We live in the information age, an age defined by software, the Internet, mobile devices and such. Whoever controls these controls the information age. What seems to be abundantly clear is that many of the people who work at the largest banks, brokerage firms, government agencies, and technology companies have little understanding of how information technology actually works.
Most of these people follow the zeitgeist, the rules of the age, but there are others who live by the beat of a different drummer. This new breed, hackers, do not recognize the rules and ways of living of the rest of us. The core belief that animates the most successful hackers is that information is or should be free. Every action taken by a hacker is intended to free up information using whatever technical bag of tricks is needed.
In the movie ALORITHM: The Hacker Movie, the protagonist uses his considerable intelligence and skills to make lots of money, preying on the ignorance of regular people. The first resource of the hacker is a “bot-net,” a network of computers he has hacked into that is spread across the world, allowing him to run hacks in complete anonymity so he can never be traced.
Hackers today walk about hacking into cellphones, mobile devices, and laptops as we sit at cafes or walk through shopping malls. In an instant, sophisticated hacks can provide direct access to dozens or even hundreds of devices in the crowd which become part of the hacker’s bot-net or can serve as future targets.
As expected, most of us have very boring information, connections, and a pittance for a bank account. But hacking is a game of numbers. For every 100 devices hacked there will be a few that present interesting and profitable targets. The hacker sifts through the information of each hackee either adding them to the bot-net or designating them as future targets.
What is most disheartening and sad about this new age of hackers is that our companies and governments are consistently vulnerable to hackers and are likely to be for decades to come. There is no longer a place where people can hide. Whether we live in a gated community in a major city or in a remote rural area, hackers have access to us and our information.
According to the movie, hackers come in two types: makers and coders. A maker is typically well-versed in electrical engineering or how to manipulate electricity for hacking purposes, and is sometimes referred to as a “lightning God.” The coder writes code to manipulate software to do things not intended by the original coders.
It’s clear from this movie that hackers aren’t going away. Learning who hackers are and how they think may help us all make better decisions about how the information age unfolds.
For more, see the movie ALGORITHM: The Hacker Movie: