Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Few Good Hackers?

It seems the nObama administration has found that our nation's information infrastructure is vulnerable. Oh, no kidding? Really? You don't say...

Anyhow, the administration wants the Department of Homeland Insecurity to do something about it. The Pentagon's new budget request is asking for funds to train 250 "cyber-experts" per year, up from the 80 per year at its current rate.

Reading all of this brings back memories of my youth. I first used a computer at the age of five, when my mom's boyfriend of the month bought her a 1st-gen Apple Macintosh. Yes, that clunky box-looking thing that had everything built in, including the monitor. By the way, I would like to point out that Steve Jobs is the antichrist, and I am still cursing my mother for even owning such a device. Whatever.

Since the time of my early childhood experiences playing Zork on mom's Mac (and catching a massive unnatural asswhipping for using up all the printer paper to make "No Smoking" signs I plastered all over her house that summer), I've progressed a bit. I learned a basic programming language in Junior High (Apple BASIC, actually), and wrote a program on a IIe that did my Algebra homework for me one day when I got bored with mapping out parabolas. A few years later, my father bought me my very own computer...that was promptly confiscated a month and a half later, when I failed high school Algebra due to not doing any homework. I've since progressed to learning how to build computers, and some of my myriad functions at work involve running the company's online store and "fixing" our computers when someone screws them up. The rig I'm typing this on now has been built and rebuilt more times than Michael Jackson's nose, and is now practically NASA-grade. Anyhow, it's safe to say I know my way around a computer.

And yet, I have nowhere near the skill level these guys have. When the Pentagon trains someone for "cyber" specialties, they aren't training them to use the computer...they are training them to use the computer for what the Pentagon needs or wants, using pre-existing skills in their desired manner. Although I know more than the average 30 year old when it comes to bypassing a Windows product key, there are 12 year old boys who can do the very same thing. For every 45 year old man the Pentagon considers to be a "cyber-security expert", there are a dozen hormonally-challenged freshman sitting at home on a friday night wired to the nines on Red Bull and Skittles, who can slip right past these "experts".

Back in high school, during the "early years" of the internet (think "386" processors, hard drives were measured in "Mb" instead of Gb", we were just phasing out disks that were actually "floppy", et cetera), a friend of mine was one of these people. I won't go into details about what he did, but let's just say that A) he did it from the Angleton High School library, and B) he's the reason I found out what was in the FBI file that I've had since the age of 15. I was 16 years old at the time, he was 14.

Since the begining of computer networking, there have been people who understood how networks function. I'm not really one of those people, once we get beyond the basic fundamentals. If I were jogging, these people would be flying past me in a 400mph nitromethane-powered dragster. They know what's up. A third of it comes from natural ability to understand certain abstract concepts, another third comes from reading up on the subject, and the remaining third comes from personal hands-on experience.

Of these people, they typically fall into one (sometimes more) categories...people who make retarded amounts of fat bank working for Symantec, McAffee, et cetera, people who hack networks for ill-gotten profits, people who like to go in and tear shit up so they can brag about it, and people who just do it for the sake of doing it.

Now, here's what scares the living holy hell out of me...

The past eight years of Bush the Dumber have shown us that our government A) is willing to do all manner of illegal, immoral, and unethical things to ordinary citizens, including warrantless electronic surveilance, B) has set legal precedent by doing so (and passed laws granting future, present, AND retroactive immunity to those who illegally participated), and C) will not hesitate to utilize these methods against political and/or ideological enemies. Most of the complaints brought against the government regarding illegal surveilance of their private lives have not been from "terrorists", but rather people that were unliked by the administration and watched because of this.

Our new administration REALLY DOESN'T LIKE those of us who think for ourselves, and unfortunately for America, is stacked full of people who were loyal underlings during gov't-sponsored murders like Ruby Ridge and Waco. On top of that, they are armed not only with every modern weapon known to man, but also with the aforementioned legal protections against reprisal from their victims.

Then, let's take a good look at the people who would be willing to take a job from the gov't for doing this kind of work. Let's remember, these people aren't your typical American Idol-watching, American Eagle-wearing numbnut morons...they are COMPUTER HACKERS. They took a dump last night, and while doing so, forgot more about the internet than you and your six best friends will ever know about it. Yes, all seven of you, combined. Obviously, they "have a clue" about what's going on in this world, because they are exposed to information on a regular basis as a part of their everyday lives.

Taking those last three paragraphs into account, let's think back to those four classes of people I mentioned earlier. Which one of these four people is most likely to take a job working for our government?

Think about it. It won't hurt you, and it's not illegal yet...

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