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TESTIMONY BY GEOFFREY S. GOODFELLOW Before the Subcommittee on Transportation, Aviation and Materials on the subject of Telecommunications Security and Privacy.

26 September 1983

Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. The Nature of Computer Hackers and Hacking. 3. What Can and Should Be Done to Help Abate The Unsavory Hacking Problem? 4. Let Us Not Lull Ourselves into a False Sense of Security. 5. Recommendations 6. Biography (The Making of a Hacker)


My name is Geoffrey S. Goodfellow. I am primarily employed by the Computer Science Laboratory at SRI International, Menlo Park, California. For the past 10 years at SRI, I have been involved in research efforts related with packet switched computer network communication systems, protocols and security technologies. I have also been involved in various operating and sub-system development projects. Currently, my responsibilities include a position as Principle Investigator of SRI's involvement in a Department of Defense program aimed at developing and proving secure computer systems, that operate at different security levels and communicate via networks. A detailed biography of my career from 7th grade school where I discovered computers (which eventually lead to my permanent abandonment of the formal educational system during high school) to how I got to where I am today with no degrees or any type of equivalency to my name is included at the end of my testimony. I am a coauthor of the Hacker's Dictionary -- A Guide to the World of Computer Wizards, a new book being published this fall. THE STATEMENTS INCLUDED HEREIN ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THOSE OF SRI INTERNATIONAL OR ANY CLIENTS OF SRI.

2. The Nature of Computer Hackers and Hacking.

The primary nature of a computer hacker can be defined as follows: - A person who enjoys learning or knowing the details of computer systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users of computers, who prefer to learn or know only the minimum amount necessary in order to get their job done. - One who programs computers enthusiastically, for the sheer fun of it, and gets a non professional amount of enjoyment out of using them. - A person capable of appreciating the irony and beauty (i.e.`hack value') of a program. - A person who is good at programming quickly or is an expert on aparticular program. (This definition and the proceeding ones are correlated, and people who fit them congregate). Unfortunately, though, hacking has an unsavory faction to it: - A malicious or inquisitive meddler (i.e. `poacher') who tries to discover information by poking around.For example, a "password hacker" is one who tries, possibly by deceptive or illegal means, to discover other people's computer passwords. - A "network hacker" is one who tries to learn about the computer network (possibly because he wants to interfere--one can tell the difference only by context, tone of voice and manner of approach).