30 October 2011

Hackers Beyond the Technology

Every day you hear about threats on the internet. Viruses, malware, cyber crime and phishing are words that Internet users are too frightened of them. The term hacker is all more frightening. Users are always afraid of this word. Some users think that hackers are always playing a negative role in computer world, but it is not true. The computer world was always full of computer hackers, who have guided and shaped the development of today’s computer science, Internet and network. Hackers are of tow types; White Hat and Black Hat. They are people who actually use the computer at a higher level than the ordinary users. They are specialists in computer system and have the ability to take control of system. This is itself is not a bad thing but if they use their ability to exploit others, then we can call it a cyber crime.
White Hats are those hackers who use their skill to improve the computer science and help for developing better security systems. But Black Hats are refer to those who use their knowledge to spy on other users, take control of their system, steal their bank account information etc. now let me introduce you the 10 famous hackers who have made history in computer word.

Knard Zuse
Knard Zuse can be the first hacker in computer history. The work he has done with the meaning of being a hacker does not fit. But if he didn’t exist then the today modern hackers also did not exist. He created the world’s first computer with ability to be control with programming languages, or some say completed. This computer was called Z3. The first computer that he made was Z1 that was not capable of programming. He built this system in the apartment that he lived with his family in 1983. Later with German government support, he could create a revolution from Z1 to Z3. Z3 was built in 1941 and it is the father of modern computers.

John Draper (Captain Kranch)
He was the one who was hacking personal computers before such devices became available to all today. John Draper also known as Captain Kranch is an American computer programmer and former phone Phreak. He is among the hackers of the early 1970s when the telephone system was controlled by largest computer network. At that time telephone systems were managed with a special system that used special analog frequencies. Captain Kranch was able to done one of the largest Phreaking (hacking the call communication systems and telecommunications is called Preaking). He used  whistle toys that were inside the Corn Flex boxes. He made a device with these whistles and called it Blue Box. This device had ability to reproduce the same frequency that had been used by communication system for transmitting calls. Draper, with the production of this device hacked the telecommunication system and established his name among great hackers.

Steve Wozniak (Woz)
Steve Wozniak was familiar with Phreaking. He is a Polish American computer engineer and programmer who founded Apple computer, Co with the late CEO Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne. He is also sometimes referred to as the Wonderful Wizard of Woz and iWoz. Woz (Wheels of Zeus) is also the name of a company Wozniak founded. After Draper explained the working of Blue Box in the Homebrew Computer Club meeting, Wozniak used this device to construct its own version. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs also saw the market pull for such applicants are high, so both of them started investment for this device.
Steve Wozniak can be classified among the White hat hackers. He and Steve Jobs with selling Blue Boxes and Wozniak favorite HP calculator and Steve Jobs Volkswagen Van, built the first Apple computer that called it Apple I. Excellent advices that help them with marketing, they went so far that Apple considered as today’s leading and most popular computer manufacturer.

Robert Tappan Morris
As a Cornell University graduate student, Robert Morris created the Morris Worm in 1988, and it considered to be the first computer worm on the Internet and he is the first person convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He claimed the he had been tried to produce a worm to find out how large the Internet really is.
In November 1988, Morris worm was first entered into about 6 thousand computers (about 10% of Internet connected computers at the time). His worm infected around 6,000 major Unix macnines at Cornell university causing millions of dollars in damage. The worm seemed very safe, but due to its repeated failures in the algorithm, it was making many copies of itself. This worm was slowing down the load up of the victim computer. The worm was programmed to check each computer it found to determine if the infection was already present. He released the worm from MIT to conceal the fact that it actually originated from Cornell. In 1988, he was the first person that was arrested for misuse of computer programs.

Mark Abene (Phiber Optics)
Mark Abene, is a computer security hacker from New York City. He never left the United States Department of Defense, did not hack onto any computer system and has not robbed a bank through computer. The cause of his fame was hit on AT&T. Abene as a member of Master of Destruction hacking group and Legion of Doom, cause disruption in AT&T telecommunication system. After hacking the AT&T, more than 60 thousand telephone users were not able to make phone calls for 9 consecutive hours. Immediately after that the America Secret Service arrested him and seized his equipment. AT&T announced that it was their fault, but the Abene was charged with first degree and was sentenced to a year in federal prison. This incident brought the world fame as the first hacker for Mark Abene.

Kevin Poulsen(Dark Dante)
Kevin Poulsen has done one of the most interesting hacks. He is a former black hat cracker and he is currently News Editor at Wired.com. Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM had promised a Porsche 944 S2 for hundred and second caller. He has done most famous and most interesting hack to be 102 ranks among the all participants in the radio program. He hacked the Los Angeles radio station’s phone lines and took control of all incoming calls to be sure he will be the 102 caller. When the FBI prosecuted him, he was forced to flee and hide. But when a famous TV show called Unsolved Mysteries was streaming live, he crashed all telephone lines during the program. Finally in 1991 he was arrested for computer fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to 51 month in prison and ordered to pay $56,000 in restitution. At the time, it was the longest sentence ever given for cracking.
Curiously, he did not stay idle during his imprisonment and started cooperate with FBI. He helped the police in 180 cases of cyber crimes and even hunted down some sexual predators on social networks MySpace.

Kevin Mitnick
Kevin Mitnick is one of the famous hackers in computer science history. He is a computer security consultant, author and hacker. He is the one of the first person that became on the list of FBI wanted criminals because of various computer and communication related crimes. As an expert in social engineering, Mitnick just was not attacking users’ computer, but also their minds. In 1979, at age 16, he did his first hack by hacking a company computers system and copying its software. He contacted employees of different companies through phone or email and pulled their passwords and security information under their tongues.
At age 43, Mitnick used social engineering to bypass the punched system used in the Los Angeles bus system. Social engineering became his primary method of obtaining information, including user names and passwords and modem phone numbers. He was arrested and sentenced to prison for 5 years. His crimes were disruption in telephone networks, computer networks and stealing software. Now, he has launched his own business and security consultant company ‘Mitnick Security Consulting’.

Tsutomu Shimomura
Tsutomu Shimomura can be classified among the white hat hackers. He is a Japanese scientist and computer security expert. In 1994, Kevin Mitnick hacked his system and stole his personal file. Revenge became a motive for Shimomura to using online tracking and finds Kevin. He became an instant celebrity when he, together with computer journalist John Markoff, tracked down and helped the FBI arrest Mitnick. Shimomura and John Markoff wrot a book, Takedown, about the pursuit and the book was later adapted into a movie of the same name.

Richard Saltman (rms)
Richard Saltman is an American software freedom activist and computer programmer. In 1971 he became a programmer at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. It was there that that he met the true meaning of hacking. He is one of the supporters of open source applications and operating systems. When MIT was setting passwords for its students and staff, Saltman started a virtual war with MIT and began to decrypt user passwords and send their passwords by email with empty subject to the users.
In 1980 he was upset with those companies who producing software and held the copyright for their products. This led him to bring the GNU operating system. In 1983, he launched the GNU project to create a free Unix-like operating system. With the launch of the GNU project, he initiated the free software movement.

Linus Torvalds
Linus Torvals is another white hat hacker. He is a software engineer and hacker and developer of the open source Linux Kernel. He also created the Revision Control system Git.  He began his hacking activities with old Commodores VIC-20 and Sinclair QL. He hacked the video games to get the information about their performance.
In 1991, he purchased a computer with an Intel 80386 processor and start writhing Linux kernel. He first founded Linux under a restrictive license, but later he extended under the GNU GPL license. Torvalds did not consistently support the kernel of the Linux, but due to the nature of open source operating system and its free distribution, the Linux grew and eventually became one of the most popular operating systems. Red Hat and VA Linux, both leading developers of Linux-based software, presented Torvalds with stock options in gratitude for his creation.
His personal lucky charm is a penguin nicknamed Tux, which has been widely adopted by the Linux community as the mascot of the Linux Kernel.