The way Hackers are presented in the media is perplexing. At times they are the face of pure digital evil and at others they become the only hope of the civilized world against corporate corruption. Why? What purpose could such a dual depiction serve?
Hackers first became known to the general public by movies like War Games. At the time they were smart kids with social behavioral deficiencies. The image persisted and more recent movies, like the Hackers saga, continued that trend. Then came The Matrix, which forever changed all that. Hackers now became tech-savvy individuals who were not necessarily socially inept but remained intelligent and young. Swordfish, in some ways used that premise for its Hacker too, while Antitrust took it one step further and turned the Geek into a potentially powerful person, remind you of anyone?
So much for the movie history of Hackers but why the double, current portrayal? The widespread use of the net has meant that most users are really not that computer literate.
This means that if they hear and read often enough about the hidden dangers of the net they will soon look for simple and easy ways to protect themselves. This need for protection has opened up an extremely big door for various software applications such as AntiVirus and Firewall utilities.
The Bad Hacker
The bad Hacker is often seen in various news media. That particular breed of hacker is likely to attack your PC at any time, usually as soon as you are online, his powers include the power of hard drive seduction and IP charming. They are often referred to as the greatest future threat to the world's economy.
The bad hacker can cause irreperable damage to any computer almost just by thinking of it. Protection against these people is essential and no form of extravagant software fee should keep you from enriching your defensive arsenal.
The Benign Hacker
This type of Hacker is driven by strong moral and ideological issues. Good Hackers usually apply their skills in order to find, and then make public, security flaws which could be used by the Bad Hackers if not noticed. They are often referred to as the only hope this world has against corporate greed and corruption.
Their powers include extremely high intelligence, enough selflessness to actually die for any of us for no reason, an almost mystical quality which will attract others to them and an irresistable urge to follow white rabbits.
Be warned, you will never be able to tell which type of Hacker is which without having the appropriate software.
The new trend of constantly referring to Hackers in the news has also created another phenomenon. All news stories on the subtle art of Hacking, whether carrying a positive or negative view, will always offer just enough information about what software or websites Real Hackers use, so that anyone can begin looking. Attracted by the constant attention Hackers receive, many will begin their quest for knowledge.
This has the interesting side effect of increasing the number of hack attempts and of making software applications more efficient, since 90 percent of the so-called Hackers out there have no idea what their software is doing.
Witness a Hack Attack
Following the trend, Newsweek have a recent feature, which allows you to step into the middle of a hack attempt. The scenario allows you to step into the shoes of either a White Hat or a Black Hat, no prizes for guessing who the bad guy is.
While the feature doesn't offer much realism, it is entertaining and does serve as an example which proves all the points about such articles mentioned above.
Are you ready? Then step into the world of a hacker.