SON A COMPUTER HACKER?
By T Reginald Gibbons
Posted on Sun Dec 2nd, 2001 at 11:00:21 AM Pst
Taken from: http://adequacy.org/?op=displaystory;sid=2001/12/2/42056/2147
As an enlightened, modern
parent, I try to be as involved as possible in the
lives of my six children. I encourage them to join
team sports. I attend their teen parties with them
to ensure no drinking or alcohol is on the premises.
I keep a fatherly eye on the CDs they listen to and
the shows they watch, the company they keep and the
books they read. You could say I'm a model parent.
My children have never failed to make me proud, and
I can say without the slightest embellishment that
I have the finest family in the USA.
Two years ago, my wife Carol and
I decided that our children's education would not
be complete without some grounding in modern computers.
To this end, we bought our children a brand new Compaq
to learn with. The kids had a lot of fun using the
handful of application programs we'd bought, such
as Adobe's Photoshop and Microsoft's Word, and my
wife and I were pleased that our gift was received
so well. Our son Peter was most entranced by the device,
and became quite a pro at surfing the net. When Peter
began to spend whole days on the machine, I became
concerned, but Carol advised me to calm down, and
that it was only a passing phase. I was content to
bow to her experience as a mother, until our youngest
daughter, Cindy, charged into the living room one
night to blurt out: "Peter is a computer Hacker!"
As you can imagine, I was amazed.
A computer hacker in my own house! I began to monitor
my son's habits, to make certain that Cindy wasn't
just telling stories, as she is prone to doing at
After a few days of investigation,
and some research into computer hacking, I confronted
Peter with the evidence. I'm afraid to say, this was
the only time I have ever been truly disappointed
in one of my children. We raised them to be honest
and to have integrity, and Peter betrayed the principles
we tried to encourage in him, when he refused point
blank to admit to his activities. His denials continued
for hours, and in the end, I was left with no choice
but to ban him from using the computer until he is
old enough to be responsible for his actions.
After going through this ordeal with
my own family, I was left pondering how I could best
help others in similar situations. I'd gained a lot
of knowledge over those few days regarding hackers.
It's only right that I provide that information to
other parents, in the hope that they will be able
to tell if their children are being drawn into the
world of hacking. Perhaps other parents will be able
to steer their sons back onto the straight and narrow
before extreme measures need to be employed.
To this end, I have decided to publish
the top ten signs that your son is a hacker. I advise
any parents to read this list carefully and if their
son matches the profile, they should take action.
A smart parent will first try to reason with their
son, before resorting to groundings, or even spanking.
I pride myself that I have never had to spank a child,
and I hope this guide will help other parents to put
a halt to their son's misbehaviour before a spanking
1. Has your son
asked you to change ISPs?
Most American families use trusted
and responsible Internet Service Providers, such as
AOL. These providers have a strict "No Hacking"
policy, and take careful measures to ensure that your
internet experience is enjoyable, educational and
above all legal. If your child is becoming a hacker,
one of his first steps will be to request a change
to a more hacker friendly provider.
I would advise all parents to refuse
this request. One of the reasons your son is interested
in switching providers is to get away from AOL's child
safety filter. This filter is vital to any parent
who wants his son to enjoy the internet without the
endangering him through exposure to "adult"
content. It is best to stick with the protection AOL
provides, rather than using a home-based solution.
If your son is becoming a hacker, he will be able
to circumvent any home-based measures with surprising
ease, using information gleaned from various hacker
2. Are you finding
programs on your computer that you don't remember
Your son will probably try to install
some hacker software. He may attempt to conceal the
presence of the software in some way, but you can
usually find any new programs by reading through the
programs listed under "Install/Remove Programs"
in your control panel. Popular hacker software includes
"Comet Cursor", "Bonzi Buddy"
The best option is to confront your
son with the evidence, and force him to remove the
offending programs. He will probably try to install
the software again, but you will be able to tell that
this is happening, if your machine offers to "download"
one of the hacker applications. If this happens, it
is time to give your son a stern talking to, and possibly
consider punishing him with a grounding.
3. Has your child
asked for new hardware?
Computer hackers are often limited
by conventional computer hardware. They may request
"faster" video cards, and larger hard drives,
or even more memory. If your son starts requesting
these devices, it is possible that he has a legitimate
You can best ensure that you are buying legal, trustworthy
hardware by only buying replacement parts from your
If your son has requested a new "processor"
from a company called "AMD", this is genuine
cause for alarm. AMD is a third-world based company
who make inferior, "knock-off" copies of
American processor chips. They use child labor extensively
in their third world sweatshops, and they deliberately
disable the security features that American processor
makers, such as Intel, use to prevent hacking. AMD
chips are never sold in stores, and you will most
likely be told that you have to order them from internet
sites. Do not buy this chip! This is one request that
you must refuse your son, if you are to have any hope
of raising him well.
4. Does your child
read hacking manuals?
If you pay close attention to your
son's reading habits, as I do, you will be able to
determine a great deal about his opinions and hobbies.
Children are at their most impressionable in the teenage
years. Any father who has had a seventeen year old
daughter attempt to sneak out on a date wearing make
up and perfume is well aware of the effect that improper
influences can have on inexperienced minds.
There are, unfortunately, many hacking manuals available
in bookshops today. A few titles to be on the lookout
for are: "Snow Crash" and "Cryptonomicon"
by Neal Stephenson; "Neuromancer" by William
Gibson; "Programming with Perl" by
Timothy O'Reilly; "Geeks" by Jon Katz; "The
Hacker Crackdown" by Bruce Sterling; "Microserfs"
by Douglas Coupland; "Hackers" by Steven
Levy; and "The Cathedral and the Bazaar"
by Eric S. Raymond.
If you find any of these hacking
manuals in your child's possession, confiscate them
immediately. You should also petition local booksellers
to remove these titles from their shelves. You may
meet with some resistance at first, but even booksellers
have to bow to community pressure.
5. How much time
does your child spend using the computer each day?
If your son spends more than thirty
minutes each day on the computer, he may be using
it to DOS other people's sites. DOSing involves gaining
access to the "command prompt" on other
people's machines, and using it to tie up vital internet
services. This can take up to eight hours. If your
son is doing this, he is breaking the law, and you
should stop him immediately. The safest policy is
to limit your children's access to the computer to
a maximum of fourty-five minutes each day.
6. Does your son
Quake is an online virtual reality
used by hackers. It is a popular meeting place and
training ground, where they discuss hacking and train
in the use of various firearms. Many hackers develop
anti-social tendencies due to the use of this virtual
world, and it may cause erratic behaviour at home
and at school.
If your son is using Quake, you should
make him understand that this is not acceptable to
you. You should ensure all the firearms in your house
are carefully locked away, and have trigger locks
installed. You should also bring your concerns to
the attention of his school.
7. Is your son
becoming argumentative and surly in his social behaviour?
As a child enters the electronic
world of hacking, he may become disaffected with the
real world. He may lose the ability to control his
actions, or judge the rightness or wrongness of a
course of behaviour. This will manifest itself soonest
in the way he treats others. Those whom he disagrees
with will be met with scorn, bitterness, and even
foul language. He may utter threats of violence of
a real or electronic nature.
Even when confronted, your son will
probably find it difficult to talk about this problem
to you. He will probably claim that there is no problem,
and that you are imagining things. He may tell you
that it is you who has the problem, and you should
"back off" and "stop smothering him."
Do not allow yourself to be deceived. You are the
only chance your son has, even if he doesn't understand
the situation he is in. Keep trying to get through
to him, no matter how much he retreats into himself.
8. Is your son
obsessed with "Lunix"?
BSD, Lunix, Debian and Mandrake are
all versions of an illegal hacker operation system,
invented by a Soviet computer hacker named Linyos
Torovoltos, before the Russians lost the Cold War.
It is based on a program called "xenix",
which was written by Microsoft for the US government.
These programs are used by hackers to break into other
people's computer systems to steal credit card numbers.
They may also be used to break into people's stereos
to steal their music, using the "mp3" program.
Torovoltos is a notorious hacker, responsible for
writing many hacker programs, such as "telnet",
which is used by hackers to connect to machines on
the internet without using a telephone.
Your son may try to install "lunix"
on your hard drive. If he is careful, you may not
notice its presence, however, lunix is a capricious
beast, and if handled incorrectly, your son may damage
your computer, and even break it completely by deleting
Windows, at which point you will have to have your
computer repaired by a Professional.
If you see the word "LILO"
during your windows startup (just after you turn the
machine on), your son has installed lunix. In order
to get rid of it, you will have to send your computer
back to the manufacturer, and have them fit a new
Lunix is extremely dangerous software, and cannot
be removed without destroying part of your hard disk
9. Has your son
radically changed his appearance?
If your son has undergone a sudden
change in his style of dress, you may have a hacker
on your hands. Hackers tend to address in bright,
day-glo colors. They may wear baggy pants, bright
colored shirts and spiky hair dyed in bright colors
to match their clothes. They may take to carrying
"glow-sticks" and some wear pacifiers around
their necks. (I have no idea why they do this) There
are many such hackers in schools today, and your son
may have started to associate with them. If you notice
that your son's group of friends includes people dressed
like this, it is time to think about a severe curfew,
to protect him from dangerous influences.
10. Is your son
If your son is failing courses in
school, or performing poorly on sports teams, he may
be involved in a hacking group, such as the infamous
"Otaku" hacker association. Excessive time
spent on the computer, communicating with his fellow
hackers may cause temporary damage to the eyes and
brain, from the electromagnetic radiation. This will
cause his marks to slip dramatically, particularly
in difficult subjects such as Math, and Chemistry.
In extreme cases, over-exposure to computer radiation
can cause schizophrenia, meningitis and other psychological
diseases. Also, the reduction in exercise may cause
him to lose muscle mass, and even to start gaining
weight. For the sake of your child's mental and physical
health, you must put a stop to his hacking, and limit
his computer time drastically.
I encourage all parents to
read through this guide carefully. Your child's future
may depend upon it. Hacking is an illegal and dangerous
activity, that may land your child in prison, and
tear your family apart. It cannot be taken too seriously.