Criminals or Vigilantes? The Dark Side of the Hacking Spree

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When the DNC servers were hacked earlier this year, I received plenty of harassment on the IVN Facebook page, as well as elsewhere, for my opinion that leaked documents like this are a social ill and criminal action.

Sure, hacking is sexy when it takes down a political figure or uncovers some black-ops government program, but when it takes down your credit card or bank account (which I’ve been on the receiving end of both) it becomes clear that hacking is an activity that shouldn’t be encouraged.

Now, the tables have fully turned on Republican nominee Donald Trump, with his leaked tax return with a near billion dollar loss being bounced around the internet and social media.

And I’m still against hacking, unlawfully obtaining information, or even the media’s use of such things.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the opposite viewpoint — and agree with many of the arguments to a degree. But I foresee a greater danger in rewarding any behavior like this because too much is at risk, on a personal and public level.

In 2014, a billion separate instances of hacking occurred, breaking all previous records. 2015 was even worse, with one-third of the total U.S. population having healthcare information hacked.

Where does it end?

The ability to hack computers isn’t a skill that is learned overnight, nor is the skill used exclusively for vigilante purposes or we’d see far more public figures and politicians being felled by their illegal or embarrassing behavior.

To consider the hackers who broke into the DNC servers, foreign or domestic, a sort of ‘electronic Robin Hood’ is an incredible stretch of the imagination.

Even worse, it’s almost mind-numbing how many people consider the material completely authentic, given that it was stolen by those with the computer savvy to change any or all of the information.

At some point, there needs to be a moratorium on the use of hacked and illegally obtained materials — coupled with increased penalties for hacking.

Sure, we might not get our interesting tidbits of news or the government might get away with something scandalous for a while longer, but we need to stop what has become a train wreck on the information superhighway.

Because our entire lives are on that same super highway. And while most of us won’t be the targets of a massive hacking job, even the inconvenience of identity theft can take years to clear up.

We need to see hacked and illegally obtained material for what it is — evidence of a crime.