Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Malware writers and Hackers Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1250 words

The Malware writers and Hackers - Essay Example The hacking of today began as ‘phreaking’ in the early 70’s. When John Draper’s toy whistle generated the 2600 Hz tone to authorize free calls from telephone exchanges, it was more a prank and a quirk of a ‘kinky’ mind than anything more serious. In the late 70’s, it turned a trifle more serious with de-coding of bank accounts for defraud. It was around this time that the colourful ‘Captain Zap’ emerged as arguable ‘inspiration’ for a generation of hackers when he broke in AT&T clocks and brought moonshine discounts to people during sunshine hours. Righard J. Zwienenberg, Chief Research Officer at security software vendor Norman Data Systems, recalled that in 1988 people were writing viruses and malware mostly to become famous. Many early infectious programs in those years were written as pranks and not intended to cause serious damage to computer systems. Trainee programmers learning about viruses and their techniques wrote them for practice or to test them. Since then it has moved into a more organized crime field. The very fact that there was public outcry against allocation of FBI resources against hacking in the US in the ‘80s speaks a lot for the trivial position it occupied in the public psyche; even the 1985 published Hacker’s Handbook encouraged hacking as a sport! ... acking in the US in the ‘80s speaks a lot for the trivial position it occupied in the public psyche; even the 1985 published Hacker’s Handbook encouraged hacking as a sport! More recently, since the rise of widespread broadband Internet access, malicious software has been written with a profit motive in mind. It speaks of a dangerous trend with malware authors monetizing their control over infected systems and turning that control into a source of revenue. For instance, since 2003, the majority of widespread viruses and worms have been designed to take control of users' computers for black-market exploitation. Infected "zombie computers" are used to send email spam, to host contraband data such as child pornography or to engage in distributed denial-of-service attacks as a form of extortion. Another strictly for-profit category of malware has emerged in spyware -- programs designed to monitor users' web browsing, display unsolicited advertisements or redirect affiliate m arketing revenues to the spyware creator. Tools of the trade get more toxic: Nothing exemplifies the evolution of malware writers and hackers better than the tools they deploy. The 20th century hacker’s kit consisted of a motley assortment of a BBC Model B and Sinclair Spectrum computer, a Prism VTX 5000 and Cumana modem, a portable monitor, an Epsom printer, disc drives and floppies and an electronic organ for creating tones for phreaking. Today’s hacker uses far more sophisticated technology to achieve his nefarious ends – botnets or networks of compromised ‘zombie’ PCs began to be tapped into in 2003. Malware writers who compromised the computers with Internet worms realized that they could be rented out to spammers for a fee. As botnets created from compromised desktop PCs grew, they

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