Tough stance wins applause

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 12:00am

Yesterday's prosecution should serve as a warning to an increasing number of young people who glorify hacking and have no sense of criminal consequences, experts said.

Productivity Council principal information technology consultant Roy Ko Wai-tak applauded the authorities for making it a high-profile case.

'Young people think hacking is something fun and cool to do. They should be educated that it is a criminal activity, and they could go to jail for it,' he said.

Mr Ko said hackers in Hong Kong usually were not sophisticated computer experts and stole other people's data by using scanning software available on the Internet and on the market.

Police Commercial Crime Bureau officers caught the three hackers last May and warned that hacking was a new criminal trend.

The trio used software to scan a cluster of computers and identified those that had been infected by a type of virus called Trojan Horse, which released private passwords.

Internet specialist and Aib Communications associate director Ian Chan Lok-chun said the trio did not deserve to be called hackers.

'People with no brains do this sort of thing and have no idea about covering their trail,' he said.

Computer Crime Bureau Detective Senior Inspector Fung Wai-keung appealed to the public not to use illegal hacking software.

'Police and Internet service providers could trace these offenders without much difficulty,' he said.

Another bureau spokesman said simple precautions against hacking included frequent password changes and not downloading information from unknown web sites.