The Hacker Diaries: Confessions of Teenage Hackers

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9780072225525: The Hacker Diaries: Confessions of Teenage Hackers

Could teenage hacking be the cyber-equivalent of school violence? This text explores that question and other social issues that may be contributing to the growth of teenage hacking.

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Review:

The Hacker Diaries is well written, racy and an entertaining read. Dan Verton takes a seat way back in the bus and lets the characters he's writing about drive. These include the hackers themselves--complete with silly sounding nomme de geurres including the most famous of them all: Mafiaboy--along with those whose job it is to hunt them down. He even takes in a few who suffered the hackers' attentions.

Some facts shine out. One: high class teenage hackers usually have a better grasp of Net technologies than those paid to run them, and they're motivated by intellectual curiosity and peer respect rather than criminal or terrorist ends. Two: most "hackers" are script kiddies; vandals who would be slashing car tires or burgling homes if they had more get up and go. Three: technology is more fragile than people like to believe.

Dan Verton does a good job of showing us the people behind the hacking handles and sets the activity in a social as well as technical context, but he sensibly stops short of suggesting solutions. Just as well--Steve Wozniak was a hacker and went on to co-found Apple. Hackers, as The Hacker Diaries show, grow up and move on. --Steve Patient

Review:

"Terrorists are strategic actors. They choose their targets deliberately based on the weakness they observe in our defenses and our preparedness. We must defend ourselves against a wide range of means and methods of attack. Terrorists continue to employ conventional means of attack, while at the same time gaining in expertise in less traditional means, such as cyber attacks."

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