12Aug98 NEW ZEALAND: HACKERS PAY NO HEED TO CHAOS THEY MIGHT CAUSE. By SUSAN JENNISON. Kuji hacked computer systems for the same intellectual kick others get from completing cryptic crosswords or solving mind teasers. For hackers it is a numbers game with no thought to the possible enormity of the consequences. The dangers are not real and do not equate to physical things; cars, buildings or disasters. Kuji - the codename used by Mathew Bevan when he was active - and the Datastream Cowboy (Richard Pryce) managed to provoke an investigation by the United States Air Force and Scotland Yard's computer crime unit after hacking into the Pentagon computer in 1993. Their inspiration then was to learn more about UFOs. Despite more sophisticated security systems, the talented amateurs still get in. The hackers who hit India's national security computer system at the Bhabba Atomic Research Centre had political motives. All aged between 15 and 18 and codenamed the MilwOrm Group, they claimed to be protesting against the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in May this year. Team Jajis threatened the New York Times and CyberTimes and in April an Israeli teenager broke into the Pentagon's computer system, a repeat performance of Mathew Bevan who breached that system when he was 18. The costs for computer security can be awesome. United States industry estimates the costs of keeping the intruders at bay at $US10 billion ($19.68 billion) while the Pentagon alone had 25,000 hacker attacks last year. They misquote the figure as 25,000. The original article stated 250,000. Bevan, now employed to test computer security for private firms, says hackers are not out to cause chaos, they are looking for acceptance, kudos and fame amongst their peers. Frequently it is just an amusing game of breaking codes and challenging authority. The unauthorised access or trespassing and vandalism to software are often secondary to their considerations. Mathew Bevan's view is that hackers are generally the tinkerers, the people who at school, wanted to ask the questions the teachers could never answer. Meta-hackers have other aims: they are commissioned to steal information. This information is then resold to foreign governments or business interests. This is the evolving world of hackers as disclosed by Alan Hood, a research scientist in the information warfare unit of Britain's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency. There are also darksiders using hacking techniques for financial gain and there is the lamer who is someone who thinks they know everything about hacking but doesn't. Computer security isn't always easy. A recent article in New Scientist said computer security managers could be seen to be breaking the law by using counter-attack methods. There are firewalls blocking unauthorised access but now there are also programmes which have been developed to retaliate. The damage that could result from aggressive anti-hacking programs cannot necessarily be justified, even in self-defence. This is probably quoting the "blitzkrieg" server hype which was smoke. Since it is illegal to deploy such a thing, odds are most companies would not waste time developing the technology.