A script kiddie is a derogatory term used to refer to non-serious hackers who are believed to reject the ethical principals held by professional hackers, which include the pursuit of knowledge, respect for skills, and a motive of self education. Script kiddies shortcut most hacking methods in order to quickly gain their hacking skills. They don’t put much thought or time into gaining computer knowledge, but educate themselves in a fast manner in order to learn only the bare minimum. Script kiddies may use hacking programs written by other hackers because they often lack the skills to write their own.
Script kiddies attempt to attack computer systems and networks, and vandalize websites. Although they are considered to be inexperienced and immature, script kiddies can inflict as much computer damage as professional hackers and can be subject to similar criminal charges as their older and more savvy counterparts.
Script kiddies perform their malicious computer techniques simply for the thrill of it, and to brag to their peers about their computer prowess. Because script kiddies are professional hackers in the making, or merely because they lack technical skill, they often leave behind evidence of their work. If they foolishly decide to hack big companies’ computers, the tight computer security therein easily lead to their being caught.
In 2000, Michael Calce was arrested in Canada for using existing downloading tools to launch denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on popular websites such as Yahoo and eBay. The high school-aged boy’s actions ultimately cost a total of $1.2 billion in economic damages worldwide. The following year, the Montreal Youth Court banned him from the Internet and sentenced him to eight months of open custody, 12 months of probation and a small fine.
Stiffer charges were laid on an 18-year-old from Minnesota named Jeffrey Parson. Parson was responsible for spreading a modified version of the Blaster computer worm, which produced a DoS attack against all computers that used the Microsoft Windows operating system. In 2005, Parson was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the widespread damage his program caused.
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