What are the most quoted cases of hacking?

Copyright © Peter Timusk 2000

    An oft-quoted case of a hacker is that of Robert T. Morris[3][20][22]. He was the son of a government computer security employee.  Robert created a worm that propagated on the Internet. The case showed that, although he had not intended to do harm, his program had accessed computers without authorisation. He was held accountable and  was sentenced to three years probation, a 10,000 dollar fine and 400 hours of community service.[3] He was not dealt with harshly compared to a Canadian assault case, for example, which also might bring three years probation, although in a way his is a harsh sentence for a 'mistake.'
    In another oft-quoted case[3][8][22],' the 911 case',  the idea of assigning value to electronic files was examined. Assigning value to stolen electronic property was seen to be flawed,  because of the fact that the theft involved unauthorised access to a computer[3][8][15][22]. The flaw was that at the same time the electronic property was available for sale as paper documents for under 100 dollars[22], it was assigned a value in the case of greater than 100,000 dollars. This discrepancy prompted an interest in hacking by civil libertarians[22], who formed the Electronic Frontier Foundation in response to this case and there is a Canadian Branch
    The Steve Jackson Games case is another oft-quoted case[3][22]. Here, a game company had its computer BBS confiscated, because their game promoted hacking as a fantasy role, and was wrongly linked to hackers by the secret service in the USA. Steve Jackson later sued the secret service over the seizure and won[3].
    The book The Cuckoo's Egg [23] describes an espionage hacker. This book and its author, Cliff Stoll,  have been quoted in the book, Computer Crime[13]. The case pursued by Cliff Stoll is considered an model case for tracking a hacker on-line[13]. This case was considered by some as indicating  the point where hacking and hackers had become a tool of espionage[18][22].
    Hacker conventions,[18] such as Defcon, are often discussed in books, magazines and on web sites. Bruce Sterling mentions one such convention in The Hacker Crackdown[22]. Sterling's book also explores the other side of computer crime in that  he investigates the computer security police. He feels that there is a need to promote computer security as a profession.
    The legal camps in computer security are forming now.

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Copyright Peter Timusk © 2000, 2001. Last updated May 3rd,  2001. Created August 28th, 2000.
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