Heckers Hell

To deal with hackers who break through office systems through the Internet it is important for information managers to understand their enemy well. If they have sound background knowledge about hackers, they might be prepared to deal with them in a much more effective method. Hackers are very educated often mostly university or high school students who try to break through systems for which they have no authorization. They deal poorly with people, have few friends and less relationships, but at the same time are very smart. Therefore they revert to computers because they know computers will not reject them. With bulletin board communication they can form social relationships but those are behind the screen, where hackers feel shielded. (Pfleeger, pp.12-13)
Hackers justify the crime of cracking through systems by stating that nobody gets hurt in this situation. Hacking can be done without having a conflict with any human. Hackers also usually work in groups, and when they do so they become more dangerous to office systems. By sharing information they manage to put together a solution that would allow them to break in a office system. The news media has labeled hackers as mere children who play pranks. (Pfleeger, p.13) Even Amy Wohl who is a noted information systems consultant states that “the hacker risk is the smallest of the computer crime risks.” (Ray, p. 440)
Amy Wohl’s statement is incorrect because due to the hacking of automated office systems millions of dollars in damages have occurred. According to the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) the increase attacks by hackers through the Internet has jumped to 323% since 1992. Total losses to the U.S. industry are approximately $2 billion per month. Thus it is very essential for information managers to know about the different problems hackers can create for automated office systems through the Internet. (Anthes “Hack Attack.”, p.81)
One of the main problems that hackers can cause is that they can break into office electronic mail (e-mail) messages. This can be especially dangerous for those office systems who use electronic mail as their main source of communication.. Electronic mail on the Internet is as confidential as a postcard. After the sender transmits the message, it travels from one network to another until it reaches its recipient. Therefore, hackers can easily break into electronic mail while it is traveling towards its destination. Further, when it reaches the recipient there will not be any evidence of tempering with the e-mail. (Rothfeder , p. 224-225) Another tool that hackers use is called a sniffer. A software which can be easily planted in an organizations system, works like a concellead recorder and captures e-mail messages as they are exchanged. (Behar, p.35) Hackers value e-mail because it contains valuable information. They can find anything from secret strategic plans to log-in passwords required to get into the office system. Once they have this vital information, hackers can have access and cause major damage to the office system. (Rothfeder, p. 225) One of the victims of e-mail hacking was Wind River Systems. A software company, Wind River Systems has a communication system where they exchange e-mail with customers on the Internet. By trying a few passwords on the office system, hackers were able to access the system of Wind River Systems in California and France. When a expensive bill for accessing the Internet came to Wind River Systems, they found that hackers had gotten in their communication system. Wind River Systems discovered that due to the intrusions hackers obtained programming codes which could have the potential to hurt future performance of the company. (Behar, p.33)
Penetrating electronic mail is just one way hackers intrude and destroy office systems. Banks who have established office system that provide online banking services to clients also face problems. One of the first Internet banks, Security First Network had to stop hackers from electronically breaking into account files in the first few months of its operations. In addition, Citibank’s office system was also hacked when a Russian hacker electronically transferred $11 million from New York to Finland, Israel, and California. These incidents leaves many banks in doubt whether they should have systems that are capable of providing customer service on the Internet. Instead, banks such as Chase Manhattan are collaborating with companies like Checkfree, Intuit,