Computer security companies always paint a negative picture of hackers to help promote software or more importantly sell it! At the same time they wouldn’t exist without hackers and on top of that many hackers work alongside them to help improve software security.
The Root convention held in Cebu over the weekend is trying to change the negative perception. Dax Labrador said “not all hackers are bad guys.” For that reason Labrador and his group hope to encourage local hackers to use their knowledge for good. Holding regular national conferences such as RootCon can act as venues for them to get together and learn from each other in a positive way.
Last Saturday’s conference was the first in the Philippines, but Labrador said they hope to hold more annual conferences, like in other countries.
Jason Valiente, a member of the core group, explained that hacking is using a thing beyond what it is meant for.
“Hacking itself is exhausting limits, given the equipment that you have,” he said. He cited as an example a fork, which most people see as a utensil to eat. Hackers, he said, see endless possibilities for the uses of forks, like electricity conductors and other things.
Also looking to distance themselves from the bad guys they have started to name those that steal or exploit information and data as “Crackers” and not hackers. Hackers tell you how to improve things.
(Although don’t think this name changing will improve things as Cracking is normally related to recoding software and removing its protection where hacking is seen as the initial entering of a computer system).
Valiente added that hackers secure websites and help vendors improve their products. Which has seen improvements made to gadgets and software.
“Hackers are talented people. They find ways to improve on things. Not all hackers are bad guys,” Labrador said.
I am always a bit sceptical about these types of things simply because I used to be involved in them and have been a member of some of the most famous groups out there even before we seen the internet. The reason being sharing knowledge means sharing skills, information,data and technology. Back in the day this involved a lot more than simply hacking and software manipulation. It was mainstream piracy, recoding consoles for pirate games, adapting electronics to de-protect software such as the Dongles. Mixing a lot of semi skilled people together makes a very powerful group of people that can generate long-term friendships but also can increase crime depending on the members. I know I was part of the so called scene for over 10 years.