Hackers: Crime in the Digital Sublime

Overview

The practice of computer hacking is increasingly being viewed as a major security dilemma in Western societies, by governments and security experts alike.
Using a wealth of material taken from interviews with a wide range of interested parties such as computer scientists, security experts and hackers themselves, Paul Taylor provides a uniquely revealing and richly sourced account of the debates that surround this controversial practice. By doing so, he reveals the dangers ...

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Overview

The practice of computer hacking is increasingly being viewed as a major security dilemma in Western societies, by governments and security experts alike.
Using a wealth of material taken from interviews with a wide range of interested parties such as computer scientists, security experts and hackers themselves, Paul Taylor provides a uniquely revealing and richly sourced account of the debates that surround this controversial practice. By doing so, he reveals the dangers inherent in the extremes of conciliation and antagonism with which society reacts to hacking and argues that a new middle way must be found if we are to make the most of society's high-tech meddlers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415180726
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Taylor is lecturer in sociology at the University of Salford

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Them and us: the hack 12
2 Hacking culture 23
3 The motivations of hackers 43
4 State of the industry 66
5 Them and us: the hawks and the doves 92
6 The professionalisation process 115
7 The construction of computer ethics 136
8 Conclusion 159
App additional examples of media hype 176
Notes 180
Bibliography 186
Index 193
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2001

    Security Breaching, Where's the Line?

    Author Paul A. Taylor writes about the issues of security breaching between the hacker and the computer security industry in his book Hackers: Crime in the Digital Sublime. Taylor begins the first half of the book giving the definition of a hacker, walking the reader through the evolution of hacking and describing the Hacking culture. His point being, to look past the stereotypical label of hackers being criminals. Using interviews of well-known hackers, in the hacking community, and elite hackers, Taylor provides his audience with a perspective of the positive moral and ethical values most hackers inhibit. This reinforcement helps balance the arguments between the computer underground (hackers) and the computer security industry. The issues that Taylor concentrates on are about hackers¿ intrusion on big business systems opposed to an individual¿s personal records. The main argument that consistently appears throughout the book is whether hackers who intrude on big business systems should be punished and how society can determine how they should be punished. Although Taylor leans toward the side of the computer underground, he mediates the arguments throughout the book with a balanced amount of interviews from both sides of the argument. In today¿s society, Taylor states that cyberspace laws are compared to those that exist in a physical space, the ¿real world¿. By providing the point of view of the hacker, Taylor is able to contend that in order to develop a more legitimate law against the intrusion of secured computer systems, society will have to define whether cyberspace is comparable to the real world or if a new set of rules should be developed to aid the regulation of cyberspace. The way in which Taylor structures his book, Hackers: Crime in the Digital Sublime, is comparable to the structure of the MSNBC news program, Hardball with Chris Matthews. During the show Chris Matthews proposes an issue or argument and brings in specialists from each side to debate it. Taylor follows this structure by interviewing people from the computer underground and people from the computer security industry about where laws should be placed or not be placed in cyberspace. Of course, many books have been written giving both sides of an argument, but what separates Taylor¿s writing from the rest is how the interviews are separated structurally from Taylor¿s own opinions. The book reminds me of a TV news program transcription. For instance, the interviews are always separated from Taylor¿s writing by a line space and indented from the left side by five spaces. This structure gave me the feeling that he was not confident enough in writing his argument in his own words or maybe he did not have that much to say about it. Only half of the 176 pages were actually written in his own words. I was very interested to learn about hackers through the eyes of someone who knows some of them personally and favors their point of view, but given his lack of interpretation on the arguments between the underground and security industry, I find him not very convincing. It is apparent that Taylor favors the side of the hackers. Although Taylor equally balances the time spent on each viewpoint, he sometimes uses quotes that make the other side, the computer security industry, seem hostile and unintelligent. For example, Taylor argues about how hackers violate laws and professional codes of ethics but he does not believe that hackers are liars, cheaters, or stealers. His reason being that there are no allegations held against them. After stating that all of the hackers he has met seem to be decent people, he then strings five quotes together about how deviant the computer security industry thinks hackers are. For instance, one quote read, ¿Somewhere near vermin i.e. possibly unavoidable, maybe even necessary pests that can be destructive and disruptive if not mentioned.¿ (107). This quote is taken out of its original context and put i

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