For the third world countries, hackers are criminals regardless of how ethical they are. Hackers are not legally protected. They are treated as unwanted creatures who work against the country. For Morocco, hackers have been building a strong reputation around to globe as intelligent people who discovered bugs in famous platforms and attacked individuals or groups who are against the country. They build an unofficial cyber army for Morocco just to defend their country’s image and rights against the enemies. This raises the question of ethics and how ethical they are if they are attacking their enemies’ websites, but at the end they are doing something because of the love for their country (Dejoie, Fawler, & Paradice, 1991). However, they are still treated as enemies and criminals because of the lack of awareness about digital threats and lack of future projection of the digital strategy of the government.
For the developed countries, hackers are important elements in the digital strategies of companies and governments. For instance, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other companies and universities pay white hats if they find a security issue in one of their applications either mobile or web (Graham, 2011). They reward hackers by sending gifts and certificates to them in addition to paying them. They have a culture of encouragement which pushes the ethical hacker to perform further tests to secure the digital lives of billions of people. Furthermore, they publish their names on a page called the “Hall of Fame”. Each company has its own Hall of Fame which celebrates and encourages cyber security enthusiasts around the globe which makes them valuable in the job market. The idea of rewarding hackers is called Bounty Programs, nowadays, many platforms online such as HackerOne provides the link between companies and white hats in order to simplify the process of looking for a company that rewards ethical hackers.
After the wave of digitizing education, health, and even social interactions, wars have been digitized as well. The Public opinion started to talk about a new concept which is the cyber warfare. As we defined cyber security as a projection of physical security, cyber warfare is a projection of wars that the world had in a virtual environment. Countries start to hire hackers for their cyber armies. In the last two years, media talked about hacking the official website of the Pentagon, doctoring United States elections, and the attack against the Iranian nuclear centers (Holloway, 2015). However, at this point, we have to distinguish between two types of attacks the organized and the unorganized ones. For the events that were mentioned before, they were organized attacks by the cyber armies of China, Russia, and United States.
China has hired between 50,000 to 100,000 citizens for the national cyber army. They performed several attacks against the United States including the last hack of the Pentagon official website and White House official website. In addition, they performed a “Denial of Service” attack which stopped the internet for about twelve hours by attacking the most visited websites in the world such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Github, and Quora. It was one of the horrific nightmare that happened to internet in the twenty first century (Sher, 2016).
On the other hand, Russia has been unofficially building its own cyber army. The Russian president Vladimir Putin claimed that patriotic hackers may have targeted the United States elections, but they were not supported by the state. In addition, he said in an interview: “Hackers are free people, just like artists who wake up in the morning in a good mood and start painting” according to The Atlantic newspaper. If we dig into the deep dimensions of the Russian president speech, we can claim that, at least, Russia is aware of what cyber warfare is about. It is aware that hackers have become an important variable in major powers equation. The Russian president claimed publicly that Russians may have doctored the United States elections which cannot be done using conventional weapons because they used social engineering to manipulate public opinion, and a good evidence about that is what Wikileaks published about Hillary Clinton few days before the elections (Sher, 2016).
In addition to China and Russia, United States is another country which has started building its own cyber army. U.S. official Thomas Bossert said in a conference in Tel Aviv last month that the U.S. needs to switch from missiles to malware in a collaboration with Israel by exchanging the experiences in this domain (Sher, 2016). Israel is an advanced country in cyber security. They created an operating system called Kali Linux for penetration testing purposes. It is one of the most used operating systems in cyber security around the world. In addition, they have build several cyber security laboratories including the security lab of the famous company Intel in Haifa.
Dejoie, R., Fawler, G., & Paradice, D. (1991). Ethical Issues in Information Systems. Boston: Boyd & Fraser.
Graham, P. (2011). Hackers and Painters. O’Reilly.
Sher, J. B. (2016). Anonymous Armies: Modern “Cyber-Combatants” and eir Prospective Rights Under International Humanitarian Law. Pace International Law Review.
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