In the past few years, the terms “hacker” and “hacking” have been widely associated with cybercrime and the recent incident that took place in a Texas prison is just one of the examples presented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which wants to raise awareness on the issue.
At the beginning of June, Reginald Green, an inmate in Texas, was banned from accessing computers after he had made the mistake of ordering a book called “Hacking Exposed.”
Even though the book was written by McAfee specialists for educational purposes, the prison’s warden and a federal district court saw it as a potential threat.
“Could the exploit information contained within Hacking Exposed be misused in the right environment? Sure, but so could lots of other things, like the hammers in the prison workshop or the weights in the prison gym,” EFF’s Molly Sauter explained
“This is an unfortunate, aggressive reaction to the social concept of ‘the hacker,’ without pausing to consider the facts of the case. If the book had been called ‘Offensive Information Security’ instead of "Hacking Exposed," would it have been confiscated, or Mr. Green deemed a threat?” she added.
And this is not the only negative example provided by the organization. Some time ago, Sony sued a hacker collective after they had made a presentation
at a security conference on how to mathematically calculate the keys used by the company to ensure that only certain software could be executed on PS3 consoles.
There are plenty of such instances and that’s why the EFF wants to raise awareness on the fact that hackers are not necessarily those who stay up at night trying to steal credit cards or cause losses to a company by learning its secrets.
Many hackers are a vital component in maintaining a balance and ensuring that the technology we rely on each day is secure and stable.