Jen's Blog

Monday, November 20, 2006

Black Hat Hackers HW

Black hat is used to describe a hacker (or, if you prefer, cracker) who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent. Unlike a white hat hacker, the black hat hacker takes advantage of the break-in, perhaps destroying files or stealing data for some future purpose. The black hat hacker may also make the exploit known to other hackers and/or the public without notifying the victim. This gives others the opportunity to exploit the vulnerability before the organization is able to secure it.
The term comes from old Western movies, where heros often wore white hats and the "bad guys" wore black hats.

John Draper was an original phone phreak who introduced "phreaking" which is to use knowledge of the phone system to gain free access to phone services. He found out that a 2600 KHz tone used on the phone could gain him access to AT&T's switching system and could be used to place free long distance phone calls. He discovered that from using a plastic whistle that he found in a cereal box.

At the age of 17 Mark was a master of computer and telephone technology. He led the New York City MOD (Masters of Deception) hacker gang. MOD was good at invading systems such as AT&T, Bank of America, and the NSA using a mastery of UNIX and VAX knowledge from very basic equipment such as the Commodore 64. The Nov. 1989 headlines read that a gang had crashed the computers at the New York public TV station, WNET, leaving a message, "Happy Thanksgiving you turkeys, from all of us at MOD." In July 1992 Mark Abene and 4 others were arrested for a series of computer break-ins. What was intended to be a message to all hackers from law enforcement, turned out to make Abene into a folk-hero. The story was made into a book called "The Gang that Ruled Cyberspace" by Michelle Slatalla and Joshua Quitlne.

He was the son of a chief scientist at the National Computer Security Center, a division of the National Security Agency (NSA). As a first year graduate from Cornell University he accidently unleashed an internet WORM in 1988. It resulted in infecting about 6000 computers which subsequently crashed within 8 hours bringing a tenth of the internet at the time down. He was the first person to be convicted under a new law made in 1986 - the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He made the worm on computers at the university with hard-won efforts at finding security loopholes in UNIX networking.