Question 1: Compare and contrast the different types of hackers. How does each play a role in hacking? What types of damage can each type of hacker accomplish? Explain your answer.
The term hacker means it is a person who exploits or seeks the weaknesses in a computer network. There are different types of hackers, which are the grey hat, blue hat, neophyte, white hat, script kiddie and black hat.
The grey hat
The grey hat is used to refer to a hacker who is considered to be part of white and black hat categories. This kind of hacker is usually said to be either helpful or harmful to an organisation. It is considered that this kind of hackers usually do not have a malicious intent when they hack instead they usually do it in order to check security. The hackers in this category usually advise the vendors and the hacker community (Palmer, 2001, p. 769).
The white hat
The white hat is a hacker who is very skilled or an expert in computer security thereby uses penetrating tests. Penetrating testing is referred to be ethical hacking. This is usually done so as to ensure the security of an organizations system is secured. The penetrating testing does scanning ports, attacks computer systems and looks at any defect and starts patching the issue (Palmer, 2001, p. 769).
This kind of hacker usually does it for the sake of fun or revenge to some certain person or a specific organisation that has wronged them. It is very essential for people to not annoy or anger anyone who is a blue hat. They are considered to be ‘noobs’ because they usually do not care much about hacking.
The black hat hackers are also referred to as the crackers. The black hat hackers are considered to be the computer criminals because they participate in hacking for a much more reasons than just personal gain or for maliciousness. Some of the purpose of the hackers is to destroy data or destroy a network so as to never be used again. They usually fix the computer once they have shown that they are in control. They are the opposite of the white hat hackers who find problems so as to fix.
Script kiddie is the type of hacker who is not an expert because they usually use other peoples programs to break into someone’s computer. The use programs, which they usually do not have any idea of what concepts they contain (Palmer, 2001, p. 769).
Question 2: Describe China’s role in the recent cyber-attacks against the United States. How is the idea of information warfare incorporated into China’s ideology on cyber-terrorism?
According to the annual report to congress in pentagon, it has been estimated that around 90% of cyber espionage is believed to have come from China in America. In the report, it is believed that in 2012 there have been numerous reports all over the world that their computer systems have been broken into and in most cases; it is believed that the Chinese government is responsible. In the report, one of the major reasons why United States was targeted was because of trying to steal their industrial technology while the other one was to look at the policy maker’s way of thinking. China is ranked first when it comes to offensive cyber technology. The technology has enabled the country to block out the American satellites or any other satellite. The cyber attacks by the Chinese government could be perceived as an act of war because they have attacked so many computer systems in American government (Blagdon, 2013).
Question 3: What values drive the hacker subculture? Identify how hackers become involved in hacking computer systems and describe in detail how hacking has evolved
The subculture of the hackers vary because there are those who do it for the sake of destroying data or information useful for a company while there are those who hack for the sake of checking the security of a computer and also checking for any damages in a computer and rectifying it. The hackers who destroy data usually do it for the main purpose of revenge or hate for a person or a company. This is what most people in the society call hacking while the real name for this is cracking. The hackers usually do it so as to help companies or someone’s computer system (Tippins, 2011). The hackers become involved in hacking due to anger or just plain malice to destroy someone life. Others gets involved in hacking because they have formulated a certain program that could help in securing a company’s file and they want to try it out. There are those who hack because they are bored and do not have anything better to do.
According to many people in the beginning, hacking was merely done as a hobby for the enthusiast of computer, which has evolved to worldwide criminal enterprise. This was stated by one of the most wanted criminals of hacking in 1993 Kevin Mitnick (Smith, 2013). In the past the hackers created viruses not for malicious reasons instead, they did it for the mere purpose of curiosity to see if t works. A good example of this fact was the brain virus created by Basit Farooq and Amjad Farooq. There are other hackers who practised it for the purpose of learning how the computer system works. For the past 10 years the main reasons why the virus and hacking is done is because of malicious reasons to destroy data and to steal very confidential information from a person, company and government. Recently an organisation such as the wiki leaks their main purpose is to hack the government computer systems and provide information to the public. This can be good and also bad because it could jeopardise the governments work.
Question 4: Define the concepts of information warfare and cyber-terrorism. Give some examples of information warfare and describe their capabilities in detail.
Cyber terrorism is defined as the use of techniques and the information warfare techniques by organizations that are considered to be a terrorist in the cyberspace. In cyber, terrorism there is no damages made physically instead very important data is destroyed or stolen. They manipulate people in organizations or governments. The weapons, which are used in cyber terrorism, are viruses, humans, worms and Trojan horses.
Most researchers believe that information warfare is defined as the combat operations in the cyberspace where both rivals are fighting using technology systems so as to get power or control over an information. There are different types of information warfare such as command and control warfare, electronic warfare, hacker warfare, cyber warfare, psychological warfare, information based warfare and economic information warfare. The psychological warfare, this is used by certain people in order to influence one to do something by appealing to their emotions, values, behaviour, reasoning and motives. Command and control warfare is mostly used by the military. Their main aim is rooted in commanding and controlling people in that are able to affect people’s way of thinking. The electronic warfare is when there is action that directly involves the electromagnetic spectrum in order to attack and control a place. This kind of warfare is applied in the sea, land, air and even space. This used to target people, and areas or the communication systems. Cyber warfare, this is usually said to be politically motivated in which people hack into people’s computers and destroy data. In the cyber warfare, there are many threats such as when there is security breach, sabotage and electrical power grid.
Question 5: Outline the risks for international critical infrastructure attacks. What are some significant factors within the United States that are at risk for an infrastructure attack? What makes these factors so vulnerable? Explain.
The infrastructure warfare is defined as the attacks that happen against the physical world in areas such as the roads, telecommunication networks, water distribution and railway. The terrorist have shown that they are very capable of destroying the physical world. The infrastructure attacks are aimed at sending messages to the world so as to control them. According to the researches that have been conducted about 40 percent of industries are at a high risk of being cyber attacked (Tafoya, 2011). In many countries, the companies are the ones who are fearing that they will be attacked by the government through hacking through their computers.
In the United States, the factors that are at risk of infrastructure attack are the water supply, the financial industry, the government policies and the electrical grid. This is in accordance to most researchers conducted. There was a senate bill which was presented in congress where this issues were being tackled especially water supply, transit systems, nuclear power plants, oil and gas lines (Tafoya, 2011). These issues are very serious but it looks like the congress is not caring about it because they did not pass it through. The cyber security act if it had been passed it would have assured companies of infrastructure would have minimal restrictions. The act was also politicised because some major interest groups did not want it pass because it was going to affect them.
Blagdon, J. (2013). Chinese hackers renew cyberattacks on US targets after brief lull. The verge.
Critical U.S. Infrastructure Vulnerable to Cyber Attack, Congress Fails to Act. (2012, August 8). Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec12/cybersecurity_08-08.html
Palmer, C. (2001). "Ethical Hacking". IBM Systems Journal, p.769.
Smith, G. (2013). Kevin Mitnick, Former Fugitive Hacker, Laments How The Game Has Changed. Huffington Post.
Tafoya, W. L. (2011). Cyber Terror. FBU Law Enforcement Bulletin.
Tippins, C. (2011). 25 Years of Computer Hacking. The Software Synergy Group.