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thackedEvery day we see news reports of hackers reaping millions off of credit information obtained by hacking commercial websites. Today there will be more congressional hearings where the management of the commercial sites that were hacked will discuss what steps they are going to take to prevent such massive hacks in the future. One thing that is not being discussed is how to deal with the hackers directly.

congress

The best way to deal with hackers is the make the cost of their crimes be not worth the price of hacking into places where they do not belong. There are a number of steps that can be taken by BOTH the government and private sectors to put the pressure on hackers.

JAIL

The first step that can be taken is that all levels of government from the states to the federal government is to start ENFORCING CURRENT LAW. Anyone who has been a victim of those who violate the various laws regarding cybercrimes can attest to how difficult it is to get their local law enforcement to go after hackers who have targeted them. Most law enforcement agencies do not have a clue what hacking is and they certainly do not have a clue or the training to understand what it is against the law.

Law enforcement also considers the hacking of an individual a minor crime. Size does matter as the recent hacks of Target and other major websites has demonstrated. What law enforcement does NOT understand is that the hackers that went after Target did so after training themselves by going after the small fry, namely US.

A hacker is almost the same as someone who gets addicted to drugs. They start out by hacking individuals e mails and various social media sites. As they gain knowledge and experience, the begin to get greedy and look for ways to make money off of their hacking. The key then is to nip their criminal activity in the bud.

ALL hacking from the most minor to the worst needs to be punished. Getting scared straight might deter some beginner hackers from moving into the more serious and damaging areas of hacking.

THIEF

The legislatures of all levels of government need to start beefing up the laws regarding hacking and other acts of cyber crimes. The punishment level for hacking needs to be severe enough to deter people from getting involved with criminal hacking to begin with. A lengthy jail sentence might help curb this problem. The laws should also have restrictions on how hackers can access the internet and that access should be prohibited in the most severe cases.

The next step would be a combined government and private sector solution to the hacker problem. There should be a national and perhaps international hacker registry modeled after the sexual predator registries. The database would be exactly the same.  Anyone convicted of a cyber  crime would have to follow the same rules by having to notify law enforcement of where they live and provide their real names as well as their online access information. This might also prevent employers from hiring someone who could do a great deal of harm to their computers.

The next step is for the private sector to lobby the various legislatures to enact, enforce and beef up the laws regarding all levels of cyber crimes. The private business sector has a lot of clout with the various governments and could bring pressure to bear on the government that we as individuals cannot.

The private sector also needs to do their part in the civil arena. They need to start suing the hackers. A lot of companies do not seem to understand the costs they incur by being hacked. Hackers have been largely ignored in the past because the damage done by their actions and the costs had not been fully understood by the businesses being attacked. Most businesses simply absorbed the costs as a part of doing business and the costs were eventually passed on to customers in the form of higher prices.

By taking hackers to court, they get put on notice that there will be a severe price to pay for their actions. Not only will a hacker have to shell out for the costs of going to court, they may also find that their parents or guardians may pay the price as well, if they are underage. There will also be a court record naming the hacker as a defendant.

Another step that anyone who has been the victim of a hackers is to post complaints of their actions on the various websites set up for purposes of this nature. If a hacker finds himself on one of these websites, his prospects for gaining employment in the information technology fields or in any area of trust will be greatly diminished. Employers are using the internet to screen future applicants on the internet and  would not  employ someone who is an acknowledged thief.

And, yes, a hacker is a thief. They steal information and eventually steal money. It is time to treat hackers as the thieves they are.

Stay tuned

MURT

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