Would you describe yourself as a law abiding or ethical hacker and if so how much?
#1
Hello everyone,


I myself want to be an ethical hacker, although I'm sure we all have weird fantasies and a cantenna would be cool to build and I think if your at a school that tracks you I think we all know how that could potentially be misused. Even on clearnet hacker forums, I know for a fact certain people will admit to being a "black hat," "grey hat," or "white hat" hacker. Obviously, some script kiddy anon kid would not care about those labels. I am not yet a hacker, but since most of you hackers and non-hackers don't like the labels mentioned above, looking at individuality, how law-abiding and ethical would you say you are on a scale of 0 to 20, just so I can get a good measurement?

I also know for a fact that the vast majority (maybe not all) of the people who admit to this are telling the truth.

Obviously, no one is asking you to admit to specific crimes and I know you are not all bad people or even bad hackers just because legal does not equal ethical, but it would be nice to have a measurement of both in your view.

So,

legal = 0 to 20; same for ethical. thanks

Peace everyone.

Thanks for the info.

Best,

QMark
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#2
Quote:how law-abiding and ethical would you say you are on a scale of 0 to 20

I could spend hours pulling this question apart, but the most glaring thing wrong with this question can be summarised by me saying "who defines what's legal, who defines what's ethical?".

As someone who is culturally and racially European, I think premarital sex is legal, and yet, this is highly illegal and punishable by imprisonment in Saudi Arabia, and other countries.

So if I have premarital sex, am I committing a crime or not? Why does the fact I am not in Saudi Arabia mean I am not committing a crime. Surely a legal framework is merely an idea and surely not confined to a geo-spatial point? How the hell does that make any sense?

In a similar (and more relevant) vein, if I live in Russia, and Mr Putin gives me a subtle nudge and a wink to indicate that he won't really care if I hack the West, does this make it ethical? It may actually be illegal under a strict interpretation of Russian law, but the highest authority in the land has just told me it is okay, so does that mean it is okay? If I go ahead and hack the West, does this make me unethical, or Putin? Am I suddenly a criminal? What happens if Putin sends me to a country where hacking is allowed - how come I'm a criminal in one country but not a criminal in another when I've done the same thing?

Let me summarise for you. There is no thing as good, there is no thing as bad. There is just stuff that people do and a collective interpretation of those actions that is strictly relevant to a specific cultural-societal-racial-political dynamic.

My answer is 0, because it all means nothing.

Any answer other than 0 is either too localised and affected by local beliefs to be completely irrelevant to your unique perspective, or is simply hypocritical.
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#3
Hmm - similar to EnigmaCookie, I do not have a straight answer for you. I will say that "ethics are subjective."

Legality is a set of rules that society-at-large agrees on, in a democratic setting. Someone, or a group of people, agree that these rules are the guidelines that society should follow; otherwise, systematic punishment should be enforced.

Ethics is the question of what is right and what is wrong. Just because something is law doesn't mean it is "right", which implies that legality doesn't always equal ethical, just as ethical does not always equal legal.

There are different types of ethics that society generally follows, primarily: deontological (rule-based; do what is right to be a good person in society), teleological (goal-oriented, do what is necessary to reach a goal). and virtue ethics (personal views, more or less). I would say that must hackers fall into the latter category: virtue ethics.

With deontological and teleological ethical views, society's rules are considered when acting; people generally want to follow rules or want to do what is necessary to meet their goals, even if other people view their ethics as unethical. These societal rules, though, who decides them? Well, that depends on what type of society you live in: democratic, communist, socialist, etc. As EnigmaCookie said in their USA vs Saudi Arabia example, laws are different everywhere. To follow laws does not mean that you are truly ethical, just as to be ethical does not mean to be truly law-abiding.

For virtue ethics, we take an individualist approach to ethics. We think for ourselves; we ourselves decide "what is right?" and "what is wrong?" Most hackers take this approach, as they are critical and free thinkers.

With all of that said, while it is important to be law-abiding to avoid prosecution, I believe that ethics are always up for debate, even if the action or goal is not exactly legal. This is why I consider myself to be a "grey hat" even though I do not consider myself to be a (cyber)criminal, but most people may call me a "white hat" just because I generally follow laws; however, I will not allow society's national laws to do what I consider to be unethical. If you work for the NSA, and you want to blow the whistle on an unethical operation, is it ethical to blow the whistle, even if it is illegal? Ask Snowden; I'd say that we can also call him a "grey hat" under these definitions.

I'll leave off with a question for you: what revolution or uprising in history was legal? If they were illegal, were they ethical?
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#4
(05-12-2018, 12:02 PM)Cypher Wrote: If you work for the NSA, and you want to blow the whistle on an unethical operation, is it ethical to blow the whistle, even if it is illegal? Ask Snowden; I'd say that we can also call him a "grey hat" under these definitions.

Yes, I'd argue that all white hats are grey hats, if we say that one is only truly a white hat if they follow a code of ethics 100%, which in this case would come down from an industry body, such as (ISC)^2.

Any white hat could be faced with a scenario where they have to compromise ethics to do the "right" (by virtue) thing, even under an extreme scenario - say if they were being blackmailed and owed lots of money to people who were going to harm his family, so for his next Red Team job he decided to actually steal a bunch of PII and company details to sell on the dark web to pay off his blackmailers. He's done something highly illegal, absolutely unethical according to the industry standards in the extreme... And yet, he may think he did the right thing?

(05-12-2018, 12:02 PM)Cypher Wrote: I'll leave off with a question for you: what revolution or uprising in history was legal? If they were illegal, were they ethical?

Viva la resistance!

A good example here is the Bolshevik Revolution. Yes, they successfully took over the Government relatively peacefully - they took the Tsar and his family and hid them in a shack, meanwhile assumed power. Then they had a decision to make: what to do with the family long-term?

To let them live would leave open the possability of escape, where they could easily rally forces to try take back the country, inevitably leading to armed conflict and loss of human life - how is that a good thing?

To keep his family, including his young son and wife, under guard their entire life would be unfair. Surely better to die than live like that? And surely there would be attempts to rescue them - it would be a massive mission simply to keep their location secret. Again, if they escape, it will almost certainly lead to more loss of life.

So they decided to murder them all.

Legally murder. Ethically suspect? They did what they thought was right. Others thought they were wrong.

There is no objective framework for measuring ethics, just like there are no universal standards for making people accountable to the law, they differ by place, culture, time, etc.

The first step in being truly awake in this world is to realise that laws and ethics do not exist anywhere except inside yourself. It turns out that you can do whatever you want in this life without any consequences, but other people may think you did something wrong. If those people are your family or friends, do you really want to live your life without their love?
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#5
Ignoring the silly post-modernist and nihilist views expressed in this thread. I think it is safe to say that there are some things that are universally good.

Let's take murder for example. Murder is bad, why? Because i don't want to be murdered. Now EnigmaCookie the radical socialist revolutionary he is might want to murder me. Why should what i want be of more value than what he wants? Well Let's look at it this way, i bet EnigmaCookie doesn't want to be murdered right? So whatever views we hold we both do not want to be murdered. Therefore not murdering is the universally preferable behavior because even murderers don't want to be murdered.

In this sense we derive our ethics from the values that everyone holds. Therefore there is a universal good and a universal evil.


Secondly. The law are just some words on a piece of paper. Therefore the law is meaningless. That is not to say the law is useless, just that if you are going to have a law it should be reflective of a universal set of ethics.

Anyway, i consider myself a Grey Hat. Because what i do might be the right thing, even though the government disagrees.
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#6
(05-12-2018, 11:48 PM)Vector Wrote: Therefore not murdering is the universally preferable behavior because even murderers don't want to be murdered.

In this sense we derive our ethics from the values that everyone holds. Therefore there is a universal good and a universal evil. 

Doesn't this assume that humans occupy an elevated status over all other forms of conscious life?

Animals don't want to be murdered, in fact their whole biology is developed to increase their chances of survival, and yet the vast majority of humans murder them and believe it is ethical to do so. Given that we are technically and biologically capable of surviving off non-animal food, we can't realistically use our own survival as a justification to murder animals, and even if we could, it wouldn't change the fact that it was still a "bad" action.

If murder is a universal bad thing, I don't understand why it doesn't apply universally, and why this rule doesn't apply to our treatment of creatures with less intelligence than ourselves.

My personal solution to this problem is to argue that there is no universal bad. But I'd be interested to see how you tackle this dilemna, or if you even identity that there is one here.

I think your approach sounds like it falls under the "do unto others" framework. You are right that murderers don't want to be murdered, and that's a good reason to conclude that murder is bad, but people still murder people all the time. If it is universally bad, what are the consequences for that action? If there are no consequences (say, someone murderers his friend but never gets found out his entire life and he's a psychopath so he doesn't have any personal feelings of guilt or moral corruption), isn't the attribution of "bad" entirely irrelevant and ineffective, even if it did theoretically exist? What's the point of "bad" if it doesn't actually result in a tangible effect - or are you just saying that it's a concept we should use to orientate our society and laws around?
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#7
(05-13-2018, 12:50 AM)EnigmaCookie Wrote: Doesn't this assume that humans occupy an elevated status over all other forms of conscious life?

We do. Because we have moral agency. Would you blame a lion for killing a gazelle? No, because lions do not have the brain capacity to have a notion of ethics, they have no moral agency. Therefore any creature that does not have moral agency should not be considered in the same way that humans should be.

(05-13-2018, 12:50 AM)EnigmaCookie Wrote: Animals don't want to be murdered, in fact their whole biology is developed to increase their chances of survival, and yet the vast majority of humans murder them and believe it is ethical to do so. Given that we are technically and biologically capable of surviving off non-animal food, we can't realistically use our own survival as a justification to murder animals, and even if we could, it wouldn't change the fact that it was still a "bad" action.

If you disagree with my point about moral agency, go be a vegetarian then.

(05-13-2018, 12:50 AM)EnigmaCookie Wrote: If murder is a universal bad thing, I don't understand why it doesn't apply universally, and why this rule doesn't apply to our treatment of creatures with less intelligence than ourselves.

It applies universally to all beings with moral agency.

(05-13-2018, 12:50 AM)EnigmaCookie Wrote: My personal solution to this problem is to argue that there is no universal bad. But I'd be interested to see how you tackle this dilemna, or if you even identity that there is one here.

I think your approach sounds like it falls under the "do unto others" framework. You are right that murderers don't want to be murdered, and that's a good reason to conclude that murder is bad, but people still murder people all the time. If it is universally bad, what are the consequences for that action? If there are no consequences (say, someone murderers his friend but never gets found out his entire life and he's a psychopath so he doesn't have any personal feelings of guilt or moral corruption), isn't the attribution of "bad" entirely irrelevant and ineffective, even if it did theoretically exist? What's the point of "bad" if it doesn't actually result in a tangible effect - or are you just saying that it's a concept we should use to orientate our society and laws around?

What does that even mean? "What's the point of "bad" if it doesn't actually result in a tangible effect".

Bad or evil is a classification of someone's actions. But if you are asking what the point is to classify something as evil then i would answer that we humans need a system of classification to protect ourselves and society from harm. In that sense, my concept of ethics is something to build our laws around in my opinion.
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#8
Our opinions are so diverging there's literally no point continuing to argue them, it's like an atheist trying to argue away someone's religious convictions, or Locke vs Hobbes, Thérèse vs Nietzsche. We're dealing with long-debated opinions that have never been conclusively demonstrated.

And you're right, this is the wrong environment to be arguing these points anyway.
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