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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Secret world of hackers

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The present day hackers are akin to those who used to assemble at coffee houses during the 17th century to exchange knowledge, ideas and values, irrespective of their social status. They became so popular that King Charles II was fairly disturbed by the fact that these hackers were intruding into the conduct of the court affairs. The scandalous lifestyle of the King and his court was a matter of discussion in the coffee houses, where gossip and secrets of the elite was conveyed to the emerging middle class. King Charles tried to suppress this social equality and intellectualism that was freely held at the coffee houses. These early hackers are mainly responsible for the various changes that took place which transformed the English society in the 17th century.


Who are the present day hackers?
The present day hackers are skilled in digital science which they refer to as being playful and creative way of solving problems. They are responsible for driving the global economies by building up things as they believe that it is better to attack rather than defend a system. However, there are those who build and those who destroy and are called crackers, as there are also the white hackers and the black hackers.

There is a clear distinction in the way these hackers operate, as some of the more adolescent hackers do it just to show off their skill even as they break things apart. They do this more for the idea of rebelling against the system and authority rather than bringing something constructive out of it.

The hacker community may be small but they are spread out across the globe and united theoretically due to their expertise and knowledge. These hackers have their own differing views as some of them think that the ethics behind hacking is all important, while some are only interested in the intellectual challenge to create or destroy. This is not to say that are no divisions within the hacking scene. Older hackers considered the younger lot as having nothing better to do than to exhibit their teenage stupidity. Most of these hackers grow out of it but the ones who remain can create havoc in the system, as they have very little concern for the community they live in.

The ones who create are responsible for launching many new world wide web and free operating systems, such as the Linux Kernal and the GNU project, not to leave out Facebook which started off as a hack initially.

Hackerspaces and rogue hackers
The hackers come from different background and from a diverse community, comprising amateurs, professionals like engineers, scientists and innovators who share with the world free new tools and solutions. There are also the rogue hackers who have become popularly known as the Anonymous and Lulzecs, who recently grabbed the world's attention by leaking information from the government, News International and Sony.

The hackerspaces on the other hand are not necessarily destroying things but attacking government systems, to create an alternative to the things they see as wrong. This is the case with Telecomix where the hackers have kept open the lines of communication in the Middle East countries, where the government has shut down the networks.

Among the largest hacker community, the Chaos Computer Club or CCC formed in 1981 is the world's oldest and believes in the rising importance of digital technology. The CCC hackers are into running their own businesses and are far more mature and older. Their main concept is not just about hacking but rather a political hub with its own base at Marienstrabe at Berlin. They are responsible for deciphering many technological flaws in the Smartphone, PIN and chip. They consult with the German government and hold conferences and also work with activists for major causes. The club has been so named as Chaos not because its intention is to create chaos but rather in relation to how the world actually works. They believe that the club is meant to adapt to the chaotic and non-deterministic world as the best solution.

Political hacking
Hacking can penetrate even into the political system of human lives apart from the technology aspect, as hackers believe that the ideals of hacking can be applied to every aspect of life. Politics is considered by the hackers as just another system in the human existence and therefore can be hacked and these spaces become real time experiments. They go beyond the computers only by encompassing things like industrial machines, sewing machines, power tools and even penetrate the kitchen termed as culinary hacking.
One such classic hackerspace is the Nosebridge of San Francisco, where the members have send water balloon probes to collect data and images, using digital cameras and GPS smartphones up to 70,000 ft in the sky, by creating an active space exploration program.

The political ideology of the hackerspace at Nosebridge is more libertarian, where everyone interested can contribute time, money or ideas which is based on mutual respect, solidarity and aid. This is almost an anarchist principle which is slightly different from the Chaos Computer Club, as here; it is focused on producing real social wealth and freeing the human mind from government, wealth and property.

Getting into the inside
Some of the successful and creative hackers can find themselves inside the system with their hands on power. This is the case with Bill Cates who seem to have this constant fear and insecurity that Microsoft will be destroyed by powerful forces such as the IBM. Even though Microsoft is the world's biggest IT and himself being one of the richest man in the world, the hacker mindset seem to have a subversive effect upon him, when it came to running such a multinational firm.

These successful hackers had scant regard for intellectual property in their youth but once they had the power, they make every effort to copyright their products with the help of lawyers and their draconian laws.
The hackers and crackers are basically very intelligent beings with a high degree of curiosity, coupled with anarchist or anti-authoritarian bent of mind. They believe that information on the internet should be free and consider it as their playground. All said and done, some of the best improvements on computer security system have come from hacker community, with a view towards keeping the users safe.

About the author: Margaret is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on design and technology. Beside this she is fond of books. She recently bought a  3d laptop. These days she is busy in writing an article on shu uemura.

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