Hackers In Pop Culture

Superior Essays
Pop culture and mainstream media influences must be explored in order for people to fully understand how society’s perception of hackers has changed over the last 50 years. Before the 1980s, hacking was nothing more than computer enthusiasts modifying computers and phone phreaks exploiting phone networks to make free calls. Many people did not know what a hacker was until the 1980s when hacker groups began to form and engage in illegal activities. Personal computers were becoming more popular in the 1980s and many people were just learning how to use them. Some hackers took advantage of this and would access systems illegally for personal gain. At this point, many people began to realize what hackers were and what they were capable of. In …show more content…
Many people fear what they do not understand and hacking is a skill that many people do not possess nor understand. According to a Gallup survey, 69% of Americans worry about hackers stealing their credit card information from stores and 62% of Americans worry that their personal information will be hacked from their phone or computer (Stuart). This survey states that over half of Americans worry about hackers stealing something from them, which means that majority of society is fearful of hackers and their capabilities. Black hat hackers could be to blame for stolen credit card numbers or personal information in some cases, but the human element is more dangerous to a person’s secure information. For instance, anyone can acquire personal or financial information from documents that have been thrown away and not properly shredded. Cash register attendants could easily steal credit card information when they are ringing up a sale. In today’s society, people can gather a lot of information about a person on the Internet, but hackers should not always be blamed for identity theft or stolen personal information. Society feels that hackers are a bigger risk to their privacy than their personal security. A Pew study found that 86% of Internet and smartphone users have removed or masked their digital footprints for privacy and that Americans are more concerned with hackers violating their privacy than the government (Dredge). This study is astounding, especially considering that the government has been accused of spying on Americans. Hackers have the skillset and capabilities to invade a person’s privacy, but why would they and what would their motivation be? Black hat hackers are only motivated by financial incentives and they usually target big organizations that have valuable data. Society has every right to fear hackers, but for every

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