A Vulnerable Internet

Tue, Nov 30

Today's session is all about computer hacking. This is a classic topic found in any technology ethics course worth its salt because it's a multidimensional case where ethical boundaries aren't always clear. On the one hand, computer intrusion is a category of crime. On the other hand, harmless exploration led to the creation of an entire subdiscipline of computer science and the establishment of an industry worth billions of dollars. Is there some middle ground where the hacker mindset can be leveraged in a legal way? 

We have three main in-class learning goals. By the end of lecture today you will:

  1. Learn about the early history of computer security. 
  2. Brainstorm about ways the hacker mindset can be deployed in constructive ways.
  3. Raise questions around hacking in a government context.

The slides for today's lecture are available here.

Read This:

The Mentor's famous Phrack article The Conscience of a Hacker

Eugene "Spaf" Spafford asks Are Hacker Break-Ins Ethical?

Dennis Fisher chronicles the storied History of the Hacker Group L0pht Heavy Industries for Decipher Security News

Dale Beran writes about The Return of the Hacker Group Anonymous in the Atlantic

Dan Goodin writing in Ars Technica about the Shadow Brokers Hacking the NSA

Louis Columbus reports in Venture Beat that Ransomware Attacks are Getting More Complex and Even Harder to Prevent

Brett Scott writes in Aeon about the Decline and Fall of the Hacker 


Here are some additional optional readings about the history of computer hacking:

Bruce Sterling's The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier (Complete Book)

Hacking Security

The Introduction to the Newly Released Phrack Issue 70

Capital One Data Breach Compromises Data of Over 100 Million

Credit reporting firm Equifax says data breach could potentially affect 143 million US consumers

3 cyber mercenaries: An insider threat case study

Do This:

Writing Reflection 10

See the instructions posted on the assignment's page

This writing reflection is due on 12/4 at noon.

This Week's Dialogue Group Meeting

Find at least one hour to meet with your group to discuss the prompt of the week: Why does contemporary society seemingly disregard data privacy?

Reading Quiz 13

The form for Reading Quiz 13 follows below. If you can't see it, try this direct link.


Watch This: