Governments Stand Against Hacking

Not all countries are so crazy about chasing down hackers who slip in and out of computer systems undetected stealing information. But the United States government and other developed countries treat hacking as a threat to national security since hackers can access secret information and intelligence data or bring down an entire government system of network. Many government systems do not care whether hackers penetrate computers out of curiosity, to test their skills or with malicious intent. All are categorized as hackers.

Laws reflect this position of the government. The U.S., 18 U.S.C. § 1029 Fraud And Related Activity In Connection With Access Devices states that whoever "knowingly and with intent to defraud produces, uses, or traffics in one or more counterfeit access devices" or any other matter in relation to counterfeit devices has a penalty ranging from hefty fines to imprisonment or probation.

Another important law, the 18 U.S.C. § 1030 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act intends to reduce computer hacking and address computer-related offenses. It clearly forbids the unauthorized use of Federal computers.

Other countries have similar laws such as in Germany that forbids possession of "hacking tools." This sounds too vague and critics say that many legitimate applications may fall under "hacking tools." Some argue that companies may violate this law if they hire hackers to find cracks in their system.

Meanwhile, the problem with hacking is that one can commit it against a country while sitting in front of his computer in another country. This was similar to the case of Gary McKinnon when he hacked into the U.S. government system, including NASA while he was in the United Kingdom.