|Hacking is the modern name for intrusion into someones privacy. Today hacking is costing important and confedential information and is declared a serious crime.|
|University facilities in the US in the early 60s equipped with huge mainframe computers, like MITs artificial intelligence lab, became the staging grounds for hackers. At first, hacker was a positive term for a person with a mystery of computers who could push programmes beyond what they were designed to do.
In the early 1970s John Draper made a long-distance call for free by blowing a precise tone into a telephone that told the phone system to open a line. Draper discovered the whistle as a give-away in a box of childrens cereal. Draper, who later earned the handle Captain Crunch, was arrested repeatedly for phone tampering throughout the 1970s.
Later, in the early 1980s author William Gibson coined the term cyberspace in a science fiction novel called Neuromancer. In one of the first arrests of hackers, the FBI busted the Milwaukee-based 414s (named after the local area code) after members were accused of 60 computer break-ins.
The Comprehensive Crime Control Act gives Secret Service jurisdiction over credit card and computer fraud. Two hacker groups form, the Legion of Doom in the United States and the Chaos Computer Club in Germany.
In the late 1980s, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in passed the United States gives more clout to federal authorities to clamp down on hackers. Soon, a Computer Emergency Response Team was formed by US defence agencies. Based at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, its mission was to investigate the growing volume of attacks on computer networks.
At 25, veteran hacker Kevin Mitnick secretly monitored the e-mail of MCI and Digital Equipment security officials. He was convicted of damaging computers and stealing software and is sentenced to one year in prison.
Around that time, the First National Bank of Chicago was the victim of a $70-million computer heist. Closer to the present day, in the 1990s a popular American telecom giants services crashed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Following that, law enforcement agencies started a national crackdown on hackers. But things werent to end there. Around this time, hackers broke into Griffith Air Force Base and computers at NASA.
Things took a more scary and personal turn when a Taxas A&M University professor received death threats after a hacker logged on to his computer from off-campus and sent 20,000 racist e-mail messages using his Internet address.
In the late 90s hackers broke into federal US websites. According to reports by the General Accounting Office, Defence Department computers sustained 250,000 attacks by hackers in 1995 alone.
A popular Internet search engine was also hit around this time by hackers claiming a logic bomb will go off in the PCs of users of that site on Christmas Day.
In the late 90s, the US Justice Department unveiled the National Infrastructure Protection Centre, which was given a mission to protect the nations telecommunications technology and transportation systems from hackers. Hacker group Lopht, in testimony before the US Congress, warns it could shut down nationwide access to the Internet in less than 30 minutes.
In the post 9/11 world, the threat of cyber-terrorism has been more pronounced than ever. However, newer security measures mean that there is always a way to stymie the workings of a hacker. But still, the cyber-wolf is always at the door.