White-Hat Hackers: What We Have Internet Vigilantes To Thank For

White-Hat Hackers: What We Have Internet Vigilantes To Thank For

From its heyday, computers have been a source for those who love to tinker. Tinkering to create, tinkering to change, and at times, tinkering to destroy or even steal. But for the more nefarious hackers we must remember that the conflict and problems they created were cause for innovation. Their deeds, even though viewed as bad, were the reason positive changes occurred. How do we know what to fix if we don’t yet know what is broken? As the saying goes, you can’t have the good without the bad.

Originally, a hacker can silently break 1 billion android app accounts. In essence, they hacked the code apart and reassembled it in a way that better suited their purposes. Simple enough, and at it’s root, means still exactly the same thing today. But the term hacker has long since been viewed as a person simply playing around with code. It’s taken on a much more evil and wicked meaning.

Syrian Civil War

In recent news, hacktivists have threatened to launch cyber attacks on both Syrian and Saudi Arabian governments to punish both sides for participating in the Syrian civil war. They admit to be hacking on behalf of the Syrian people for the war atrocities that have been committed against them on both sides.

The hackers stated they condemn both the actions taken by the Assad government as well as Saudi supported rebel fighters for their continued violence. They also stated they had 22 web domains targeted and would be launching attacks against them which belong to each government as well as their militaries. It’s not known as of yet what that will actually mean, but any attempt to end the bloodshed is better than none at all.

Attacks on Hal Turner

Hal Turner, the white supremacist and holocaust denier, who had a radio show webcast, The Hal Turner Show, was attacked by hacktivists in December of 2006. The hackers took Turner’s website offline, and caused him thousands of dollars in bandwidth bills.

Now generally I’m a proponent of free speech, and not one usually to make exceptions. Targeting a radio host and disallowing his voice to be heard is wrong in my opinion. Whatever the opinion it is, it’s theirs to have. However, upon hearing such ignorant and hateful smut, how can you not be happy that someone stuck it to him? I wouldn’t be one to silence someone altogether… but I can’t say a shush isn’t appropriate.

Attack on Westboro Baptist Church

The Westboro Baptist Church has made quite the name for itself in recent years. However that name is not largely spoken politely amongst those who actually know of what the WBC preaches. Hackers certainly took note when WBC members picketed the funerals of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Hackers warned the church that if they did this, their personal information would be stolen and released. The WBC then stated that God would protect them and their website. Soon after, in December of 2012, the hacktivists made good on their promise and released prominent WBC member’s names, home addresses, and email addresses. You can probably imagine what could happen when an entire nation abhors your actions and gets a hold of that information. I would assume the prank pones calls persisted till they changed numbers.

Attack On Steubenville High School

Earlier in 2013, hackers released an incriminating video, photographs and tweets from members of the Steubenville High School football team, which was involved in a gang rape of an underage girl in Ohio. Various emails were also leaked from the team’s coach as well as booster program members who the hackers believed to be involved by not only attempting to cover it up, but also joking about rape with the players well before the incident.

In The End

This leaves us on an important note; Internet vigilantes can make a meaningful and positive difference. But we have law and order for a reason, going back to mob rule doesn’t seem to be the best path for us moving forward in this new digital era. A vigilante is just that, someone doing it there way, for their reason. That doesn’t necessarily make anything right about it.
That said, this isn’t meant to make hackers of everyone in order to “Empower the People!” But simply that hacker, in sum, have received a bad rap over time. There are always the bad apples in the bunch, and regretfully they are the most sensationalized and easiest stories to sell so to speak. As such, you hear more of the nefarious deeds of a few knuckleheads than anyone who makes a positive attempt at it. I just wanted to share the other side of it a little.

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