever I succeed in doing something. What is the incentive that keeps (me) doing it? Curiosity..."
It’s safe to say that the vast number of people who try to gain illegal access to computers are young men. Many high-profile hackers are in their 20s and 30s. However, many are simply teenagers who have access to publicly available hacking tools that can be downloaded easily from the Internet.
There’s a hierarchy in the hacker community. High-status crackers write their own tools and develop their own break-in mechanisms to gain access to computers. Lower down on the hacker food chain are script kiddies. These electronic intruders use freely distributed tools designed by others to engage in computer vandalism, break-ins, or electronic theft.