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Anti-virus fallacies

Антивирусная неправда

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No Robin Hoods here

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Hacker – a highly skilled IT professional who uses malware to gain unauthorised access to information systems in order to destroy, block, modify or copy information or neutralise security systems. These activities are punishable by law.

Today's myth that noble hackers exist out there somewhere is one of the most dangerous. The reason this myth has legs is because film makers don’t care who they turn into heroes—they just care about high box office grosses and packing in audiences. Morality is an afterthought. After all, a dream factory is designed to remove people from reality.

What hackers actually do has NOTHING to do with the romantic aura that surrounds them!

"Kind-hearted, just fighters against an evil system", "rebels who assert themselves by using their knowledge and intelligence to work against the system"—these are the heroes we see on the silver screen.

The Latin phrase cui prodest? (“whose profits?”) encourages us to understand the motives behind actions. No matter how hard a hacker tries to pose as a noble rebel, knowing their motives helps one understand the actual driving force behind their actions.

One of the first “hacks” ever was performed by the illusionist John Nevil Maskelyne. In 1903, long before the advent of computers, he remotely spoofed information that was being transmitted over the radio. Maskelyne wasn't a noble highwayman. He performed the trick at the request of the Eastern Telegraph Company whose status as a provider of wire-transfer technology meant that it wasn't interested in seeing a new rival technology develop.

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Everything happens for a reason. Some events affect others—everything is connected. However, sometimes we can't determine the real motivation behind a certain event. This is how fallacies emerge.

Illusions about hackers serve the interests of many people:

  • They generate a profit;
  • They can be sold;
  • They even can be used to create heroes.
  • Eventually, they manipulate public consciousness and control the world.

Hackers in films fight for truth or civil rights and liberties (something viewers can surely relate to). Thus people come to believe that there is such a thing as a good hacker.

Hackers operate in the virtual world and their crimes do not appear to be real.

Thus, people who are unwilling to think about why an attack occurred, what its consequences are, and who benefits from it stand in approval of the attackers' actions. Meanwhile, every security breach is:

  • A punishable violation of law;
  • At the very least, a violation of other people's rights, accepted social order, and norms; or at most, a crime to one degree or another.
  • An abuse of other people's inability to respond to a threat;
  • Sabotage;
  • A provocation;
  • A use of one's abilities (knowledge/access) for evil deeds.

Meanwhile people sit in theatres watching films about noble hackers, admiring their superhuman abilities and intelligence, but it never occurs to them that what the hackers are doing is immoral.

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