Hacking 2003 - the new agenda

Wednesday, 14 May 2003, 12:35 PM EST

But the goal for hackers is changing. Five or six years ago, most were mere vandals, attacking vulnerable targets with an experimental, shotgun approach. Malicious hackers concentrated their efforts on destructive viruses and swiftly spreading worms that crawled haphazardly across the Internet, infecting individuals and corporations indiscriminately. The only real payoff these hackers received was a perverse pride--bragging rights and the ability to regale others with the scope of their destruction.

Other hackers were more pure in their motives; they probed defenses to increase their knowledge, publicized vulnerabilities to encourage stronger security, and even fought for social justice using "hacktivism."

While I can't condone any of these behaviors, today we're seeing a far more dangerous hacker attack--the targeted attack. Targeted attacks are carried out by highly skilled hackers motivated by financial gain and armed with the expertise to do serious damage.

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