Jing Sheng Zhao’s 750-Word Expanded Definition of Hacker

TO: Prof.  Jason Ellis

FROM: Jing Sheng Zhao

DATE: 10/15/19

SUBJECT: Expanded Definition of Hacker


By examining the hacking history, most of the hackers had been become cybercrime, and sadly, so far there’s no absolute solution to stop them. From the history view, according to Richard Darell, hackers were who used hacking technic to illegally gain access into others computer and stole their data for benefits.  Along with the increasingly used of network in people’s life and work, hackers had more changes to steal others data and would be able to make more money than ever before. Even so, a lot of company, organization or even the government, they couldn’t do much about it, because hackers could always get away from it. So, it’s not surprise that it’s a good time for cybercrime, the hackers would probably choose to be cybercrime rather than ethical hacker just for the sake of money.


To understand the word “hacker”, you must know its historical development. At the beginning, hackers were not start off bad, when the term “hacker” was first used in 1960s, at MIT, an extremely skilled programmer could use hacking skills to increase the efficiency of the computer.  Then start in 1971, hackers were getting bad reputation, when John Draper invented the “blue box”, it’s a technic that allow making free long distance phone calls. Furthermore, more hackers were using the hacking technic for their own benefits, such as hackers like Robert Morris who create the “Morris Worm” in 1988, Kevin Mitnick hacked the federal computer network in 1991 and Adrian Lamo hacked the websites of The New York Times in 2002, etc. From the research in 2014, there are more than a million people become victims of cybercrime every day, and 30000 websites are hacked every day. As we know, hacking back then was use to improve the computer system, but unfortunately, these technical had been using in the wrong place and they had been create many chaos around the world (Darell).


The main reason for people to become a cybercrime is because they can get easy money. Some people needed more money from their job, if they couldn’t get enough; they were more likely to become a crime. For instance, Clifford Trigo, an ethical hacker, having a difficult to earn a living, he pointed out that sometimes he could work for hours but only get paid 50 or 100 bucks. So some of his colleges will used their skills to hack people’s credit-card to make extra gains (Lu 11). Also, Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer at CrowdStrike, he said that hacking is easy, even a first-year computer-science student can do it, thus, it’s not surprising that a broke fresh man would not want the easy money. Another crucial reason for became a hacker is they can always get away from the law, even the FBI agent admit they can’t do much about it, the only advise they gave to the victims is to pay the ransom if they wanted the data back. Therefore, when the skilled programmers in a broke situation, it’s hard for them to resist the temptation of money (The New Economics of Cybercrime).The fight between the ethical hackers and hacker had been going on for decades, but for several reasons, the victory always favor on the hacker side. For example, on May 13 2107, there was a global cyberattack on business, universities, and health systems; it affected more than 150 countries (Bendix 1). The U.K. government blamed The Labour Party for failing to protect the system, but The Labour Party said that they fail because of the government underestimate the cost to preventing the security, they also pointed out the government cut their budget, and didn’t renew a contract that protected the computer system (Bendix 2). There was a debate shows that companies allow to hack back if they get hacked, the reason was that some company might use this opportunity to attack their enemy, and no one wanted that happen, so they can only passively defense. Some lawmakers point out to attack back against the law; they stated that “such activity might well violate foreign laws even if permitted by the U.S.”. Thus, if the hackers were from other country, we got no chance to catch them because the restriction between different nations. In short, hackers can still get away from the laws (When Companies Get Hacked, Should They Be Allowed to Hack Back?).

Working Definition

Overall, hacker had been causing a lot of chaos around the world, and it’s still a problem to be solved in the future. But in fact, hack technology is just a double –edge sword, when you’re using to guard against cyber security breaches, you are ethical hacker. And when you’re using it to attack someone for benefits, then you’re are evil cybercrime. So, it depends on who use it, and use it on what purpose. Thus, to teach a technical to the leaner should to optional, but teach a technic along with the moral have to be mandatory.


Wolff, Josephine. “When Companies Get Hacked, Should They Be Allowed to Hack Back?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 14 July 2017, from www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/07/hacking-back-active-defense/533679/.

Lu, Donna. “When Ethical Hacking Can’t Compete.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 8 Dec. 2015, from www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/12/white-hat-ethical-hacking-   cybersecurity/419355/

Wolff, Josephine. “The New Economics of Cybercrime.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 7 June 2016, from www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/06/ransomware-new-       economics-cybercrime/485888/.

Bendix, Aria. “Global Cyberattack Reaches ‘Unprecedented’ Scale.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media     Company, 13 May 2017, from www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/05/global-cyberattack-reaches-unprecedented-       scale/526647/.

Darell, Richard. “Hacking History – A Timeline Of Hack Tactics.” Bit Rebels, 21 May 2014, from www.bitrebels.com/technology/hacking-history-timeline-hack- tactics/utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed: bitrebels       (Bit Rebels).

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