MIDWAY : A flaky pursuit

Biswas Baral:

Access denied!” Someday, if one should patter in his name and password in his personal e-mail account, but find the server recalcitrant, he should not be surprised. It’s happened to my friends and it may only be a matter of time before yours truly falls on the hacker’s hit list too.

Hacking seems to me one of those typical, modern day cravings: people’s love to jut their necks into the private affairs of others, be they best friends or nobodies. Far from a psychotic and malicious attempt at undermining the dignity and privacy of the ‘hacked,’ most hackers, I would like to believe, are in it for pure fun, the pleasure over the wizardry of a delinquent art. Hackers have made name for themselves worldwide. Big companies lose millions due to crackpots breaking into their secret codes. Agencies that operate furtively like the CIA are at the centre of the target. In 1996 hackers vandalised its homepage and re-christened it as ‘Central Stupidity Agency.’

The other day, my sister had only opened her MSN when the person on the other side revealed that he was no friend of hers, but a hacker. He challenged her, she says, that he would decode and change her password before another day had passed. Though by no means jilted, she was a little taken back. But, short of a threat of an Armageddon, nothing should surprise you in this world ridden by the harebrained, I reassured her.

Cracking passwords, it appears, is even easier than some of the trivial domestic chores these days. I remember getting an anonymous e-mail a couple of months ago. In it, I was asked to mail ‘them’ an e-mail address. I would get a reply, and with it the password of the address that I sent, within a month, the mail said.

Ironically, the more sophisticated information superhighways get, the more adept hackers become. Many software, indecipherable some years ago, can now be produced within the confines of a room with little technical expertise. Hence, the bobtails will forever find new ways to get one over the bobbins. Security measures will improve no doubt, but seldom have the determined kooks been stopped. I have never had to grapple over the thoughts of somebody getting into my private accounts. If someone has found a whiff of witticism in my otherwise mundane inbox, or has stumbled upon an interesting person on my MSN list, he deserves a bow.

Should any of my friends find this write-up offensive, I admit, I am no dab when it comes to either chatting or composing mails, myself.