The wide variety of people who identify
as hackers makes it is difficult or even dangerous to assume that all hackers fit some specific profile. However, there are demographics of hackers which
specific consideration, due to the difficulties which they bring to the process of identification, capture, and
The usual hacker starts when he is a minor and is no longer dedicated to hacking by the time he is thirty. Many hackers are minors and are not held to the same level of responsibility as adults. The criminal
system in the U.S. and other
makes a clear distinction between adults and minors. There are separate courts, separate detention centers, and separate views of how the laws should be applied and the punishment implemented.
for juveniles, even if convicted, is often little more than a slap on the wrist.
A 15-year-old hacker chose to launch an attack on the Television Corporation of Singapore's (TCS) Internet site after seeing an advertisement for it on television. He
all the pages on the news channel's site with a variety of obscene and
messages for about 10 hours for no discernible reason.
The judge passing
that the boy be home before 6 pm every night for a year, and demanded that he write a formal apology, to be posted on the news channel's web site.
Knight, Will, "Hacker Grounded for World's Easiest Crack,"
ZDNet UK (
, 30 September 1999.
Computer crime, like other white-
crime, is not violent. It
does not cause bodily
. It is often difficult to explain the crime to a jury. The theft of information does not deny the victim the information; it is a copy which is stolen. Some people have sympathy for hackers who have been caught.
Many people are enamored of hackers. Much like Robin Hood, who committed crimes against the rich and became a hero of the poor, the victims of computer crimes are generally big businesses. Some people believe that it is acceptable to steal information from companies if their systems are not secure enough to keep them out. This makes it difficult to
a sympathetic jury. In computer crime cases, the defense will capitalize on the David and Goliath syndrome. They will paint the hacker as the little guy and the company as evil. This is true throughout the world.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised a teenage hacker, known as the "Analyzer," who intruded upon hundreds of government computers in the U.S. and Israel. After the incident, the hacker was drafted into the Israeli army to serve in an information
division, an assignment which will utilize his computer talents.
Before his induction, he celebrated with
at a disco near his hometown of Hod Hasharon, north of Tel Aviv, where the disc jockey told the
"The Analyzer" had done their town proud.
"Israeli Teen Hacker Details Prowess,"
, April 1998, Reprinted with permission of The Associated Press.
The global environment of the Internet makes it possible to access systems anywhere in the world. This also allows hackers to attack systems from
in the world. There are no political boundaries on the Internet. There are no border checkpoints or
Tracking attacks across a world-wide network is a difficult task,
when the hacker is trying to obscure his tracks. This problem is compounded when there is a need for search
or other participation from investigative organizations. Inconsistencies in international laws make what is legal in one place illegal in another. This makes it difficult to get support for investigating someone for committing an offense which is legal in the location where he is. However, sometimes agencies in different countries do work together.
A computer hacker using the
"Curador" allegedly compromised multiple E-commerce
in the U.S., Canada, Thailand, Japan and the United Kingdom, and apparently
as many as 28,000 credit card numbers with losses estimated to be at least $3.5 million. Thousands of credit card
and expiration dates were posted to various Internet websites. After an
investigation, the American FBI assisted the Welsh Dyfed Powys Police Service in a search at the residence of "Curador," an 18-year-old whose real name is Raphael Gray. Gray was arrested in Wales along with a co-conspirator under the UK's Computer Misuse Act of 1990.
This case was predicated on the investigative work by the FBI, the Dyfed Powys Police Service in the United Kingdom, Internet security
, the RCMP in Canada, and the international banking and credit card industry. This case illustrates the benefits of law enforcement and private industry around the world working together in partnership on computer crime investigations.
"Major Investigations: Curador,"
National Infrastructure Protection Center