Friday, January 1, 2010

Where Have All The Hackers Gone?

Hackers (those annoying ones that develop viruses or create denial-of-service attacks) are a necessary evil. They are the avant-garde of the computing world. Just as we need freaky designers creating outfits that no one would really wear in the real world (Lady Gaga excepted), we need mischevious programmers to show us where the security flaws are.

But why can't they do it with a little more noble intent? For whatever their motivations, they could still be doing something beneficial to society at large. In the US, at least, or the US and its allies, I suggest that they should be furthering the cause of their country and freedom-loving peoples everywhere.

This is an open invitation to all hackers to point their skills at Iran, North Korea, Yemen, whomever. Why aren't they? Or are they and they doing it and we just don't know?

We hear that the Chinese have hacked our computers, or that the Iranian government, posing as hackers, hack Twitter or Facebook in Iran and act as if they are US hackers. Why don't our hackers - arguably the brightest in the world - sharpen their coding talons and scrape up a little dust with some foreign governments? Why don't they take down the Taliban's website? That they even have one is a surprise to me.

You can't tell me this isn't possible. You can't tell me we lack the talent in this country. Tap into the energy of the disaffected youth, the alienated whoevers, or just the deviant and bored but brilliant.

If Rosie the Riveter, metal collection drives, and rationing were the way the public supported the cause in WWII, this is how hackers can gain some clout and have a little fun at once in the current day. If being patriotic isn't enough of an incentive, then do it for the same glory and reason you attack domestic sites. Let the rest of us enjoy the side benefit.