A diffuse group of people, often called ``hackers,'' has been characterized as unethical, irresponsible, and a serious danger to society for actions related to breaking into computer systems. This paper attempts to construct a picture of hackers, their concerns, and the discourse in which hacking takes place. My initial findings suggest that hackers are learners and explorers who want to help rather than cause damage, and who often have very high standards of behavior. My findings also suggest that the discourse surrounding hacking belongs at the very least to the gray areas between larger conflicts that we are experiencing at every level of society and business in an information age where many are not computer literate. These conflicts are between the idea that information cannot be owned and the idea that it can, and between law enforcement and the First and Fourth Amendments. Hackers have raised serious issues about values and practices in an information society. Based on my findings, I recommend that we work closely with hackers, and suggest several actions that might be taken.
This paper provides information on altering syslog files, clearing out utmp and wtmp and process accounting files, and bypassing tripwire file modification checks (or so I've heard).