Posted by: sgb on May 14, 2010
In my tower, a bare room with a PC and a router, maybe a few other electronic gadgets, setting right the wrongs of the world. maybe taking 1% off the top for me.
These thoughts came to mind while reading through that very excellent crime trilogy by Stieg Larsson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with fire, The Girl who kicked the Hornet's nest). The hero -or rather the protagonist - is the investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist. The anti-hero, (still one of the good guys, you understand) is the socially inept, morose, abused, young woman Lisbeth Salander. Now Lisbeth has one remarkable talent - she is a hacker supreme. She does not do it generally hack for her own gain - she does it to get back at people who have harmed her, or her friends. Then she is a woman possessed and will stop at nothing to win.
In the third book she has a discussion (through secure chat rooms of course) with friends of hers who form a highly elite hacking community. Again not for personal gain. Once they have broken the security and read what is available they lose interest UNLESS someone has suffered harm. They mention a colleague who had his invention stolen by a Silicon Valley Startup firm - the owner was subsequently destroyed (in a nice way of course) by having his secrets (a mistress and illegal financial practices) plastered all over the net. When Lisbeth was in trouble with the Swedish government they discussed how they could take down the government through spurious e-mails, hacking security computers, etc.
The idea being of coure, that they were honest, incorruptable (and poor). Not like that film on hacking that I so enjoyed, Swordfish (with John Travolta and Halle Berry - Oh but she is stunningly beautiful, someone to sell your soul for). Here, with the aid of a corrupt USA Senator they hacked a bank's computer made off wth the money and started their own anti-terrorist organisation. BUT living the high-life as they did so, in Monaco, on a boat. A beautiful life if you can get it.
So the dreams of power. Would I be incorruptable in such circumstances? I dream of solving the world's problems, exposing the corrupt, the fraudulent the liars, the tyrants. And of course, taking away their money. If I keep 1% for my efforts and give away the rest to charities around the world, yes I would be incorruptable. I would also live on my own island, and probably spend quite a bit on security, but .... 1% will be a lot of money. As a starter just think of the money involved in the SA arm's scandal, BP's profit (which would go to cleaning up the environment), profit of the Big Banks that sold dud securities, etc. I would be prosucutor, judge and jury.
So where is that book 'Hacking for Dummies'?