EBay is the latest victims of creative hackers, and now the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been considering creative maneuvers by engaging the help of hackers powered on weed. The FBI is preparing to fight fire with fire because cyber-crime is one of the greatest threats to national security. According to some, marijuana has been known to enhance creative mental processes. It is a natural choice for those bent on hacking. With the recent pestering of hackers, a long look is being taken at the motivation behind hacking and how to combat it.
There are three main reasons people become hackers. The first is boredom. Hackers are very intelligent, and often become bored with the level of stimulation and challenge in the straight lane. The second motivation is enjoyment. Hackers make attempts on networks, servers, or computers for the fun of it. The third reason is personal gratification. Hackers want to see what they are capable of, and will take on new challenges regardless of the law. Once the confidence has been earned, hacking to steal information and money is a big motivator. However there are those who hack simply to create chaos and disrupt business as usual when they see this business as impinging on freedom of the people.
EBay found that hackers had captured employees’ pass codes, and collected personal information on millions of customers which can be sold on the black market. Information is power, and the internal security team at EBay noticed irregularities while policing their system. EBay’s deep hack has pushed on the issue of weed, or the lack thereof, keeping out helpful young hackers. Considering the stakes, this could be a tipping point for the FBI. The need is that great. The hackers the FBI would be looking to hire are young and impressionable, and smoking pot may just be a faze. The hackers they would be tracking, like the anarchist geniuses of the hacker group Anonymous, are more established in years and in philosophy. No amount of marijuana will chill these hacktivists out. They are on a mission to disrupt the corrupt.
High Times magazine wrote on the most-wanted group Anonymous in March. People have tried to grasp who and what the individuals in Anonymous are. High Times describes them as a room full of cats, very independent and quick to strike. Ideas arise for ways to protect freedom and knock the big boys down a bit, and the support for it comes naturally out of shared passion and curiosity. Much like how a cat decides to hunt. High Times describes this crew as “weirdo nonconformists,” “nerdy techies,” and confrontational smart-mouths. Namely, they are the kids who were smarter than any teacher they ever had, and discovered the currency for success in America is slick talk that toes the line.
Anonymous over-floods servers of websites that have garnered their negative attention, and pokes big holes in security. For instance, when the Tunisian government blocked Wiki-leaks, these hackitvists took direct action over the web to support protesters in Egypt. They ran 500 modem lines and sent fax spam with treatments for tear gas because only landlines were operational. These actions are much different than stealing account numbers or selling stealthy web programs. Technically, Anonymous’ actions are legally protected free speech, and they have not broken any laws. They have, however, approached mass activism with such radical effectiveness that they have been prosecuted for it. Considering EBay is under fire, and leading businesses and government operations are vulnerable, it remains to been seen if hackers, with weed fueling their processing power, will be engaged by the FBI. Oh, the dance of freedom.
Opinion by Grace Pollari