(Neanderthal Wannabe...)
"Which Do We Prefer:
Neanderthals or Hackers?"

by Paul Abramson

Today, May 18, 2016 - in the news I see that America's weather satellites & related computer networks are being probed for their weaknesses!  It is just one more attack, among many.
  Folks, we are right now losing a war!

Audit Finds 'Hostile Probes,' Breaches of
Weather Satellite System
  May 18, 2016

   Originally published in:  2600 Magazine Spring 2016 Issue, Vol. 33, No. 1.
"2600" is a magazine published by and for hackers - that is also read by many corporate, government, and institutional computer security professionals.

(A Vulnerable Computer)

   "Which Do We Prefer: Neanderthals or Hackers" - by Paul Abramson

Decades ago a software "hacker" was a guy who could get things done. He would contrive shortcuts and fixes that others had overlooked. He (usually a "he") understood what the computers were capable of separate from the official software.

Some folks remember the 1960s with the muscle cars. Back then a young man could buy a stock car and start making his own modifications. With some ingenuity he could significantly increase the horsepower - far beyond what Detroit had originally intended. It was a challenge to him and his friends. Each man could customize his rod and make something unique.

-- Many modern day computer hackers are in a similar situation today.

Let's think about it: Our official software is full of holes and weaknesses. I could take you to a dozen websites with software to crack into computers and reset the passwords. It is easy.

Like the muscle cars of the 1960s - modern desktops, laptops, and mobile devices are easily modified.

So why don't we co-opt these guys? Why are we letting Neanderthals push their fists down with a, "No more hackers. Nope. Umm, no more. We stop them."

We should invent AWARDS for hackers (who help us) not long prison sentences. Come on, folks.

In the news in May of 2015 there were stories about a man who has figured out how to hack into the navigational and piloting computers of commercial jets, using the on-board entertainment system. Wow, innovative!

Neanderthals: "We stop him. Make go away."

Think!  Instead - would you have rather that - some malevolent Al Qaeda or ISIS hacker(s) had figured this out first!? How does 20 or 30 international flights all dropping into the oceans one day for no apparent reason sound to you?

If one of OUR hackers figures out and reports a weakness - let's give him or her a medal and a reward! Right? (... I am, of course, discussing non-destructive hackers - which most of them are, at least the ones I know.)

Which Do You Prefer: Neanderthals or Hackers?

A teenage boy could either be in the Boy Scouts earning merit badges, or ... make model rockets fly, or ... light things on fire. Direction and purpose are needed, I think. -Make the challenges and opportunities positive! Harness the hackers in a positive way.

When Motorola (for example) makes a new home modem-router model - give the FCC 10 of them - to put on-line where hackers can hammer on them for 2 weeks, (or something like that). Let them try to break in and get around them. Reward the guys who can ... "do the most damage" - which then Motorola has to fix prior to the next round of FCC (with hacker help) testing.

3 months later, Motorola (in this example) could begin sales of a product that would then *protect* 100,000 consumers (or a million, depending upon sales), rather than (instead, like now) leave them OPEN (with default access codes) to malevolent hackers from around the world. -Does this strategy make sense...?

In late June of 2015 it was reported that the P.R. of China had successfully penetrated US government database computers (in 2014, but no one knew) and downloaded ALL personnel files, on some 4 million Federal Government employees (soon followed by other serious compromises!). The security software had a name like "Einstein". First, rename it to "Dumb and Dumber" and then let's empower those best able to help us stop any future security breaches - before they could occur.

Let us REWARD hackers that help us. Let's stop the Neanderthals who want to leave us vulnerable to mass ID theft, our national power grid being shut down one day, and other very clear and present dangers!

Paul Abramson, loves history and science. A guy low on the totem pole, but in the past he worked for both Microsoft and Intel Corporations, among other high-tech firms. He currently resides in southern Indiana, USA.

P.S. Within a few minutes of posting this article on-line (5-18-2016) my main Windows computer was compromised. I don't know who would be watching (a guy like) me so closely, but the damage is done; permanent, it looks like. I will switch to Linux computers until I can get the Windows one rebuilt. Days lost to do this. A small casualty in this war - that we are not even fighting, but we're losing it just the same.

Which Do We Prefer: Neanderthals or Hackers?

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