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0x800. CONCLUSION

Chapter 0x800. CONCLUSION

Hacking tends to be a misunderstood topic, and the media likes to sensationalize, which only exacerbates this condition. Changes in terminology have been mostly ineffective—what's needed is a change in mind-set. Hackers are just people with innovative spirits and an in-depth knowledge of technology. Hackers aren't necessarily criminals, though as long as crime has the potential to pay, there will always be some criminals who are hackers. There's nothing wrong with the hacker knowledge itself, despite its potential applications.

Like it or not, vulnerabilities exist in the software and networks that the world depends on from day to day. It's simply an inevitable result of the fast pace of software development. New software is often successful at first, even if there are vulnerabilities. This success means money, which attracts criminals who learn how to exploit these vulnerabilities for financial gain. This seems like it would be an endless downward spiral, but fortunately, all the people finding the vulnerabilities in software are not just profit-driven, malicious criminals. These people are hackers, each with his or her own motives; some are driven by curiosity, others are paid for their work, still others just like the challenge, and several are, in fact, criminals. The majority of these people don't have malicious intent; instead, they help vendors fix their vulnerable software. Without hackers, the vulnerabilities and holes in software would remain undiscovered. Unfortunately, the legal system is slow and mostly ignorant with regard to technology. Often, draconian laws are passed and excessive sentences are given to try to scare people away from looking closely. This is childish logic—discouraging hackers from exploring and looking for vulnerabilities doesn't solve anything. Convincing everyone the emperor is wearing fancy new clothes doesn't change the reality that he's naked. Undiscovered vulnerabilities just lie in wait for someone much more malicious than an average hacker to discover them. The danger of software vulnerabilities is that the payload could be anything. Replicating Internet worms are relatively benign when compared to the nightmare terrorism....


  

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