It’s amazing how some people get their jollies — such as by hacking into and damaging an open-source project’s Web site. As my colleague Edward Correia wrote about in EclipseSource this week, someone jumped onto the redesigned Eclipse Plugin Central site a few weeks ago, causing a service disruption and attempting to infect the site with a virus.
As Edward writes, “To what purpose?” Certainly if someone has that much creativity and talent, there are many of productive uses for those skills… if they choose to apply their skills that way. But it’s easier to destroy than to create.
Last week, I wrote an entry, “Poor sports,” where I suggested that it’s too bad that hackers aren’t publicly identified and humiliated; all we hear is that “the site was hacked.” We never know who did it or why. Of course, some people might thrive on that type of publicity.
Edward’s article got a few comments. Here’s one that stood out:
There are many type of people (“animals”), some of them would just be ethical and good by nature and some of them are evil, no matter what you plea, no matter what you teach them, no matter if you give them 10 commandments, they will stay evil! For them, strict punishments “may work.” Yes, you used the right words “The Real Sickos”.
And there are some who can be inspired and stopped from going into wrong path. For these, teaching and preaching is a good start to control the evil.
I think Media in general and IT media in special must start a campaign of not publicizing big security breaches and hacks, and instead preach the importance of Computing Ethics, at very personal level. Try to create an EVIL image of those who steal or destroys someone’s hard work.
I guess you used very proper language in your post and I think you have the right platform to talk about this issue.
What do you think? Is it good that we in the media publicize these sorts of hacks — even if we can’t identify the culprit? Or does the “publicity” that we give attacks of this sort merely serve to reward/encourage more malicious behavior?