Computer Hacking

September 16, 2011 • Volume 21, Issue 32
Can “good” hackers help fight cybercrime?
By Marcia Clemmitt


Members of the international “hactivist” group (
Members of the international “hactivist” group Anonymous wear masks depicting their inspiration, Guy Fawkes, who in 1605 tried to assassinate England's King James I and blow up Parliament in an effort to restore a Catholic monarchy. Members hack into corporate computer systems and support anti-government dissidents. (

Hackers made headlines this year when the international protest group Anonymous shut down government and corporate websites, and U.S. and European police moved in. But likely more significant than the antics of so-called “hacktivists” is rising interest by corporations, government security officials and Internet companies in hiring “good” hackers, who can counter attacks by “bad” hackers — cybercriminals. Thefts of money and information via hacked computers are on the rise worldwide, with hundreds of billions in losses annually. The challenge lies in overhauling legal and economic structures to encourage innovative, positive hacks and strengthen defenses against destructive ones, experts say. The Obama administration is proposing a sweeping cybersecurity plan that would require utilities, banks and other economic linchpins to strengthen their systems against computer sabotage. Opponents of the plan argue, however, that new cyberthreats arise too quickly for top-down government regulation to stop them.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 28, 2020  Cyberwarfare
Apr. 20, 2018  Technology Addiction
Oct. 06, 2017  Cyberwarfare Threat
Feb. 26, 2016  Virtual Reality
Feb. 12, 2016  Video Games and Learning
Jan. 15, 2016  The Dark Web
Feb. 15, 2013  Improving Cybersecurity
Apr. 13, 2012  Internet Regulation
Sep. 16, 2011  Computer Hacking
Sep. 24, 2010  Impact of the Internet on Thinking
Feb. 26, 2010  Cybersecurity
Aug. 01, 2008  Internet Accuracy
May 02, 2008  Cyberbullying
Jul. 28, 2006  Cyber Socializing
May 12, 2006  Controlling the Internet
Jun. 10, 2005  Identity Theft
Sep. 17, 2004  Cyberpolitics
Sep. 26, 2003  Cybersecurity
Apr. 12, 2002  Cyber-Crime
Oct. 27, 2000  Computers and Medicine
May 26, 2000  Future of Computers
Jan. 28, 2000  The Digital Divide
Feb. 05, 1999  Digital Commerce
Jun. 30, 1995  Regulating the Internet
May 21, 1993  Software Piracy
Sep. 30, 1988  Management's High-Tech Challenge
Jan. 09, 1987  Power Surge in Personal Computers
Feb. 13, 1981  The Computer Age
Nov. 03, 1978  America's Information Boom
Jan. 06, 1978  Computer Crime
May 12, 1971  Reappraisal of Computers
Jul. 25, 1962  Approach to Thinking Machines
Internet and Social Media