“Computer and Network Security,” was an informative look at the various ways that computers and networks can be accessed and manipulated by off-site operators and systems. It was interesting to note how much of this chapter was similar to what Jeffrey Deaver had written about in The Blue Nowhere, and also how much of this information was discussed in our other reading, Internet and Computer Ethics for Kids. Reading this chapter helped me appreciate the research that Deaver had to put into writing his novel, because, according to him at least, he is not a hacker by nature, but rather, was a lawyer who later became a novelist. However, to truly understand the world of hacking – and to not be a participant – Deaver must have spent a good deal of time researching the various complex ways that hackers intervene with people’s privacy.
I found it interesting to learn that hacking began with MIT’s Tech Model Railroad Club. I had no idea that model train builders constructed the term “hacking,” as well as much of the early hacking vocabulary. The precepts that Quinn mentioned some of those first hackers citing as their code of ethics echo much of what Deaver had built into his novel concerning the attitude of computer cyberpunks. The idea that all information should be free is quite intriguing.
Another section of the text I found was interesting was 6.4.4 – the section on Blue Security. This section truly represented what a large problem spam can be, and why it currently isn’t controlled better. Initially, it seemed as if Blue Security was on to something when they used bots to fight the spammers sending out millions of trash messages. But one person, “PharmaMaster,” wreaked so much havoc on Blue Security’s servers that they had to discontinue their operations.
One of the biggest questions I had while reading this chapter is what can be done to get our students to take security more seriously? We are all supposed to know how wonderful today’s students are at multitasking, gaming, operating various programs, etc. However, I have seen many instances where students don’t even sign out of their e-mails and student servers after they’re done using a public computer. If they aren’t aware of the need to guard their privacy in this manner, how savvy are they at keeping their personal information safe on the Internet?