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How A Bunch Of Geeks Have Been Hacking Computers Since The 1960s

anonymous

The word “hacking” can inspire a dramatic image of a guy hunched over his computer at all hours of the night, cracking a password, and stealing a million dollars for himself.

The truth is that these incidents pretty much never happen. Except for when they do.

“White hat” hacking is a situation in which someone uses a computer to improve computer security.

“Black hat” hacking is the seedier Hollywood side of the coin. It’s name given to efforts to circumvent and take advantage of computer security.

People have been using computers and related systems to cheat, prank, and get ahead almost since their inception.

Here’s a very brief history of black hat hacking.

1960s: Things begin at MIT

The earliest modern computer hackers converge at MIT. They take the term 'hack' from the school's Tech Model Railroad Club, which referred to reworking trains to enhance their performance and run differently.

Source: Focus

1971: John Draper calls around the world for free

John Draper, or 'Captain Crunch,' kicked off the phone phreaking movement when he discovered he could use a toy whistle to emulate tones used by the phone company to activate long distance services. He ended up making all kinds of phone calls on the telephone company's dime.

(The whistle came for free in a box of Cap'n Crunch cereal.)

Source: Focus

1983: WarGames is released

The movie 'WarGames' is released, telling the story of a hacker who accesses a supercomputer designed to run nuclear war simulations. Believing it to be a game, he runs the program and nearly starts World War III.

The movie helped bring the idea of 'hacking' to the public consciousness in a huge way.

Source: Focus

1987: A teenager nearly takes out the entire US phone network

Herbert Zinn, a seventeen year old computer aficionado operating under the handle 'Shadow Hawk,' broke into an AT&T computer system in New Jersey. He was one of the first people prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986.

Experts said he nearly wiped out the US phone network with nothing but his computer.

Source: Focus

1988: Robert Morris Jr. creates the first computer worm

Back before the World Wide Web existed and Arpanet was the only game in town, Robert Morris Jr. created the first computer worm, though it was allegedly an accident.

He wanted to determine the size of the Internet, so he created a program that could copy ite self until it identified every networked computer. The virus generated huge system loads that cost anywhere from $200 to $53,000 per computer. Morris was the first person convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Morris would later co-found Y Combinator with Paul Graham.

Source: Wikipedia

1990: The Secret Service forms Operation Sundevil

With computer crime becoming a growing threat, the Secret Service started Operation Sundevil, a task force to keep a lid on illegal hacking.

Operation Sundevil led to raids in 15 different cities around the country and resulted in three arrests, but it's now mostly seen as a public relations stunt to remind people that the government could keep up to date with crime.

Source: Focus

2001: Gary MicKinnon

Gary McKinnon maintains that he's nothing more than a guy trying to uncover the truth, but one prosecutor calls his the biggest military computer hacker of all time.

McKinnon made it a practice to snoop around military computer systems in an effort to find evidence that the government was covering up the existence of UFOs and hiding free energy technology. Authorities accuse him of deleting data from computers that ended up costing some $700,000 to identify and replace.

He's currently in England fighting extradition to the US.

Source: Focus and Wikipedia

2005: Cameron LaCroix gets at a famous cell phone

Cameron LaCroix is a Massachusetts hacker famous for accessing Paris Hilton's cell phone and stealing some risque photos from it. He has been convicted of aggravated identity theft, computer fraud, and wire fraud.

Source: Wikipedia

2008: Anonymous attacks Scientology

In a distributed effort called 'Project Chanology,' members of Anonymous organised denial-of-service attacks on Scientology websites. This kind of attack floods a server with traffic until it can't handle it anymore, becoming inaccessible for anyone else. They successfully dismantled several Scientology websites in this manner and stole private documents from Scientology computers.

Anonymous also pulled out a tried and true method of disruption during this time: the prank phone call.

Source: Wikipedia

2011: Lulz Security

The stakes keep getting higher and higher -- Lulz Security, a six-person hacking group, turned heads earlier this year when they most notably took down the CIA's website.

But that barely scratches the surface of what they had in store over time. They launched attacks on Fox.com, Sony, Bethesda Game Studios, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, among many other targets.

After several arrests and search warrants, the group's Twitter feed has been dormant since July 27.

Source: Wikipedia

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