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I am not a hacker, nor have I ever been. I don’t like to tinker with anything. Not cars, not my computer, nothing. I didn’t care much for Legos or Erector sets. I’ve always been more interested in having neat things that worked as they were intended rather than taking those things apart, figuring them out, and making them do different things.

In the course of some recent client work, I’ve been doing a lot of content curation about information security. This required me to delve into many news stories each week about the latest hacking, malware, identity theft, and other technological malfeasance. The stories receiving the most attention were about nefarious coders hacking Facebook, Windows, and now Android-based smartphones.

I’m actually really glad there are hackers out there. Hackers are innate tinkerers with an insatiable urge to go as far as they can, figure out how systems work and make them do their bidding. Sometimes it’s just for the thrill of doing so, sometimes it’s just to introduce a little entropy into the works.

Every time a loophole is discovered with some platform, it’s someone’s job to fix it. Over time, those systems become more and more secure, requiring end users to do less and less to diagnose their own technical problems.

This is not to say I’m advocating for people to refuse any and all responsibility for themselves and their activities. You don’t go walking down a crowded city street waving a wad of hundred dollar bills around, and you don’t get to be careless with your information.

But the online world can and should be a safe place. Everyone should feel secure online, they should feel comfortable letting their kids online, my mom should feel safe paying her bills online.

From the corporate side, companies should (and do) dedicate great sums of money to keeping their systems and your information secure. If there were no threats, I’m not confident most private companies would do much to prevent them without some motivation.

As long as there are those who will attempt to thwart the system, the system will be forced to improve.

What do you think? Am I an idiot thinking such things? Let me know in the comments.

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2 Responses

  1. I think there is definitely a difference between “white hat” and “black hat” hackers. They each have the exact same skill-set; but the drive or purpose behind furthering that knowledge is what sets us apart. I’d like to think a hacker is simply one who takes an object and makes it do something it was not designed to do. This can either be a good thing or a bad thing, but the end result is progress (usually).

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