This young hacker was caught breaking into NASA's computers and sentenced to
six months in jail. The government says that at one time, he took possession of
$1.7 million in software. In his interview he talks about the weaknesses he
found in the government's computers and how he had warned them. Because of his
age, FRONTLINE is protecting his identity.
Reid and Count Zero are members of the Cult of the Dead Cow, a hacker organization which developed "Back Orifice," a computer program which allows the user to remotely view and
control any computer running Windows 95 or later. They say the developed the
program to demonstrate the weak security in Microsoft products.
Curador is a 18-year old hacker from rural Wales who in the winter of 2000
stole an estimated 26,000 credit cards numbers from a group of e-commerce web
sites, and posted the numbers on the web. After ex-hacker Chris Davis tracked
him down, Curador was arrested in March 2000, and charged under the United
Kingdom's computer crime statute.
The views of Bruce Schneier, an expert in cryptography and computer security;
Reid and Count Zero, members of the Cult of the Dead Cow hacker organization;
Robert Steele of Open Source Solutions; Robert Giovagnoni of iDEFENSE; Martha
Stansell-Gamm, chief of the U.S. Justice Dept's Computer Crime section; and
Steven Lipner, Microsoft security analyst.
Sarah Gordon has done extensive research into the psychology and motivations of
virus writers and hackers. Many of her findings are published on her web site,
http://www.badguys.org/. In this interview, she describes how she got
to know members of the hacker underground and debunks a few popular myths about
the hacker personality.
The volume of hacking cases and the amorphous definition of the word "hack"
makes it difficult to list the biggest or most destructive hacks of all time.
But the cases listed here have this in common: each marks a significant step
in the evolution of hacking--showing the breakthroughs in what hackers can do
and how the laws have had to change to catch up with their activities.
On March 2, 2000, the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs held a
hearing on the security of federal information systems. Kevin Mitnick, who has
been called the most notorious hacker of all time, spoke before the committee.
In 1995 Mitnick was arrested for stealing computer code from a number of
high-tech companies including Sun Microsystems, Nokia, and Motorola
Corporation. He pled guilty, and spent almost five years in jail. Some estimate
that his illegal forays into private networks cost the companies involved
nearly $300 million. He was released in January 2000, and now considers
himself "reformed." He is serving a further three years of probation, during
which he may not use a computer or act as a consultant in any computer-related
activity without permission. In these excerpts from his testimony, he talks
about how, and why, he hacked.
Descriptions of some of the most popular techniques that hackers use to break
into or damage web sites and computers.
There are numerous sites published by and about hackers, representing a wide
range of philosophies, sophistication and respect for the law. This list
collects some of the most well-established groups and sites and includes only
those that do not advocate illegal or destructive behavior.