School for Hackers

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SUSPECT: De Guzman submitted a thesis proposal, below, for a program that would steal passwords and give him free access to the Internet; his professors turned it down

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Other countries have also been showing up on hacker watch lists. David Kennedy, director of research services at watchdog , singles out Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Bulgaria and Poland as hotbeds of hacking. But the industrialized nations are starting to fight back. The Council of Europe has drawn up a treaty that would require nations to pass computer-crime legislation and cooperate on enforcement. And the high-tech crime subgroup of the G-8, which is meeting in Paris this week, will hear from a Who's Who of tech experts about ways to battle international virus propagation. Getting tough, however, has its risks. As Kennedy explains, "People who are talented and imaginative take that as a challenge and find ways to hack into sites."

The fact is that Third World hacking has political frisson. There's a satisfaction in outsmarting the developed world's best computer minds--a high-tech, Jesse Jackson-style cry of "I am somebody!" That certainly seems to be a widespread response in the Philippines. De Guzman's fellow students at AMA expressed quiet pride in his alleged international cybersabotage last week. The Manila Standard saluted him as "The country's first world-class hacker." "Yes," the paper exclaimed, "the Filipino can!"

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