I strongly disagree with you on what is terrorism. You say that the TV ad showing the French hacking into another's website is funny. By whose definition do you consider this funny? Not mine for sure.
I have recently had a problem with two programs that I use quite frequently. One is email and the other was a communication program. A 15 year-old from Turkey used a program that he evidently got from a website that gave him a program that let him access my passwords and take over my sites.
Yes it made me mad and I spent quite a bit of time getting this taken care of but, by the same token, when this kind of thing goes on and people no longer use the net because of this and they are afraid, that, my friend, is terrorism in a form. Just like the painting on fences, walls and the such, people no longer feel safe in their communities; that also is a form of terrorism.
I think you need to define terrorism but take a strong look at what is happening and put yourself in their place. With the running of Subseven system probes and the Trojan horse programs this is an attempt to cause a form of terrorism. If you define this as a prank or funny then I strongly disagree with you.
Ok, so hacking is not the same as dropping bombs, nor shooting guns at people, but it should still be considered a crime, as should attempting it.
There are few enforceable laws in the US regarding computer crime as is. If someone were to attempt to kill you, but failed ... should that be considered a crime? If someone were to attempt to break into your house with intent to commit a crime, like stealing or destroying property, but the locks on your doors and windows were better than their "tools of the trade" ... should that be a crime?
If someone were to spray-paint graffiti on your car in a public parking lot ... should that be considered a crime (even if the person weren't a citizen of your country, but on vacation or visiting?)
Obvious answers, which if you apply to computers and somehow the US legal system (and quite a few other countries as well) are pitifully lax in enforcement of the few laws that currently exist that define 'hacking' as a crime.
Let's not get into a semantics argument about the exact meaning of 'hacking', as a computer security person I well know the differences. I'm talking about computer crime.
I'm not talking about the equivalent of a company crash testing some cars to validate their safety features in a lab environment.
I'm talking about someone crashing into you or your car on the freeway or in a public parking lot with a stolen car to see how your car reacts, or better yet, if they can take it for a joy ride and run over a few thousand postal mailboxes along the way and then leave it embedded in someone's living room.
Yes, software should be tested for vulnerabilities and results published, and vendors held accountable for fixes. When someone uses that information to attempt to break into your computer or your house or your car, I don't care what part of the globe that you live in ... it's a crime.
So the US trying to call this particular brand of crime a "terrorist" act is a bit harsh. I think that recognition of this activity, on a global level, with criminal consequences for its exploitation is LONG overdue. The fine tuning of the consequences can be hammered out by the armies of lawyers (they may actually be good for something, but probably not) that exist.
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