The 21st Century is no different to the ancient times when it comes to the needs of the poor. Wanting and needing something you don’t have, is still something that is universally experienced. Playing Robin Hood by stealing a loaf of bread from the rich to give it to the poor just won’t cut it like it used to. The World Wide Web is now the sub culture and platform for being a modern day Robin Hood.
Enter the Hacker
There has been a lot of debate regarding the definition of the word ‘hacker’ whether inside or outside the computer community, but what everyone does agree upon, is that there are different levels or categories. Some hackers infiltrate a computer network to reap havoc or prove a point, while others are focused on the security side of protecting information and content that is valuable.
This is where you get your different types of hackers, black hat, grey hat and white hat. Black Hat hackers are labeled as computer criminals, White Hat those security specialist hacking for a good cause, and Grey Hat hackers who are somewhere in between.
Even though some White Hat hackers started out as Black Hat, one cannot deny their tremendous influence and expertise. It might not be legal to infiltrate or breach security of individuals and computer databases, but what if this could be helping society around them? This is where the Robin Hood relation comes in.
5 Top White Hat Hackers
Brad Willman can surely be seen as one of the whitest hats of the good guy hackers of the 21st century. Brad spent his hacking days distributing a Trojan horse program to over 1,000 in order to bust child pornographers. When installed, the program would enable Brad to view all the documents on the users computer and this is where he searched for illicit content and alerted pedophile and child pornography watchdogs. Even though he knew what he was doing was illegal, his endeavours were the reason that over 70 individuals got sentenced to jail. Brad Willman’s discovery of superior court judge, Ronald Kline’s child pornography ways put an end to his crime fighting days.
By the time of his arrest, Kevin Mitnick was known as being the United States’ Most Wanted computer criminal. He started out by creating a way to abuse the Los Angeles bus system in order to use the transport for free. He was charged for hacking into DEC, gaining administrator access to BMI, hacking Motorola, Nokia, Fujitsu Siemens as well as evading the FBI. Kevin served out a sentence of five years in a federal prison with eight months in solitary confinement. After his sentence he was closely monitored and unable to use a computer for quite some time. Mitnick has now turned his wicked ways into something good by running Mitnick Security Consulting LCC.
Stephen Wozniak or ‘Woz’ is famously known for being the right hand man of previous Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. His hacking ways started out by bypassing telephone-switcking mechanisms in order to make long distance calls for free. He used one of these ‘blue boxes’ to make a prank call on the Pope. In collaboration with Steve Jobs he then went on to creating the famous Apple Computer. His campaign was highly successful and was the start of a leading enterprise, but Woz’s main focus is no longer the Apple company but he focuses on philanthropy such as his involvement with Los Gatos School District.
Hackers for Charity
Hackers for Charity is an organization that is making use of highly skilled white hat hackers to do good in the community around them. These individuals will act as volunteers that help transform charitable organizations by working on microprojects that will help enhance the technical aspects of the organization. They pride themselves in helping lesser developed communities get an introduction to the technological sphere and educate them accordingly. Dependent on volunteers and sponsors this organization is really passionate about bringing forth change in the hacking community.
This team of computer hackers has a lot of support but the authorities are also fearful of their influence. The hacking group opposes modern day technological crime and exposed various child pornography sites by the name of Freedom Hosting bringing to light over 1,600 sex offenders. Even though they are seen as white hat hackers this group can be rather dangerous, they threatened to occupy Wall Street and crash Israeli defense websites.
Kate Simmons is a fresh graduate and occasional tech blogger currently working for TorchBrowser: the best Web browser out there.