Hacker vs. hacker

The Register ran a long article to the effect of "A guy tried to engage in pedophile activity and got off with a slap on the wrist because he informed on hacker activity." That's distressing, whether or not one agrees with the article's slant suggesting this was a foolish Faustian bargain.

But part of the story was actually golly-gee-whiz interesting amusing, namely the lengths hackers went to attack each other.  For example,

Members of the group hacked into one of the websites Digerati was using to host his webcam chats. They copied images and excerpts from the chats and transferred them to a flyer headlined "Internet child predator." One of the members then hacked the university's print servers and caused the flyer to spontaneously print on hundreds of machines across campus.

Around the same time, the group also hacked into the university's internal email system and siphoned thousands of emails in an attempt to learn more about Digerati. They hit the jackpot. Not only did they discover that the hacker was a student named Ryan Goldstein, they also learned he was under suspicion for a computer breach in February 2006 that brought down a server at the university's SEAS, or School of Engineering & Applied Science.

In a similar vein is another pair of Register articles, about another hacker, who was indeed unfortunate enough to be sent to jail:

According to federal prosecutors in Boston, Dshocker has since 2005 controlled "several" botnets comprising "tens of thousand [sic] of infected computers" used to carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on his victims. In January, he turned his attention to a practice known as "swatting," in which he made hoax 911 calls that falsely reported violent crimes were underway. On at least several occasions, the calls prompted visits by armed police.

To fool police, Dshocker spoofed his phone number so it appeared to originate from a victim who was located thousands of miles away. He obtained the victims' numbers and addresses by breaking into the computer systems of their internet service providers and accessing subscriber records. Charter Communications, Road Runner, and Comcast are among the ISPs he broke into.

Note that these guys are both from the US. In poorer countries, young men with similar mentalities are surely behind more serious computer crime.

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