People Blaming Everything on Hackers

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76 Replies - 3053 Views - Last Post: 26 June 2013 - 11:05 AM

#16 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 07:26 AM

I am one of those who would really like to reclaim the word "hack", and restore it to its rightful meaning. Some examples from the jargon file:

http://www.catb.org/...tml/H/hack.html
http://www.catb.org/...ng-of-hack.html

In a nutshell, we're talking here about improvised displays of skill which reveal a deep understanding of a system or a wildly creative engineering mind.

The contemporary sense of "hack" is pretty vague, but I believe it means some combination of "gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or account on a computer system for malign purposes" but you can tweak all of those variables and come up with something that people will accept.

To my mind, trying to combine these is a mistake. Generally, gaining access to computer systems for malign purposes doesn't require great skill or understanding or creativity, it simply requires exploiting typical mistakes made by users. To say of someone that "they're not a hacker, they're just a script kiddie" suggests that contemporary hacking requires a great deal of skill. Generally, it doesn't, and the only people who want you to believe it does are script kiddies with an inflated self-regard.

So yes, Kelsey did hack that account, because what she did is more or less what hackers do.
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#17 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 07:43 AM

I'll give that sitting down at someone else's computer to gain access to their accounts is hacking - sure. I've said as much before, though only when people have felt the need to bring up that Kelsey isn't a hacker.

Also, didn't say script kiddies aren't hackers - but imo they're like Guitar Hero players claiming to be musicians. Technically the music wouldn't play without them, but it's someone else's music and they have none of the understanding of what they're doing. They'd be lost if you tried to discuss simple concepts like harmonics, spider chords, or octaves.

I like your definition, "improvised displays of skill which reveal a deep understanding of a system or a wildly creative engineering mind."

This post has been edited by depricated: 24 June 2013 - 07:44 AM

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#18 supersloth  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 10:16 AM

my favorite 'hack' is when someone takes their friends phone and posts "poopin" as a facebook status update.
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#19 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 11:57 AM

Kelsey can call that shit "hacking" all she wants. It ain't hacking. Not even by kiparsky's definition whoever's freaking definition is quoted below.

This:

Quote

improvised displays of skill which reveal a deep understanding of a system or a wildly creative engineering mind


Is NOT this:

Quote

when someone takes their friends phone and posts "poopin" as a facebook status update


Everyone in Walmart uses Facebook. Therefore, if "poopin" is hacking, everyone in Walmart holds a deep understanding of a system and/or wildly creative engineering mind. You've been to Walmart, right? You've seen what lives there. Wildly creative? Perhaps. Deeply understanding? Only if the subjects are NASCAR, mullets, and spit cans.

Spoiler

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#20 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:02 PM

View PostBenignDesign, on 24 June 2013 - 01:57 PM, said:

This:

Quote

improvised displays of skill which reveal a deep understanding of a system or a wildly creative engineering mind


Is NOT this:

Quote

when someone takes their friends phone and posts "poopin" as a facebook status update


True. But "poopin'" someone sure seems like a case of "gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or account on a computer system for malign purposes" to me.
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#21 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:09 PM

Is "poopin" really that malign?

I would see it as unauthorized access to an account for asshattery, not malignancy. There was no intent to cause harm, just silliness.
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#22 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:13 PM

View PostBenignDesign, on 24 June 2013 - 01:57 PM, said:

Kelsey can call that shit "hacking" all she wants. It ain't hacking.


In the current usage, sure it is. If downloading some software and running it and grabbing credit card numbers is "hacking" then so is taking advantage of an unoccupied terminal. According to Kevin Mitnick, most real-world corporate "hacking" is just social engineering - which boils down to finding an empty terminal and using it for your own purposes.

The "improvised displays of skill" definition (which is mine, but you're welcome to use it) is the old-school hackers - the model railroad club hackers, and the Building 20 hackers and the people who gave us the term in the first place. It's not what people mean by the word today, and I mentioned it precisely to distinguish between the sort of hacking that requires brains and is admirable, and the sort that comes out of a box.
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#23 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:15 PM

Quote

The "improvised displays of skill" definition (which is mine, but you're welcome to use it)


Thank you. I went back through the thread skimming for it. Thought it was yours, but wasn't sure... couldn't find it again.
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#24 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:17 PM

View PostBenignDesign, on 24 June 2013 - 02:09 PM, said:

Is "poopin" really that malign?

I would see it as unauthorized access to an account for asshattery, not malignancy. There was no intent to cause harm, just silliness.


Well, I did suggest that variables could be tweaked. Someone has taken control of another person's account and modified settings without permission - this is getting pretty close to malign in my book.
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#25 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:23 PM

Posting a status update is the same as changing settings?

By that definition, I can hit my magic moderator "edit" button on your post, add the word "poopin" to the bottom, and claim to have hacked you. I will have changed no account settings, nor will the change have been made with any ill intent. My reasons for doing so justified as (1) being silly and (2) illustrating a point.



I see what you're trying to say, that the very definition of the word "hacking" is dependent upon the definition it is given by the people who use it. I am personally of the mindset that if hacking now means posting poop jokes to sloth's facebook page while he's grabbing a beer from the fridge, maybe we need to different word to describe what has traditionally been known as hacking.
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#26 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:27 PM

I would just wish people would stop hacking other facebook accounts to post _my_ password out in the open. "poop'n" has been good to me over the years... darn near unbreakable!
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#27 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:34 PM

View PostBenignDesign, on 24 June 2013 - 01:15 PM, said:

Quote

The "improvised displays of skill" definition (which is mine, but you're welcome to use it)


Thank you. I went back through the thread skimming for it. Thought it was yours, but wasn't sure... couldn't find it again.

it's very similar to Richard Stallman's given definition - which he notes, also, that it's not something strictly defineable

It's what I think of when I think of good hacks though.

Like my computer case, I think has an awesome hack in this vein of it - I found an old Antec One sitting in the garage of the house I moved in to, left behind. My computer case SUCKED, it was just bad - but it was free and I needed a case so I used it and blew AC into it. Anyway, I move everything into the Antec One and find that the power button is screwed up. Of course, that's surely why it had been abandoned. So I tap the jumpers with a screwdriver and verify that it boots up fine elsewise - bonus, the entire front panel is fully functional. So I rip the wires off of the power button, find a spot where one is cut, and sever them there. Still plenty of wire to work with, I wrap each wire around a jumper and run it out of the back of the case, up to the top where I've used double-sided tape to stick a black swingline stapler. Run the wires into the top and bottom separately, and now you can boot the pc by punching the stapler!

That is fun, clever by my book, and demonstrates an understanding of the system. It was improvised from materials on hand, and is - imo - pretty frickin sweeeet. I felt like bragging in a relevant way.

That's the kind of stuff I think of when I think of hacks, that I think gets pissed on by the media portrayal of hot blonde identity thieves with laptops at cafes which can scan the numbers on your credit card through your trousers. Raise your hand if you know the commercial I'm talking about.
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#28 BenignDesign  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:38 PM

View Postdepricated, on 24 June 2013 - 03:34 PM, said:

Raise your hand if you know the commercial I'm talking about.


I don't even own a television.


Attached Image
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#29 supersloth  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:40 PM

View PostBenignDesign, on 24 June 2013 - 01:23 PM, said:

Posting a status update is the same as changing settings?

well to be fair, if you have access to the device than you can change settings. just because 'a hacker' is childish and innocuous in action doesn't mean they can't change something. it doesn't have to be malicious.

also i was totally joking about the poopin' thing it's just funny when people call it hacking. look at b9 getting all worked up. it's adorable.
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#30 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: People Blaming Everything on Hackers

Posted 24 June 2013 - 12:46 PM

View PostBenignDesign, on 24 June 2013 - 02:23 PM, said:

Posting a status update is the same as changing settings?

By that definition, I can hit my magic moderator "edit" button on your post, add the word "poopin" to the bottom, and claim to have hacked you. I will have changed no account settings, nor will the change have been made with any ill intent. My reasons for doing so justified as (1) being silly and (2) illustrating a point.


But since you're a moderator, you've got authorization - so you couldn't say you'd hacked me at all! :)


Quote

I see what you're trying to say, that the very definition of the word "hacking" is dependent upon the definition it is given by the people who use it. I am personally of the mindset that if hacking now means posting poop jokes to sloth's facebook page while he's grabbing a beer from the fridge, maybe we need to different word to describe what has traditionally been known as hacking.


Exactly. It used to be that a hacker was someone with dedication and brains who would learn how to make some system do their will, either by some weird and clever engineering or some sort of "cheat" or both. If you check out some of the stories in the link I posted this morning, you'll get an idea of what I mean there. Today "hacking" just means "getting into systems that you're not supposed to get into" - and that doesn't necessarily require dedication or brains. Some people call it "cracking", which is okay with me.

Now, some of the old-school hackers used their system knowledge to gain unauthorized access to stuff they weren't supposed to have access to, and lots of them liked to get into stuff and figure it out - but that doesn't mean that getting into stuff was "hacking", it was just a consequence of the hacking mindset.

Take picking locks as an example. Lockpicking is a classic hacker hobby, not because a hacker wants to break into your house and steal your stuff, but because locks are neat, and hackers like to figure out how neat stuff works.
On the other hand, a burglar with a set of lockpicks isn't a hacker - he's just a thief.

I want to make the distinction, because I'm sick of people acting as though "hacking" in the modern sense was some sort of accomplishment. It's not, it's all on the level of your Kelsey story. So when I say "Kelsey is a hacker", that's not a compliment!

View Postdepricated, on 24 June 2013 - 02:34 PM, said:

That's the kind of stuff I think of when I think of hacks, that I think gets pissed on by the media portrayal of hot blonde identity thieves with laptops at cafes which can scan the numbers on your credit card through your trousers.


I'm pretty safe from that one. She forgets all about my credit card when she starts scanning my trousers.
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