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1. According to David, a hacker can be …
1) anyone who owns a computer.
2) someone who tricks a person out of their password.
3) anyone who works for a computer company.
2. Why does David technically consider himself a hacker?
1) He has broken into computers before.
2) He admires the hacking culture.
3) He is able to build and program computers.
3. The simpler ways that data thieves operate …
1) are well-publicised by the media.
2) are not thought about very often.
3) affect thousands of normal people.
4. According to David, writing a computer virus …
1) is more difficult than just asking for a password.
2) is easier than trying to get someone to tell you a password.
3) is a guaranteed way of obtaining a password.
5. How do hackers convince an employee to reveal a password?
1) They offer them a financial incentive.
2) They imply that they might get fired if they don’t.
3) They offer to help the employee in some way.
6. What kind of people does David say are vulnerable to fake emails?
1) All kinds of people.
2) Usually just older people.
3) People who are naturally very trusting.
7. David believes that ‘hacktivists’ are …
1) no better than other criminals.
2) valuable members of society.
3) working on behalf of organisations.
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2 – 3
3 – 2
4 – 1
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6 – 1
7 – 1
Presenter: Hi everybody and welcome to the programme, Data Entry. With us today is computer expert David Simms. He’s here to talk to us about computer hacking. Welcome to the studio, David.
Speaker: Thank you.
Presenter: Can you give us a description of what a hacker is?
Speaker: Certainly. A hacker has a couple of definitions. One is someone who accesses a computer system without the permission of the computer’s owner. This is done either through a computer virus or through manual techniques such as simply asking for passwords from unsuspecting people. Another meaning of a hacker is just someone who knows their way round a computer; I mean how to program it and so on.
Presenter: Most of us think of hackers as you first described them.
Speaker: Yes, but technically, I’m a hacker, because I know how to write computer programs, and I know how to assemble computer hardware. But I would never refer to myself as a hacker because it mainly has a negative meaning.
Presenter: I see. Tell us about the way the bad hackers access data.
Speaker: There are many ways a hacker can do this. We imagine hackers as people who create complex computer programs that infect your computer. This is the most well-known way a hacker works, because these computer programs, or viruses, get a lot of media attention when they affect thousands of innocent users. But we don’t usually think about the other, simpler ways hackers go about data theft.
Presenter: Which are?
Speaker: Well, this is what I mentioned before about getting passwords by just asking people for them. Hackers can pose as security personnel. It’s much easier to obtain a password just by asking for it, rather than creating a sophisticated program that you hope the user downloads. A hacker can actually call a company, pretend they’re a security professional and trick an employee into giving a password.
Presenter: Really? People actually fall for that?
Speaker: Well, a hacker has to be really convincing. They can make the employee believe their job depends on it. The employee, in a frightened state, reveals information. Or, the hacker can try a different approach, one of asking for cooperation, in which the hacker needs the employees help in solving a problem. People are more likely to fall for that than if they re offered money.
Presenter: Interesting. What about outside of corporations? Don’t hackers contact random individuals this way?
Speaker: They do, but it usually takes place through spam email. The user receives an email that seems to be from a trusted source. People reply with all sorts of information – passwords, credit card data, ID numbers. Most people think only older people are vulnerable to this technique and they’d never fall for it. But because hackers can be so sophisticated in their approach, no one is really immune.
Presenter: What about these hackers who steal information for the greater good of the public? In other words, they reveal things that governments are doing behind our backs, that sort of thing.
Speaker: Oh, you mean a “hacktivist”, a hacker who is a like an activist, working for the good of society. Well I suppose it’s a matter of opinion, whether or not the’re doing something good. Really; they’re doing something illegal, because they’re accessing some organisation’s private data. That’s an invasion of privacy. I think there are other ways to solve the worlds problems than resorting to illegal methods, so I would never condone this behaviour…