Hacking Rhetoric

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Joshua Bennett – Day One

(Posted on my personal blog, moving it here to the public blog. Woops)


My name is Joshua Bennett, but most people call me Josh. I am currently a 4th year Computer Science major,

As a Computer Science major, my immediate reaction when I hear “hacking” is the misconception most of society has of it. It is seen as an overall negative action taken by cyber-terrorists to corrupt the internet and steal your information. Hacking has been relegated into only dealing with malicious computer nerds and has been given a negative connotation. Hacking to me means anything that can be changed to do something it wasn’t originally intended to do. Hacking is a widely used term in my Computer Science classes and has to do with editing pieces of code in a unconventional way to quickly fix or improve the function of it. We also use it in my apartment often when we want to make something perform better by adding or changing something about it.

I can’t ignore what everyone immediately thinks about hacking though, which is circumventing security online by changing information through exploits. Groups that I am quite familiar with are Lulzsec (which has since been shutdown) and Anonymous. Both groups have their own agenda of supposedly trying to portray a good message, and hurt evil organizations by doing it in an evil way themselves. In a sense they are online vigilantes. I think these groups don’t actually feel too strongly about what they are hacking though, and do it instead because it gives them a sense of power and notoriety. Overall, I feel like these groups are completely unnecessary. They are able to shut down sites for a few days, and extract private information, but it also seems quite pointless. They make issues bigger then they are, and give their victims more things to complain about. In most cases, I think the answer is to just ignore these organizations. So personally, I find these “hacker groups” annoying.

As for hacks in general, it all depends on what you are hacking, but I love hacks! I used to hack everything. Most of what I’ve learned is through hacking. I used to hack Pokemon games so I could create my own. I used to hack programs to learn how they were built and change them into tools I can use. It’s important to me and I wouldn’t be me without it.

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Day One MinChul Han

Hello everyone! I am Min and I am a senior majoring Radio, Television & Film in the School of Communication. My full first name is actually Min Chul but nobody tends to pronounce “Chul” correctly so I usually go with Min most of the times.

Hacking did not mean a lot to me until this time where now I am enrolled in a course called Hacking Rhetoric for a semester. I did not have any knowledge in hacking and also did not expect this word to become relevant to me ever in my life. All I know about hacking is the general definition for the diction itself which is used to describe the act of stealing others’ ideas or knowledge without letting the owners know. From this definition, it is easy to say that hacking is an unethical act and hackers are to be called criminals in my standard. The image of hacking in my mind is very negative. Most often, I encounter the word from the TV news reporting that some hacker groups have attacked the government or some institutions to paralyze their functions in the society. Living in a world with such news reports coming up frequently, I believe that this is the source for shaping my ideas about hacking and hackers until now.

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n0sc0p3 Day One

Hello to all! My name is Damon and I am a senior Computer Science major, planning to graduate at the end of this semester.

I have extensive experience with hacking, both technically and culturally. I’ve understood “access denied” as a challenge since I hacked my first computer system at age 12. After developing a rigorous code of ethics, I’ve refocused my energies towards so-called “white hat” hacking — playing the role of an adversary in order to pinpoint flaws in computer systems. I’ve been arrested for illegal hacking (though never convicted), and have had the pleasure of my living space invaded and my personal possessions seized, all for trying to do the right thing by reporting serious security flaws to the appropriate people. While I may have done things that have crossed certain arbitrary lines in the sand, I certainly have never maliciously done harm to another. I believe it is high time for the powers that be to recognize that ethical hackers have a place in the system. Today, I am gainfully employed as a professional hacker for a large security penetration testing firm. I have the distinct pleasure of exploiting security vulnerabilities in large corporate/government systems all day, under contract from their owners, in order to improve an organization’s overall security posture. I look forward to exploring society’s understanding of what a hacker does — the comments posted so far have been quite enlightening. I hope to someday bridge the vast gulf that divides public opinion and knowledge of the hacker community from reality.

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Audrey Toledo Day One

Hi, my name is Audrey Toledo and I’m a junior from Dallas. I’m a Corporate Communications major and a Business Foundations minor.

Honestly, I’ve never really thought a lot about pranking, nevertheless the rhetoric of pranking. I ‘ve always thought pranking had a negative connotation associated with it, I’ve heard a lot of stories about businesses and computer systems being shut down due to hacking and leaking of private information. I would be interested in learning about hacking within the government. I’m excited to hear more about pranking in this class and what are the possible positive characteristics about it.

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Hayley Gruwer Day One

Hi, My name is Hayley Gruwer, and I am from Memphis, Tennessee. I am currently a junior. I am a Communication Studies major, and I am completing the Business Foundations Certificate program.

Before attending the first day of class, I had always assumed hacking had to do with something illegal. I associated hacking with trespassing, invading someone’s personal belongings, and intruding on private, government information. When I think about a hacker, I think about someone who is very intelligent looking, sitting on a computer, trying to crack codes and passwords. My idea of a hacker comes from television. I have never personally met a hacker, but when I watch shows such as Homeland and Scandal; it puts images in my head of what a hacker looks like and what he or she does. This ideas I have had of a hacker have caused me to think hacking is a negative thing, used to disrespect someone else’s privacy. I am excited to learn about what hacking truly is about during Hacking Rhetoric!

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Day 1 Cayla Sher

Hello All, I am Cayla Sher, I go by Cayla, I am majoring in Public Relations and just started my sophomore year.

In my opinion, hacking has to do with technology, working with computers and the internet. Hacking can be a hobby for some people. I don’t know much about hacking. It would be a very cool and useful thing to know how to do. Hacking can be described as breaking into things, such as breaking into websites or computer systems. Someone who does hacking as a hobby could be called a “hacker”. Last semester as I looked for courses to take, this one sounded interesting. I love technology, the internet and especially social media. I thought to myself, “How amazing would it be if I could be considered a hacker?”

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DevRubbo Day One

Hi my name is Devon Rubbo, I’m from Houston, and I am a sophomore majoring in economics.

The only experience I have had with hacking was when my laptop was stolen last year and someone hacked into my profile and sent computer viruses to everyone in my address book using my email account.  It was really frustrating to know that my identity was being used to potentially harm other people and access their personal information.  I was interested in taking this class in order to find out more about what happens when someone hacks into another person’s computer or database.  In my opinion, hacking is useful in some instances, but most of the time it is used in the detrimental sense and should be prevented.

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Day 1 Meagan M

My name is Meagan Milligan and I am a senior studying communication science and disorders. I am from San Antonio, TX. 

When I think of hacking, I generally imagine a male dressed in dark clothes and a hoodie, sitting in a dark room trying to hack into an online database to obtain illegal documents and/or financial gain. I have zero experience with hacking myself and it amazes me that people have the knowledge and skills to pull hacking off. I have read many articles and seen various segments on the news regarding hacking. These instances ranging from webcam and cell phone hacking of celebrities, all the way to more advance hackers breaking through the security of Sony and shutting down the playstation network for millions of frequent users. I have always thought poorly of hackers, despite their smarts, because I have always considered it an enormous invasion of privacy. However, people are getting smarter everyday and technology obviously plays a tremendous role in our everyday society. I have no idea what to expect out of this class when it comes to hacking because I have only heard the negative consequences of this lifestyle. However, after attending the first day of class and learning that hacking isn’t just for computer science majors, I am curious to learn more about why hackers do what they do.

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Sammy R. Day One

Hi, my name is Samantha Rodriguez from Laredo, TX, and I like being called Sammy. I am a junior and a communication science and disorders major.

When I think of hacking, I think of a teenage boy in his room trying to hack a girl’s webcam. The first time i saw the name of this class, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I am not a computer wiz of any kind. Thinking about hackers, I am amazed at their knowledge and skills with computers. The way they can just hack accounts or websites blows my mind. I have never known a hacker. I wouldn’t know what a hacker looks like. The only experience I’ve had with hacking is when someone hacked my hotmail account. That made me feel so helpless and a little scared. When I think of hacking, the words that come to mind are: secret knowledge and technological power. I am so excited to learn more about hackers, the life style of hacking, what inspires it, and how it all works.


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Shimu Day One

Hi everyone! My name is Shimu Wang, from China, and I’m currently a junior in sports management. Last semester i had a rhetoric class about the Filter Bubble which i found very interesting, so i chose this class in fall (Also i need a class with writing flag). 

When talking about hacking, the first image that comes to my mind is some spies wearing black tights and dark sunglasses working on a gigantic computer of a bank system. This might be very hilarious because it sounds more like a movie scenes more than real life hacking. To be honest, i think hacking is bad because it means either taking control of others’ property or breaking the rules. Me and my friends have suffered from accounts being hacked and lots of consequent troubles. However, not everything i learned about hacking are bad. I have once read from newspaper that hackers from U.S and China decided to complete their hacking skill with each other by hacking other’s embassy websites. As far as i remember, Chinese hackers change the U.S national flag into a Chinese national flag, and added the Chinese national song as background music onto the U.S embassy website. I found it very interesting. Overall I’m curious about hacking and i wish to learn more about hacking from this class.