The New World of Hacking
S 2018


"Nothing is safe. Not your email, your personal information, your photos, your files, If it is stored on line, it's theoretically accessible to anyone with the skills and wherewithal to grab it" (1)

The skill to get the wherewithal to grab it is called hacking, the art of creative problem solving, whether that means finding an unconventional solution to a difficult problem or exploiting holes in sloppy programming. 

Hacking in the age of the Internet can be broken down into three distinct categories: Personal (hacking of your home computer for nefarious reasons, mostly financial but also setting up botnets), secondly, hacking of commercial entities (mostly for financial gain and information or intimidation, for example utilities) and thirdly, hacking of government entities. (military or government agencies, mostly to influence national policy). Although these are distinct categories, they overlap in many cases. For instances, using personal computers via botnets to Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) that in theory could shut down worlds stock markets with horrific financial consequences. In case of military use, Stuxnet is a malicious computer worm believed to be a jointly built American-Israeli cyberweapon that shut down Iranian centrifuges. Benign hacking has been used show weaknesses in the computerized instrumentation in cars, hospital equipment, planes and normal household items. For instance the Nest thermostat. These weaknesses can be triggered not only by hackers but also stray EMF radiation. 

Hacking in the area of Computer Software has existed since the first DOS Program was written.  It has given resulted in numerous text books and actual classes for the “White Hat” hackers and numerous articles but few books regarding the Black Hat Hackers.

In this SD/G we will try to answer the question of what hacking really means in our daily lives and how our entire privacy has become non-existent as well as it can now affect our health, privacy, personal finances and safety.

(1) Data downer: Hackers will grow increasingly bold in 2017. David Lazarus, LA times, Friday, December 30, 2016 

Weekly Topics

1.     The Internet:

a.     What is Cyberspace or Hyper-connectivity?

b.     How does the Internet work?

c.     what is Internet security?

d.     Who governs or controls the Internet?

e.      What is Hacking?

2.     Hacking: The White, Grey and Black Hat hackers of the Internet.

a.     Their function?

b.     Who are the criminals?

c.     The ethics of hacking

d.     The Anonymous Group

e.     Privacy expectations In Europe versus the US

3.     Computers can be attacked via:

a.     Software,       

b.     Hardware (think Intel/AMD -  Meltdown and Spectre)

c.     A.I.- How it affects anti-hacking and hacking software

4.     Hacking of Personal Data -  Targeting the Individual

a.     ID Theft

b.     Financial theft

c.     Privacy Invasion

d.     Can one protect themselves?

5.     Commercial Hacking -  large Scale

a.     Bank theft (remember Willy Sutton) & Bitcoin

b.     Stock manipulation

c.     DoS – Denial of Service attack.

d.     Financial blackmail

e.     Personal information – Equifax, Anthem Insurers, JMaxx, JP Morgan Chase and the list goes on.

f.       Industrial Espionage

6.     Hacking of Governments as a tool of Diplomacy and War.

a.     NSA hacking Sadam Hussein’s conversations to determine Iraq’s war strategy

b.     Stuxnet – an act of war?

c.     Elections in Estonia and Germany

d.     How does this relate to “classic” wiretapping?

7.     Wikileaks and Effect on Government and Corporate America.

a.     E-mail from the Democratic committee and H. Clinton

b.     Snowden and Manning – Is using a memory stick to steal data really hacking?

c.     Release of Government Treaties) – Trans Pacific Partnership being one.

d.     Source codes from NSA and NASA

8.     The Press, Government and First Amendment Rights.

a.     Is using stolen data by the Press ethical?

b.     Does it fall under the rights of the 1st Amendment?

c.     Is creating virus software a 1stAmendment right?

d.     Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

9.     Can Democracy Survive the Computer Age?

a.     Voting Machines

b.     Early Voting via Computer (Wisconsin, Arizona, Illinois)

c.     LA – Wireless attack on electronic ballot counter at Precincts.

d.     Botnets and how “fake” data is spread

e.     Fake Data and News – how do we stop that? 1st Amendment rights?

10.  The Internet of Things –

a.     Cars,

b.     Thermostats,

c.     Drug Delivery systems

d.     Ring (Video doorbell), Door locks – WiFi enabled.

e.     Google Home Mini or Amazon’s Alexa

f.       WiFi, Modems & Routers

11.  State Sponsored Hacking

a.     US, Russian and Korean hackers

b.     Infrastructure attacks

c.     Chemical and Nuclear Plants

d.     Espionage

12.  Tor: The Underbelly of the Internet.

a.     What is TOR?

b.     Who developed and still uses TOR?

c.     Criminal Element Virus and Hacking Tool Market

d.     Criminal Data Market – Credit Card Numbers, Social Security Numbers, Bank Accounts.

e.     Tor allows circumvention of Censors, Skirt Surveillance, search data sites behind National Firewalls.

13.  Defenses Against Hacking, -  Current and Future

a.     A.I. – Double edged sword

b.     What tools are available for private citizens?

c.     How to tell what is “Fake” News and Data

d.     Internet sites that check for accuracy in data and statements.

14.  Election of 2016 and upcoming 2018 + Current Events not anticipated.

a.     What happened in 2016? (Technical details, what so far has been discovered, etc.)

b.     Will it repeat in 2018?



Cyber Security and Cyber War P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman, Oxford University Press, 2014

Cyber War, Richard A. Clark and Robert K. Knake, Harper Collins, 2010

After Snowden, Ronald Goldfarb, St. Martins Press, 2015

Stanford Students Partner with Government in Ethical Hacking Courses, LA Times, 12/20/16

Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, Fred Kaplan, Simon and Schuster, 2016

Markets for Cybercrime Tools and Stolen Data Hackers’ Bazaar, Lillian Ablon, Martin C. Libicki, Andrea A. Golay, Rand Corporation, 2014