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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Computers, Hackers, And Phreaks - 1332 words
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The Internet is a wondrous place. Practically anything you could ever want isavailable on the Net. It's like a big city, it has the highly prestigious areas, and thesex-ridden slums (Mitchell). It has the upstanding citizens, and it has the criminals.On the Net, crime is more abundant than in a large city, though, mainly because ofthe difficulties in tracking and prosecuting offenders. Even from its beginnings, theInternet has always been a battlefield between phreaks and administrators.
The Internet hasn't always been a public forum. In fact, the Internet hasbeen around for years. The Internet is just a new fad (Larson). The Internetoriginally began as DARPANET, a government-created network, which wasdesigned for defense communications. The Net structure is such that it couldsurvive a nuclear war (Mitchell)
The creation of the Net can not be blamed for theexistence of hackers though, hackers are older than the Net itself, but the Net is thelargest 'hacker haven' today (Spencer). The growth of the Net since its creationhas been nothing less than astounding. In the 25-plus years since its creation, theNet now has over thirty million users using four million sites world wide.Estimates rate the growth of the Net anywhere from ten to fifteen percent permonth (Spencer). The Internet was first released to major universities in theUnited States of America. Since then, the universities have offered connections tosmall business, service providers, and even to the individual user. Sometimes theseconnections cost a fortune, and sometimes they can be obtained for free (Larson).Although some of the original universities have dropped off the Net for variousreasons, every major university in the United States, and now, most others in theworld, have a connection to the Internet (Quittner). Although it isn't easy for an individual to get a direct connection to the Net,many private institutions are getting direct access.
This is mainly due to the factthat in order to support the very high speed of the Net, a fast computer is neededand a fast connection. A fast computer can cost in the thousands of dollars, atleast, and a quick connection can cost hundreds dollars or more. Individuals canstill get on the Net through these private institutions. The private institutionspoon-feeds the Net to the slower computers over their delayed connection lines(Jones). The Internet began very high-class, due to the fact that only superintelligent college students and professors could access it.
The discussions tendedto stay intellectual, with very little, if any, disturbance (Larson). However,relatively recent changes in the availability of the Net have changed thatatmosphere. Now, almost anyone can access the Internet. Internet access is offeredby every major online service (Himowitz). The fact that the major online servicescharge for their use keeps many people away from them. Those people simplyturn to public dial-ups, which are free connections offered by universities that areavailable to the general public (Spencer).
Because accessing the Net is easier, and a lot more people are doing it,naturally the amount of information on the Net is increasing at the same rate, if notfaster. In what is often referred to by Net users as the Resource Explosion, theamount of information circulating the Internet has increased with the number ofusers (Jones). Of all the other factors contributing to the large percent of onlinecrimes, perhaps the most influential is the design structure of the Internet. Expertsagree that the underlying structure with no central hub, where each computer isequally powerful, gives unchecked power to the undeserving (Miller). The designalso makes controlling the frequency of break-ins almost impossible as well.
Bothpoliticians and so-called 'experts' believe the Internet as a whole will be regulatedin the next five years. Hackers disagree, using the arguments that the Internet wasdesigned to be uncontrollable, that the basic structure doesn't support regulation(Banja). In a network run by its users, which is designed to be impervious toattack, not even the government has much muscle there. In fact, the Internet is oneof the few places that the government has little power. Because the Net isinternational, any regulations forced upon domestic computer users can becircumvented by routing through an overseas computer(Savage). The governmentdoesn't have the power to completely shut down the Net.
In order to do that, everyone of the millions of computers on the Net must be disconnected. Even if onlytwo remain, the Net will continue to exist (Miller). The ease of adding something to the Net is also a factor preventing the totalregulation of the Net. A new site can be added to the Net in a matter of seconds,and can be removed just as quickly. It takes authorities considerable time to trace aconnection back to it's physical address, and if it disappears, it makes tracking it allthat more difficult. (Johnson) Once a resource becomes widespread, removing itfrom the Internet is almost impossible. Each site that has the resource must befound and the resources moved.
If even one site has the resource, it can spread tocover the Net easily (Himowitz). Some computer criminals go by the term"Phreaks", or "Hackers." With all these things leaving the Internet open to"phreaking", is it any wonder that so many computer law breakers exist? TheUnited States government has all of its computer systems on the Internet, yet manyuniversities have better security than the government computers containingconfidential information (Spencer). A majority of break-ins occur in universitycomputers, mainly because of the stiff penalties for being caught in a governmentcomputer (Fisher). Over 10,000 break-ins that have occurred in recent months areblamed on The Posse, a group of young phreaks (Quittner). If break-ins are doneon universities, then how secure are the government's secrets? Both hackers and phreakers tend to stay away from heavy-duty governmenthacking, though.
Exploring innocently and generally harmless pranks are done themost, and many hacks/phreaks don't limit themselves to the Internet, or even to acomputer (Spencer). The next step up for a good computer hack/phreak is to 'fieldphreaking', which covers many various activities, but mainly using telephonecompany boxes to make free calls and other various things, but most fieldphreaking is somehow technically related to their computer skills (Jackson). Fieldphreaking does happen, and it does happen quite a lot. For example, when twobachelors rented a billboard in hopes of finding a mate, a phreak broke into theirvoice mail box and changed the message to a ''perverted' sexually suggestivemessage' (Jones) More recently, a hacker obtained tens of thousands ofpasswords using a Trojan horse program, which records the first 128 keystrokeswhen someone connects to the Internet. These 128 keystrokes normally contain theuser's name and their password (Himowitz). Kevin Lee Poulsen was featured on Unsolved Mysteries in 1991 for chargesincluding tampering with the telephone network and stealing governmentdocuments, all via computer. Because of this appearance, he was captured by twobag-boys in a Hughes Supermarket who saw his picture on the show (Fisher).
Tonya Harding's E-mail in the Olympic computers was 'open to the public sinceshe never changed her password from it's default, 1112, which corresponds to herbirthday, December 11th' (Nevius). Mark Abene, whom many believe to be thegreatest phreak ever, who is known online as Phiber Optik, was sentenced to oneyear in prison, a stiff punishment for his charge of breaking into a telephonenetwork (Johnson). Although the job is hard, there are groups devoted to stoppingviolations committed online. One such group, the Computer Emergency ResponseTeam, or CERT, a government-funded team at Carnegie-Mellon University givesadvisories and support to systems that have been broken into or are at risk of beingbroken into (Mitchell). Another method of preventing break-ins are new securitymeasures. Almost every day, another operating system or communication protocolcomes out which covers holes found in previous copies of the software.
This isgood as a temporary solution, but as soon as the new software comes out, a newhole is found and the game continues (Larson). Stopping computer hacking is probably impossible, although undoubtedlystopping hacking altogether is impossible. Why? Because many professionalsspend millions of dollars to prevent break-ins, but smaller systems don't spendanything. Free security will never be able to hold everyone out. FtS Productionssaid it best in 'Avoiding Detection': 'Free Security-You get what you pay for.'.
Research paper and essay writing, free essay topics, sample works Computers, Hackers, And Phreaks
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