According to the concept of Sterling (1993), “The Hacker Crackdown,” the word “hacking” is the act of stealthy and illegal intrusion into computer systems.- computer programmers can crack codes in the programming language because hackers can. They seek to exploit the weaknesses in a computer system or network so that confidential documents and files are accessible. Among others, the most targeted programs are online companies, websites for organisations, and government websites.
For example, in the case of Wisconsin department of revenue, hackers try to change some figures on revenue by finding access to information hence giving false information to public (Jerome, 1990). Hackers may also prohibit the public from logging into the database, which would make the revenue data unavailable. This research will concentrate on the inspiration, temperament, and behavior of the hacker.
Personality of a Potential Hacker
Potential hackers are individuals accused of planning to exploit for their own personal gain through a computer’s security system. They may include students, employees, activists, and criminals among others. Normally, the potential hackers have an intention to access the information from Wisconsin department of revenue for commercial purposes. From a psychological view, hackers may be bitter about the unemployment rates in the society or they may be people with an exploration mind. Hackers to access a device using vulnerability scanners, password cracking tools, packet sniffer software and spoofing add. Nevertheless, due to technology advancement, recently developed tools may classify these hackers. Such software can identify any unusual site activity that blocks it (Gayle, 1971).
Motivation of Hackers
Wish to Make Illegal Money by Stealing
Hackers are individuals who aim to earn additional money by conning and swindling online business people. By use of their ability to access secured systems, they are able to access important information for example credit cards data, bank details, identity and various other types of information. With such information, they create rogue accounts which they can use to purchase, borrow advance salary, withdraw cash etc. In case hacker accesses information from Wisconsin department of revenue, the government would loss taxes. The hacker would be able to change the income tax values of companies hence making such companies pay small revenue to the government (Jerome, 1986). This would lead to loss of taxes by the government. Such unscrupulous individuals also pay certain hackers and companies who have to evade tax payments. The money they earn therefore serves as incentive to hack.
Intention to Use Other People’s Ideas
The intellectual property rights guide intellectual property. Different countries ‘ legal systems were designed to protect against the use of the ideas of other people. The hackers, however, can reach certain ideas and present them as their own. The knowledge can contain inventions, new formulas, and substantial work. New ideas and plans of Wisconsin revenue department stay at risk if a hacker has access to their files. Through the intention to use the ideas of other people, hackers are motivated to struggle and circumvent a computer’s security system.
Intention to Reveal Industrial Secrets
Every business keeps records and files away from the public. Their records remain a deep secret that is only supposed to be accessed by authorized persons only. Such secrets include the marketing policies, the purchasing policies, and company’s plans. It may also contain illegal business practices that are used for the benefit of the organization. Competitors are shielded from obtaining these information as a way to safeguard the company’s market profit and future prosperity. Therefore, hackers are motivated to work hard and to ensure that such vital data are available to the public or to particular competitors (Gu, 2010). Moreover, a hacker who suspects illegal activities in the Wisconsin department of revenue may choose to hack the system to be able to expose the secrets of Wisconsin department of revenue. They do this in efforts to pursue justice to the public hence contribute to the fight against corruption in the society.
Fight for Democracy and Right to Access Information
Activists and non-governmental organizations involved in the fight for democracy may resort to hacking governments’ computer systems. The failure to provide credible information about the running of government agencies make activists feel oppressed by those in authority. Through hacking into government documents, the hackers are able to release documents about the government. The documents are used to form the basis of the fight for good governance and proper use of government resources. In Wisconsin revenue department, hacking would allow the public to know the amount of taxes collected and ensure that all the taxes can be accounted for (Aura, Jarvinen, & Nyberg, 2012). Therefore, the fight for democracy and rights to access information has motivated hackers to try to access information from other computer systems.
Need for Challenge and Fun
Some hackers enjoy circumventing the computers and network systems of other people. This is popular to students of computer science and to software engineers. From a psychological point of view, these hackers feel superior and develop a sense of pride when they can enter a safe location. The archives of the Wisconsin revenue department are at risk of being hacked by people with bad motives through their hacking hobbies. Hacking is addictive because a hacker would want new challenge in the case that he/she is able to circumvent every system he comes across hence challenge acts as a motivating factor to hacking.
Terrorist are people motivated by religious and political beliefs to create fear and murder among people. Through, hacking into security systems, they access information, which could be of importance in their activities. When these terrorists access information about a countries security details, they are able to plan how to strike hence causing a lot of damage. Hence the information from Wisconsin revenue department may be vital in their motives of creating fear among taxpaying citizens. The motivation to create fear through terrorism compels the terrorist hackers to access struggle and access information from the security agencies.
Data Security in Wisconsin Revenue Department
The government of the great state of Wisconsin has continued with the tradition of negligence about the citizen’s data security. Since 2006, four incidents of exposure of private data have been witnessed; three of which are from the department of revenue. For example, in 2006, 171000 tax booklets with social security numbers printed on the top were distributed to the public. Even though the department acted fast and intercepted about 54,500 booklets; that act still had to cost the tax payer 500,000 dollars in credit monitoring to avoid fraud. If these social security numbers were to get in to the hands of hackers, then the citizens of Wisconsin could have had to deal with loss of funds due to fraud. Such frauds due to hacking would cause innocent people to suffer because of the mistakes of those in authority.
In august 2012, the Wisconsin department of revenue accidentally released 110,795 Social Security numbers and tax ID numbers to the public. The information was embedded in a real estate report and was posted in the website for three months before being removed. These confidential personal details of Wisconsin residents may have fallen into bad hands because a report showed that 138 people downloaded these details. Among the 138 people, a hacker may have downloaded the document. A hacker’s access to these social security numbers and tax ID numbers is dangerous to the citizens of Wisconsin because he/she is able to create rogue accounts for fraud purposes.
In January 2008, the Wisconsin department of revenue did the earlier mistake and mailed 5000 tax forms with the social security number clearly visible through the envelope window. Even though they blamed the error to be on the folding machine, the exposure was not a justifiable reason to expose personal and confidential information to the public. The department should have held responsible the workers managing the folding machines and also ensured that there is inspection of the letters before they are mailed. Exposure of such information puts the residents of Wisconsin state at risk of falling prey to hackers.
Indeed the Wisconsin department of revenue has showed negligence on confidentiality of personal data of its citizens. The repeat of previous mistakes shows lack of commitment in putting long lasting solutions to the tradition of information leakage to unauthorized persons. Even though the department claims to be taking stringent measures when such a leakage occurs, they have not done much in credit monitoring. This is because hackers and fraudsters would have to wait for just a year before they start cashing in illegal money. Therefore, the department should learn from previous mistakes and act fast to ensure that every individual in the great state of Wisconsin feel safe about the security of his/ her personal details.
Threats Posed by Hackers to Wisconsin Department of Revenue
Loss of Taxes Due to Rogue Businesses
Due to the modern technology, many business activities take place in the internet. People are able to transact international trade through internet because internet is the most efficient considering the distance factor (Adyta, 2006). To transact such businesses, online forms of payments such as PayPal, MasterCard and visa are required. With the transfer of such confidential data, the internet has become vulnerable to hackers. Hackers are able to access such information hence forming rogue accounts. Access to the social security numbers and tax ID numbers gives hackers an easy time in creation of such rogue accounts for fraud purposes. Therefore, they are to access the credit cards, steal money from accounts, make purchases, order cash advance etc. These have limited the number of online transactions hence a hindrance to international trade. Hence, Wisconsin department of revenue is unable to raise the required amount of taxes from the public due to such rogue businesses.
Loss of Public Confidence
Wisconsin department would have a bad public image if a hacker accesses its files. Hackers reveal the personal information of the taxpayers; a move which would result into public outcry about the security system of the department. Loss of confidence in Wisconsin revenue department would therefore lead to lack of co-operation in paying taxes hence the government would loss a lot of money. In addition, public confidence is necessary for the success and prosperity of the state of Wisconsin. Hence, for the people of Wisconsin to achieve their American dream, they need to be confident that those in authority are doing their best in ensuring that every individual’s funds in banks are safe.
Threat to Local and International Security
The exposure of documents from governments is a threat to both local and international security. These documents are government secrets used to safeguard security issues in a country and maintain a cordial international relationship. Due to hacking, criminals and crime gangs can use this vital security information to carry out criminal activities. This is because they know the moves that the police would make hence they are always a step ahead. In addition, exposure of hacked diplomatic documents can cause instability in the world community. The diplomatic secrets have to be guided for the sake of maintaining friendship between countries. In the case of Wisconsin department of revenue, the criminals can be able to access the salary information of the citizens, which make them resort to armed robbery. In addition, civil rights organization demonstrations against hackers ‘ disclosure of private information can lead to street fights between the police and the protestors, thus vulnerability.
How Wisconsin Department of Revenue Can Discourage Hackers
Use of a 2-Way Firewall
Firewall plays a crucial role in securing computer and network security (Hippe, 2012). A shared network system, like that of the Wisconsin department of revenue, is always vulnerable to attacks due to the large number of users; however, a two-way firewall is capable of blocking hacker access to network system.
Updating an Operating System Regularly
In the modern world, the more sophisticated hackers develop new methods of hacking into systems. Due to such developments, the software developers task themselves to develop a more hack proof system. These developments have led to innovations about the computer and network security system. Hence, there is need for Wisconsin department of revenue to constantly update their computer system. Failure to update leaves the computer system vulnerable to hackers.
Avoid Questionable Websites
By use of viruses and worms, hackers can be able to access a security system. Such viruses and worms are normally posted in questionable websites, which offer free software downloads. Downloading this newly developed software allows the hackers to enter into the security system and cause damage (Samarati, Tunstall & Posegga, 2010). Therefore, avoiding such websites discourage the hackers from accessing your security system. Wisconsin department of revenue can block the users from accessing such questionable websites as a way of protecting their computer system from hackers.
Not Opening Suspicious Emails
Computer generated emails may contain a software that allows the hacker to access the operating system of the computer. Such emails should be totally deleted from the inbox and spam folder as a way of preventing your system from hacker attacks. Wisconsin department of revenue should therefore ensure that the emails are scanned before being opened.
Not Installing Software Which is Vulnerable
Some software is vulnerable to viruses and worms, which may be used by hackers to access a security system. To prevent such a hacking activity, the PC owners should be careful with the authentication of the software that is to be installed. They should ensure that only original and legitimate software is installed into their systems. The Wisconsin department of revenue should always install genuine software to discourage the hackers from accessing the computers security system (Pejas & Piegat, 2005).
Methods of Defense Against Hackers
Anomaly Based Intrusion Detection System
These system works to detect any network activity that is not normal. For example, if the user protection system detects access to a large number of records at the same time, the cause is likely to be an attack. Moreover, if a user with permission to access a restricted set of records begins to attempt to access other types of information, the users’ workstation is likely to be infected. This system is configured to recognize expected patterns of activity from a given user. Any anomaly is detected and prevented at an early stage. With technological development in the world, previous versions of the anomaly based intrusion detection system have been found to be inefficient, making updating a requirement. The updating of this software allows for a more competent security system hence prevention of attacks. Installing this software would ensure security of the documents in Wisconsin department of revenue.
Configured IPS to Defend System Against Complex Attacks
This is mostly used in the signature-based systems. For signature-based systems, the signature may be spread across a series of commands with no packet matching an attack profile. Anomaly based systems may fail to detect a legitimate but may cause application host to cause breach through redirecting. Therefore, the configured IPS system is used to defend against complex attacks. This software would be important for Wisconsin department of revenue bearing in mind the nature of hackers who may try to circumvent its security system.
In conclusion, hackers are able to access computer systems consequently exposing confidential information to the public. They are mostly motivated by profit gains, wish to steal other people’s ideas, fight for democracy and freedom to receive information, terrorist activities while others for fun and crave for more challenges. The activities of hackers have led to decline in international trade, bad diplomatic relations between countries and increase in crimes within a country. To prevent and the discourage hackers, a person should: use of a 2 way firewall, updating an operating system regularly, Avoid questionable websites, Safe email protocol, Not opening suspicious emails etc. In addition, Anomaly based intrusion detection system and Configured IPS to defend system against complex attacks from hackers. Due to the demerits of hacking, software that is more complex should be developed to prevent the hackers from accessing secured systems. The security of computers systems of Wisconsin department of revenue is vital for the tax records hence its credibility depends on a more secure site. The revenue department should us the above methods to avoid being victims of the ruthless hackers.
It is crucial for administrations should also be recognized that although with an improved effort to focus on cyber security, various vulnerabilities might till omission through into released products. Therefore, administrations should strongly perform contingency measures. Thus, it is indispensable to make the users or customers more accessible to updates software could be required and that, in the greatest cases, they are at present available. This reach has required proposing that, government faces a number of new instantaneous and future cyber security threats that must be recognized in due to protective action to be taken.
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