Hacking for protection

This is a discussion on Hacking for protection within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; This is a very strange thread I'll admit but it has been born out of a complete mistrust of companies ...

  1. #1
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Hacking for protection

    This is a very strange thread I'll admit but it has been born out of a complete mistrust of companies and government.

    In recent days the media has monopolized on a story about phone companies releasing records to the NSA and perhaps even phone numbers. We all know you can google phone numbers and get just about anyone's address and other information. The problem here is that I've signed a contract, that I did read all the way through, that stated my company would protect my privacy within certain limits such as being involved in a criminal investigation, etc, etc.

    Now if my company has provided records to the NSA about my activities and/or phone habits they have violated their own contract to me. I must abide by the contract but they must as well or the contract is null and void. If I find that my company or any of the companies I trust with my information have violated this contract I will immediately discontinue my use of their services and I will not pay any fees since the fee is only if you violate the contract. In this case they will have violated it and thus the contract is void.

    Now this brings me to another issue. What if internet companies are releasing IP's and internet surfing habits as well as a host of other information? Now I do not have anything to hide and they will find nothing of interest - save for the occasional email to my dev team about our upcoming game.....but it's the principle of the matter. This type of information could be used against all of us in very bad ways if this type of power got into the wrong hands.

    Now this might sound odd, but could it be that sometime in the near future as governments and corporations become more and more corrupted by power and money that we the common citizens must utilize our own means to protect us from those who once were our protectors? I am not a computer hacker and I know most of us on this board are not computer hackers as well. I probably couldn't hack into a web site if I tried because I'm not interested in that type of activity. However we all do posess a great deal of knowledge that we could use to protect ourselves should power get into the wrong hands. I think we would be foolish not to utilize this knowledge to our benefit. It sounds like some horrid sci-fi movie but this stuff is really happening.

    Some day we may have to become hackers just to live normal lives and protect our own privacy. We see it in the news and on the net time and time again. Companies using technology to spy on us, track us, and monitor us. I'm not happy about the trend. I think a very bad thing to do for these companies would be to ........ of those who can hurt them the most. It may happen someday my friends that power falls into the wrong hands and we may have to utilize our love of computers and C/C++ just to protect our interests.

    We are not at this point yet, but more and more and with more viruses and idiots out there just wanting to hack into my computer....it makes we want to learn about it simply to protect myself from them and corrupt corporations who are continually using spyware and rootkits as a 'legit' means of monitoring your activities. The only way to know how to defend yourself is to understand how your enemy attacks you.

    All of this crap is really making me nervous.

    Comments?


    EDIT: This is a not a thread for idiots who think hacking to destroy is cool. This is a serious thread about the serious threat new technologies and the incorrect use of those technologies
    present to the common everyday citizen.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 05-17-2006 at 02:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    The only reason that spyware is public knowledge is because of hacking. People capturing packets and reversing apps to see just what information is being sent back to base.

    The law is as always on the side of big business. The digital millenium copyright act makes it ilegal to reverse engineer/decompile software meaning we are expected to trust companies. So software can be digitally signed to prevent malware - but spyware is offen signed anyway so these certificates only mislead people.

    It's just to easy to get this stuff onto your system. Put in a music CD or lend your computer to an inexperience user for 2 minutes and your computer could be full of the stuff.

    EDIT
    I would think that giving out customer details to the NSA comes under investigating possible criminal activity or at least thats what they'd claim.
    Last edited by Quantum1024; 05-17-2006 at 03:17 AM.

  3. #3
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    I understand what you're saying, but it would be somewhat tricky to protect yourself from your own government, let alone other ones. It's already been on the books for sometime that should we all switch over to computer systems that use relatively strong encryption as a matter of routine (a lá a new Windows release, providing MS can sell it to us old hacks ), then the government will want its own "back door" into our data. This could manifest itself in a variety of ways, be it a special skeleton key (Which would be v.v.v.v.v.v.v. stupid) or having your key stored on your motherboard with the government maintaining a copy.

    It is not unfeasible to imagine a situation where, for example, you displease someone in government. The week after, your toughest competitor releases its new baby - which happens to be a copy of a work in progress off your computer. They couldn't have gained access to your data because it's well encrypted. There are only two entities capable, you and the government, of course you know it's not you...

    So you look to claim damages from the government, but they've locked down the legislature in such a way as the defence is arguing that your password was simply "too easy" or that one of your family members compromised you. The judge is dreaming of the golf course and you spend years in court trying to convince people who simply aren't interested due to the way the law is written.

    But there's really not a lot that can be done to keep the government out. If they wanted to know what I was typing right now, for example, they could've popped in while I was out earlier, unscrewed this keyboard and attached a small keylogger device to its internals. It could be wireless, or they could come back later and retriveve it. Either way, I'd never know that anyone had been here, let alone that my typing was being recorded.

    This is all contingent on the government wanting to know, of course. It's unlikely that they'd have the resources to spy on everyone in that way, so encryption back doors are a way of saving them time when they feel the need to investigate you. If you protect your data in your own way, they can just as easily haul you in front of a judge and demand that you provide them with access or face jail "because you must be hiding terrorism plans!!!!11!". Even if all they've got to show for it is a recently-formatted hard drive with nothing but random 0s and 1s. They can infer that this is some sort of trick and you'll blow everyone to kingdom come if they don't fix you NOW. The judge will then ignore your defence and your rights.

    To summarize, then. Best advice to keep personal data safe... don't use a computer.

  4. #4
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMurf
    To summarize, then. Best advice to keep personal data safe... don't use a computer.
    Quoted for truth.

    I had a computer science professor once while I was in college. He did all this government work. His advice was to stay informed, and keep hard copies of everything important; to not rely to much on technology, and actually print things you need to use later. Computers as well as their users are by nature unreliable.

    Google "echelon" for some fun stuff you might not have known before about the world.

  5. #5
    C++ Enthusiast jmd15's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by http://home.hiwaay.net/~pspoole/echelon.html
    The CIA then began monitoring student activists and infiltrating anti-war organizations by working with local police departments to pull off burglaries, illegal entries (black bag jobs), interrogations and electronic surveillance
    Sounds like the first step towards Totalitarianism to me.. However I'm not worried, I have trust in the American people to not let themselves be tread upon by the government. I do support our government BUT I do not like the invasion of my privacy without reason or cause. Maybe the checks and balances system needs a bit of a boost and empowerment. Our executive branch seems to be able to do as they please without interference by the Legislative or Judicial branches HOWEVER I think this is mainly because of ignorance or concurrence in accords to the action being taken. I'd like to see some of these spying programs cut down IN the homeland, elsewhere I agree with(paranoia can mean safety in certain cases). I mean, how much help have these homeland spying programs gotten us? About zip, zero, zilch. I'm not really worried or nervous at all about the government watching us and knowing our every move and us having to use our computer knowledge to get by. If that happened then I'd probably be in support of a revolution. It does sound like a scif-thriller and actually a good plot line. Maybe a movie should be made of this? Good thoughtful thread Bubba.
    Trinity: "Neo... nobody has ever done this before."
    Neo: "That's why it's going to work."
    c9915ec6c1f3b876ddf38514adbb94f0

  6. #6
    Rad gcn_zelda's Avatar
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    I believe the liberal media completely rules out any chances of America straying towards a totalitarianism. Government was less democratic during the mid-1900s, when they were able to keep a secret as massive as an atomic bomb, when, now, it would be nigh impossible to keep confidential. I do agree that we have no need to worry, as this technological breach of privacy will likely be a major topic of debate, especially with the coming of the next presidential election, and may possibly be one of the deciding factors, as Americans seem to have a tendency to put personal rights above all most other issues.

    I agree that this was a very thoughtful thread, Bubba, and commend you on it. In the case that we end up having to be able to hack to protect ourselves, you'd better know how, because I'm coming to you to learn.

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