Cyber criminals are increasingly making virtual invasions to countless offices and homes across the globe by breaking into wireless devices, personal computers, and laptops using bits and hacks of malicious software codes. In the process of cyber invasion, huge amounts of money are lost annually (Boyce, 2007). Cyber criminals who take part in computer intrusions are divided into computer geeks and criminals who steal personal identity information and trade it on underground markets to corporate organizations embarking on espionage to gain market share (Engebretson, 2010). Despite the significant steps undertaken by the law enforcement to combat computer intrusion via hacking, little has been done with regard to the availability of information in the Internet on how malicious hacking can be perpetuated; examples include www.happyhacker.org and www.2600.com. This paper explores the hacking websites and assesses their usability to criminals.
It is undeniable that these hacking websites are extremely useful to criminals because they provide detailed information to cyber criminals on how they can launch computer intrusion codes. According to Engebretson (2010), by means of these websites cyber criminals learn how to launch attacks on computer systems across the globe. Besides providing information, these websites also provide hacking tools that criminals can download to launch intrusion attacks. For instance, the Happy Hacker’s website contains information how to break into a bank’s system without breaking the law. The most interesting observation about these websites is that they do not only provide information on hacking guidelines, but also measures that computer users can defend their computers from intrusion attacks. In addition, there are guides on how to practice harmless hacking (The Happy Hacker, 2013). In this regard, it is extremely difficult to ascertain the main objective of hacking websites. It is ambiguous whether they seek to help cyber criminals or seek to provide information to computer users on how to avoid becoming victims of computer intrusion attacks. For instance, the tag line for the Happy Hacker website is “home of the guides to (mostly) harmless hacking, Brought to you by… The Website computer criminals don’t want you to read!” On the contrary, the same website provides information on how to break into a banking system (The Happy Hacker, 2013). Fundamentally, it is relatively hard to draw the line whether these hacking websites serve to protect users or seek to provide information to cyber criminals on how to launch computer intrusion attacks.
Hacking tools are computer programs designed with the main objective of aiding the hacking process. Hacking tools are readily available in the Internet for free. Besides providing hacking and cracking tools for download, these websites also provide valuable information to cyber criminals. First, the information and tools are classified according to the various categories of hacking such as binders and crypters, key loggers, mail bombers, packet sniffers, virus creators, wireless hack tools, and website hack tools among others. These classifications make it relatively easy for a criminal to locate the information that he/she wants (Boyce, 2007). In addition, the tools come with a step by step guide on how to use them, which implies that there are some tools that may not require one to be a skilled computer user to utilize them. In addition, these websites have a discussion forum where hackers can share information on how to perform some attacks and provide information on new hacking methods. Essentially, these websites provide cyber criminals with information regarding skills, tools, and intrusion techniques that they can use to launch intrusion attacks. Apart from attack techniques, valuable information is also available on how to use social engineering to make computer users reveal their personal identity information (Boyce, 2007).