Text 16. THE CHANGING IMAGE OF A HACKER
1. Discuss the following questions in pairs:
1. What is the difference between a skillful programmer and a hacker? What is the main purpose of a hacker’s actions?
2. Can you give any examples of the well-known hackers?
3. According to the title of the text, the image of a hacker changed in the course of time. Can you suggest how and why it happened?
2. Match the synonyms:
|1. to encounter 2. to flourish in 3. attainment 4. to make the most of 5. a tiny amount of 6. rudimentary 7. to crack 8. illicit 9. notorious 10.to prosecute||i. elementary ii. to break iii. to pursue iv. a very small quantity of v. achievement vi. infamous vii. to succeed in viii. to use in the best way ix. illegal x.to meet|
Using the words from the first column in part A) make up word combinations with the words given below. Translate the word combinations into Russian:
academic; the copy protection; criminals; people; memory; hackers; graphics; bulletin boards; machines
3. Read the text and arrange the paragraphs (A-F) in the logical order:
A) Sometimes hackers even got prizes for their skills from computer companies that needed to develop sophisticated software. However, as the computer industry grew, such companies became more concerned with protecting, and exploiting intellectual property. To hackers intellectual property was a barrier to the free exploration and exploitation of the computer, so they sometimes copied and distributed not only their own work but also commercial systems software and utilities.
B) In response to public fears about hackers’ capabilities, federal and local law enforcement agencies have united their efforts to find and prosecute criminals who crack or vandalize systems or Web sites. Antiterrorism experts now worry that hacker attacks could be used by terrorist groups to paralyze the economies of different countries and even destruct vital infrastructure such as air traffic control. In this atmosphere the older, more positive image of the hacker is fading, although the creativity of hacking continues to be manifested in cooperative software development.
C) During the late 1970s and 1980s, the microcomputer created a mass consumer software market, and a new generation of hackers tried to get the most out of machines that had a tiny amount of memory and only rudimentary graphics and sound capabilities. At that time a new term - software piracy - appeared. Pirate hackers cracked the copy protection on games and other commercial software so the disks could be copied freely and exchanged at computer fairs, club meetings, and on illicit bulletin boards.
D) In the late 1950s, researches form various universities began to encounter people with unusual programming skills and an obsession with the inner workings of the machines. While ordinary users viewed the computer simply as a tool for solving particular problems, these programmers liked to extend the capabilities of the system and create tools that would make it easier to create even more powerful programs. The movement from mainframes that could run only one program at a time to machines that could simultaneously serve many users created a specific field in which these hackerscould flourish. Indeed, while administrators sometimes complained that hackers took up too much of the available computer time, they often needed their help to fix the bugs that infested the first versions of time-sharing operating systems. Hackers also worked at night while normal users slept.
E) The growing use of on-line services and networks in the 1980s and 1990s brought new opportunities to exploit computer skills for stealing valuable information such as credit card numbers. The mass media always used the term hacker to refer to clever programmers, software pirates, and people who stole information or spread viruses across the Internet. Meanwhile, sensational stories about the notorious real world hackers (e.g. Kevin Mitnick, Jonathan James, Kevin Poulsen, Robert Tappan Morris) showed the dark side of hacking to people. Criminal hackers started to cooperate with more-traditional criminal organizations, creating rings that can efficiently turn stolen information into cash.
F) Early hackers had their own philosophy and supported the following ideas:
• computers should be freely accessible, without any limits on their use;
• information should be free so that it can reach its full potential. So, people should struggle against governments that want to restrict information access;
• the most important thing is the quality of the “hack”—the cleverness and utility of the code;
• the reputation of a hacker depends on his work— not on age, experience, academic attainment, or anything else.
4. Find words and word combinations with the following meaning in the text:
1. a system that allows several users to run several tasks simultaneously on one processor, or in parallel on many processors
2. a piece of work that requires great professional skills
3. a product of someone’s creativity that has a commercial value
4. illegal copy and distribution of copyrighted software
5. a gathering of computer manufacturers and dealers for selling their goods and promoting business
6. a facility in a computer network allowing users to leave messages that can be read by others, and to download software to his/her computer
7. a criminal group
5. Answer the questions using to the text:
1. How did hackers of the 1950s differ from ordinary computer users?
2. What gave hackers an opportunity to flourish?
3. What kind of ideas did early hackers support?
4. What was hackers’ idea about intellectual property?
5. How did the creation of the microcomputer influence hackers?
6. What did the ‘pirate’ hackers do?
7. What was the attitude of mass media to hacking?
8. What are antiterrorism experts concerned about?
6. Decide if the following sentences are true or false. Correct the false ones:
1. In the 1950s hackers viewed a computer as a tool for solving particular problems.
2. In the past system administrators often used hackers’ help in fixing the bugs.
3. Hackers believe that everyone should have free access to information in the Internet.
4. Early hackers copied and distributed their own work but they respected intellectual property.
5. In 1990s hackers began to work with various criminal organizations to get money.
6. Nowadays hackers pose a real threat to the economies of different countries.
In the text Kevin Mitnick, Jonathan James, Kevin Poulsen and Robert Tappan Morris are mentioned as ‘notorious real world hackers’. Find more information about one of these people and present your report to the rest of the group.