Archive for September, 2012

The Campus Debit Card Trap

Sep. 25th 2012


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52 Back-to-School Tricks That Google Wants You to Know

Sep. 19th 2012

You’re finally getting into the swing of your new back-to-school schedule, and the No. 1 tool for today’s students isn’t a backpack, pencil, or paper: it’s Google. With seemingly endless tools, uses, and resources, Google is a virtual powerhouse for all things learning. Of course, Google’s even better if you know how to step beyond the simple search box and take advantage of everything the search giant has to offer. That’s why we’re highlighting 52 different tricks that you can use this back-to-school season, whether you’re heading off to college or getting started on your online degree.

DIY Orientation

Curious about your campus? Find out the real deal with these Google tricks.

  1. Check out your campus with Street View: Get familiar with your campus from the comfort of your dorm room by checking it all out on Google’s Street View maps.
  2. Find out what’s great on campus: Use Google Places to discover and read ratings about coffee shops, book stores, and other great places to check out around campus.
  3. Check out the weather: Find out what the weather’s like in your college town by simply typing weather, plus the city and state or zip code into Google’s search bar.

Social, Groups & Collaboration

In recent years, Google has introduced lots of great tools for interaction and collaboration, including Google Docs and Google Hangouts. These tricks will help you make the most of Google’s social tools.

  1. Plan club meetings: Planning a back-to-school meeting for your club? Video chat with up to nine of your members to discuss what it’s all about.
  2. Plan events efficiently: Use Google+ Events to invite friends with a personalized video greeting, and even upload photos during the event with Party Mode.
  3. Share your schedule: Let your buddies know your class schedule and what you’re up to by sharing your Google Calendar.
  4. Keep everyone in the loop: Use Google+ to organize your friends and bring them all into the conversation together.
  5. Create forms for your group: Using Google forms, you can quickly gather information from club and group members.
  6. Put sticky notes in your Hangouts: With the Symphonical app, you can add sticky notes for group scribbles.
  7. Plan study group meetings: Create a shared Google Calendar for your study group to plan your meeting schedule efficiently.
  8. Create shared folders with Google Drive: Make group project materials easy to access with Google Drive’s shared folders.
  9. Keep your groups together: Organize meetings, social events, and more with Google Groups’ private email lists.

Efficiency & Time Management

Use these great tricks from Google to stay on top of every assignment and commitment.

  1. Become a better searcher: Try these Google search challenges to test and improve your search skills.
  2. Get organized with Google Calendar: Juggle your classes, assignments, extracurriculars, and social life with ease by organizing all of your commitments on Google Calendar.
  3. Never be late for class: Download the doubleTwist Alarm Clock from Google Play and you’ll be sure to wake up on time.
  4. Plan your day with Google Now: Using Google Now, you can get the right information at the right time, like traffic conditions before class and game times for your favorite college team.
  5. Import class syllabi: With Google Docs and Calendar, you can import your class syllabi, so you’ll always be on top of your assignments and readings.
  6. Stay on task: Download the Todo.ly Chrome extension to get organized and remember to get everything done, whether it’s running errands or finishing your term paper.
  7. Take notes in Google Docs with your pen: Using Livescribe pens, you can take notes that go straight to Google Docs.
  8. Read back-to-school issues online: Check out Google Play’s collection of back-to-school magazine issues to get caught up on the latest looks and ideas this fall.
  9. Find the right words: Look up synonyms, dictionary definitions, even check your spelling, right from Google’s search box.
  10. Fly though your inbox: Use Gmail’s priority inbox to automatically identify your most important email.
  11. Print anything anywhere: On Google Drive, you can send just about any file to FedEx to be printed using your laptop or even your phone.
  12. Stay focused with Chrome: Google’s Chrome browser offers an add-on that will help you stay focused and on track, blocking websites that tend to eat up your attention.
  13. Track care packages: If you’ve got something special coming from home, stay on top of its arrival by typing your tracking code into the Google search bar.
  14. Read on the go: Using the SoundGecko extension on Google Chrome, you can listen to articles on the go, saving time and making your commute more productive.
  15. Wage war on inbox spam: Use Gmail’s auto-unsubscribe feature to rid your inbox of mailing lists and newsletters you’re no longer interested in.

Travel & Mapping

A long way from home? Don’t worry, Google’s got your back. Find out where everything is and how to get there with these mapping tricks from Google.

  1. Find your way around the mall: Conquer your back-to-school shopping list with indoor Google Maps available for malls and department stores.
  2. Find a flight home: Homesick already? Get connected with your next flight home using Google’s Flight Search.
  3. Find a place to live: Search for an apartment or house to rent in your college town with the super slick PadMapper app for Chrome.
  4. Find out what time it is at home: See the current time in any city in the world by typing time and the name of the city into Google’s search bar.

Learning & Research

Search is still Google’s best trick, and these tips will help you make the most of Google’s capacity for learning and research.

  1. Learn about your professors: Google offers extensive people profiles, especially for individuals who are on Google+. Type the name of your professor or new classmate into Google to find their profile and learn more about them.
  2. Learn anything: YouTube EDU is full of endless resources for learning, from English lessons to real-life math.
  3. Find credible resources: Search with Google Scholar to find and cite scholarly literature including journals, books, and abstracts.
  4. Create your own flash cards: Use Chrome’s FlashCards extension to learn languages faster, prep for exams, and even entertain yourself with fun trivia.
  5. Do research inside Google Docs: With a handy research pane, you can add useful information like quotes, statistics, and expert opinions without even leaving Google Documents.
  6. Track down rare books: Use Google’s Book Search to get access to hard-to-find books, whether it’s online or at your local library.
  7. Make Google do the math for you: Google search offers a calculator function, so you can type any equation into Google’s search box and get an answer.
  8. Create graphs with Google, too: For advanced math users, Google has a graphing functionality. Just plot mathematical functions into the search bar, and you’ll get an interactive graph.
  9. Download educational apps: Turn your Google Chrome browser into an educational powerhouse with loads of education apps available in the Chrome Web Store.
  10. Explore cool tools in Google Earth: Find the path of Lewis and Clark, places quoted in Shakespeare, even National Geographic content through Google Earth tools.
  11. Become a Google Intern: Have you always dreamed of working for Google? Get a taste as a Google BOLD intern.
  12. Find public data: Public data is quickly available at your fingertips through Google search. Just type in “population” or “unemployment rate” plus a state or county to find the information.
  13. Get a Google dictionary: Add the Google Dictionary app to your Chrome web browser, and you can view definitions without even leaving the page.
  14. Find millions of free books: Check out Google Play where you can find millions of free books, including classic novels like Pride and Prejudice and Gulliver’s Travels.
  15. Use a Chromebook for class: A super streamlined option for education, the Google Chromebook is a fast laptop with thousands of apps, automatic updates, virus protection, and cloud backup.
  16. Manage shared expenses: Chances are, you’re living with a roommate in college, and you may have some shared expenses. Manage them all in a Google Docs spreadsheet to make sure everyone’s in the loop.
  17. Choose your college major: Still trying to nail down what you want to do in school? Use the MyMajors app on Google Play to get matched with the best course of study for you.

Health & Safety

Stay healthy on campus with these health and safety tricks from Google.

  1. Avoid the Freshman 15: Download the Diet Diary to your Chrome browser to track your exercise, calories, and water, and keep the Freshman 15 at bay.
  2. Set a ring schedule with Google Voice: Embarrassed by your phone going off during class? You can set up a custom ring schedule so that your phone only rings during certain times or days of the week.
  3. Look up health conditions: Enter a common disease or symptom into Google’s search box to get an expert summary.
  4. Find back-to-school immunizations: Get protected against meningitis, HPV, and more with back-to-school immunizations, and find out where to get them with Google Maps.
Posted by Staff Writers | in Education, Technology | No Comments »

The 50 Best Free Educational Apps from Google Play

Sep. 18th 2012

Don’t look now, iPhone Kool-Aid drinkers, but Androids are taking over. iTunes had a good run, but now is the time of Google Play, Android’s home for more than 600,000 apps. To help ease the transition back to school, we’ve combed through the pile to find the best educational choices, for everyone from Mother’s Day Out attendees to college seniors, to rock on a Galaxy, Nexus, or Droid.

Toddlers

  1. Kids Numbers and Math Lite: Educational game maker Intellijoy offers this free game to effectively teach preschoolers numbers, addition, subtraction, and more without sensory overload.
  2. AniWorld: We had animal See ‘n Say games as kids. Your kids get this app, which lets them pet, feed, see, and hear 36 different animals through 250 pictures.
  3. Kids ABC Letters Lite: Another offering from Intellijoy, Kids ABC teaches forming and identifying letters to children aged 2-7. The downside is parents may have trouble getting their phones back again.
  4. Learning Letters for Kids: This straightforward app for teaching kids the alphabet is a breath of fresh air: no permissions are required from the developer to function.
  5. Kids & Toddler Puzzle Puzzingo: A BestAppsForKids award winner, Puzzingo is an addictive yet educational game to engage the mind of your toddler with 25 professionally illustrated puzzles.
  6. Kids Pedia – Color Magician: Kids Pedia packs in language learning, science, geography, art, math, health, and more, with games designed by professional educators.
  7. Kids Piano Lite: Don’t neglect your child’s music education. This app reproduces those little toy xylophones in the bright colors kids love.
  8. 123s ABCs Handwriting Fun: Children learn basic handwriting by tracing letters, hearing them spoken, then shaking the screen to erase and repeat.
  9. Pepi Bath Lite: It’s never too early to start teaching your toddler hygiene education, and this app is a great tool for that.
  10. 0-10 Numbers Baby Flash Cards: Toddlers might as well get used to studying with flashcards. This app uses them to teach them the first 11 numbers.

Elementary and Middle School

  1. Brain Café – GeoQuiz: With a beautiful interface and strong database of questions, GeoQuiz is a great program for testing young learners’ knowledge of global geography.
  2. Kids Paint Free: Allow your young Picassos to flourish their artistic side with this fan-favorite app.
  3. iStoryBooks: Kids ages 2-8 can read their own books on dinosaurs, animals, fruits and vegetables, and more, or let narrator Maya read to them as they follow along.
  4. Alchemy – Genetics: Kids strengthen their logic and critical thinking skills playing this game that turns players into gene researchers combining different animals into new species.
  5. ASL American Sign Language: The easiest time to learn languages is in childhood. Use this free app from TeachersParadise.com to teach your kids to sign.
  6. Sky Map: Google has gone ahead and mapped all of space for your convenience. Just crank up the app, point your camera to the heavens, and enjoy.
  7. US History Quiz: Lord knows Americans’ knowledge of our own history is embarrassing. Help your kids be part of the solution by installing this free app.
  8. 100 Top World Wonders: Kiddos learn about the biggest, longest, tallest, fastest, and most dangerous things in the world with this free app.
  9. Periodic Table: Don’t let the name fool you. This is a periodic table for the 21st century, with interactive elements that can be clicked to see more than 30 facts each, audio clips, and a quiz mode.
  10. Classic Simon: Let your kids in on the simple joy that was the Simon Says toy with this app that improves memory. We mean it: let them have a turn.

High school and College

  1. WordPrep Flashcards GRE / CAT: If the GRE is in your near future or you simply want to expand your vocabulary, WordPrep Flashcards is one of your best free options in Google Play.
  2. Gamma Ray Calculator: Forget the slide rule. When you find yourself in need in physics class, whip out your smartphone and fire up this free app.
  3. Speed Anatomy Quiz: Flashcards will forever pale in comparison once you’ve tested your knowledge of the human body by poking away at it with this app.
  4. Formulas Lite: All the major formulas you need for math, chemistry, and physics are right here for free download.
  5. Learn Spanish with busuu.com!: The free app from the popular language learning site is an excellent resource for building a solid foundation in a number of languages, Spanish included.
  6. LHSee: There has been big news in the search for the “God Particle” lately. Don’t miss a thing thanks to this app that refers to work with Large Hadron Colliders.
  7. Virtual SAT Tutor – Writing: Tutoring company Ivy Standard created this app for improving your writing skills for the SAT through in-depth tips and questions modeled after the real thing.
  8. Fooducate – Healthy Food Diet: Take charge of your food education with this app that lets you scan product barcodes and see nutrition info and ideas for healthier alternatives.
  9. Mathway: With this app you don’t even need a data connection to access thousands of answers to pre-algebra, pre-cal can calculus, trig, and statistics.
  10. Learn Guitar Chords: Learn to shred while your guitar is home in its case with this app, which teaches you the most commonly used chords. Master three cords and you’re qualified to play in Nickelback.
  11. IELTS Writing Model Answers: International students will love the practice and instruction they get from this writing app.

Class Help and Study Aids

  1. Andie Graph: Want to save $90? Thought so. Do yourself a favor and download this app that’s an emulator for TI-82, -83, -85, and -86 calculators. You’re welcome.
  2. Aldiko Book Reader: Never be caught in class without your reading materials again, thanks to this customizable and user-friendly e-reader.
  3. Studyblue Flashcards: The wide range of features like card search, offline mode, reminders, and progress save make this flashcard app one of our faves in Google Play.
  4. MyScript Calculator: This is a really cool app that lets you write out math equations in your own handwriting and get answers in real time. It’s intuitive and natural and even lets you scratch out mistakes.
  5. Speed Reading Trainer: Use this app to tweak your reading ability to cut down your reading times while maintaining comprehension.
  6. Blackboard Mobile Learn: It doesn’t work for all carriers, but if yours is covered you’ve got mobile access to all your assignments, grades , and other info for classes using the site.
  7. Study Checker: This app automatically keeps track of your study and break times and lets you view your stats over a day, week, or month.
  8. Edmodo: Stay connected and share information with your classmates and teachers wherever you are with Edmodo, “the Facebook of education.”
  9. School Timetable Deluxe: It’s not often a “deluxe” model comes free, but it does here with this highly rated app for organizing homework assignments, exams, and grades all into one place.
  10. Dictionary – Merriam-Webster: It’s ad-supported but you can search by voice, find synonyms and antonyms, read a Word of the Day, and more, all while offline.
  11. SparkNotes: Since we know you’d never read crib notes in place of an assigned book, we’re happy to recommend this app to supplement your reading.

Educational Organizations

  1. NASA App: If you’ve got a little astronaut on your hands, this app connects you with incredible images and videos, mission info, and more courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
  2. TED: All the ideas worth spreading come to your Android phone so you can broaden your horizons and have your mind stretched anywhere you have a signal.
  3. Common Core: The kids won’t care, but parents and teachers will appreciate being able to see all the common core standards for every grade from K-12.
  4. Khan Academy Player: This unofficial app is a successful complement to the hugely popular, free educational video site that lets you watch that physics lesson or math tutorial offline.
  5. PhysOrg.com Science News Lite: Stay informed on all things STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with this app form the PHYSorg.com website.
  6. National Geographic: Throw out all those old copies of the magazine and install this (unofficial) app for exploring the world with the help of this storied institution.
  7. Whitehouse.gov: Here’s your unofficial window into the home of the highest office in the land and everything that goes on there.
  8. Open University News: Find articles, videos, and tweets that keep you up-to-speed on all the open education goings-on from OU.
Posted by Staff Writers | in Education, Technology | No Comments »

12 Compelling Reasons We Should Rethink School Desks

Sep. 17th 2012

Students young and old frequently complain about the quality of the desks and chairs provided on campus, yet it remains one of the more overlooked issues. A pity, because poor ergonomics and comfort can actually lead to poor health, and poor health leads to missed classes and heightened medical expenditures once career time rolls around. Maybe it’s about time educators, schools, and districts reconsidered their approach towards how they set up classrooms. The positive outcomes might very well prove surprising.

  1. Sitting increases the risk of a heart attack:

    Small children probably don’t suffer from the same risk of heart attacks as their parents, but healthy habits stick better when introduced early. A 13-year study by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center discovered that, of the 17,000 adults researched, 54% spent the majority of the day sitting. And wound up with an increased chance of suffering a heart attack as a result. Standing desks currently experience a surge of popularity these days as a means of keeping employees healthy. Nothing says this health trend must remain bound to the office.

  2. Standing burns more calories:

    Another major reason standing desks accrue so much love is the fact that it requires more calories than the more passive sitting. This means not only a reduced risk of heart disease, but diabetes, certain cancers, and other lifestyle-related medical conditions as well. Converting schools into bastions of standing desk action might not prove the most effective idea (especially since it does promote varicose veins), but encouraging something other than sitting for at least part of the day could easily promote overall health and wellness in the classroom and beyond.

  3. Sitting slows metabolism:

    Even regular exercise might not prove an adequate counterbalance to 23 or more hours of sedentary activity a week, as long periods of sitting lower the body’s metabolic rate. It also leads to muscular atrophy, a roadblock to proper workouts. If standing desks in schools isn’t a feasible option, consider incorporating more time for stretching, exercising, and walking around to offset some of the negative effects. This small habit could very well resonate in some big ways later on in life.

  4. Sitting increases the risk of obesity:

    From an aesthetic perspective, there is absolutely no shame with being overweight or obese. But one’s health stands as another matter entirely. With sitting lowering metabolism and heightening the chances of suffering from diabetes and heart disease, it makes sense that weight gain might play a role. A sedentary lifestyle combined with America’s less-than-ideal diet only adds to the issue and might mean a public health crisis down the road if left unaddressed.

  5. Standing encourages better posture:

    The desks so often utilized in classrooms and offices likely won’t garner much praise over how kindly they treat the spinal column. In fact, sitting adds between 40% to 90% stress to the back. Add another tick in the “pros” list for standing desks: they definitely guard against slouching and fidgeting. Alternately, more ergonomic sitting desks providing enough comfort and support to the lumbar system could work to help students stay focused and healthy.

  6. Decreasing the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome:

    Teach students some simple hand and wrist exercises to keep them from falling victim to the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome. With computers factoring more and more into classroom settings, keyboards placed at improper angles raise the risk of the condition. This can be rectified by purchasing more ergonomic devices and setting them up in a manner reducing the chances of physical strain and sprain. And, of course, making sure the kids (and adults) know the proper workouts that go along with prolonged typing.

  7. Yoga balls in lieu of chairs build muscle:

    Fully replacing desk chairs with yoga balls might prove kinda sorta disastrous, especially for clumsier students, but bringing a few into the classroom and encouraging their usage might hold a few benefits. Allowing them to switch out for brief periods of time means offsetting some of the negative effects bundled with sitting for extended stretches. For one thing, it promotes healthier posture, builds muscle, and heightens balance, unlike the usual sitting habits.

  8. Greater adjustability to account for height differences:

    Investing a little more in adjustable desks and chairs could be all it takes to foster greater health in the student body. The current “one-size-fits-all” (ha!) option compromises the comfort and lumbar support of the particularly short and the particularly tall, meaning slouching and other pains prove the norm on campuses everywhere. In fact, evidence exists regarding an increase in overall academic performance correlating with heightened comfort. So that little switch may even mean raising grades in the long term!

  9. The traditional setup isn’t conducive to a tech-enabled classroom:

    An easy fix! Traditional classroom arrangements obviously don’t account for the rampant influx of technology, increasing the risk of eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Different setups mean greater connectivity and better communication between students, which should hopefully bolster overall academic performance. Try exploring the various strategies other teachers have utilized to see which one works best for your particular environment.

  10. Standing increases energy:

    Nope, the standing desk contingency doesn’t plan on stopping with the benefits of not sitting all day, every day. Even though such an arrangement burns more calories, users claim to feel far more energetic once their work sessions conclude. It makes sense, though. Sitting for extended stretches of time might prove restful, but in excess (like during the typical school or work day) actually nurses sluggishness and poor health.

  11. Allow for desk exercises:

    Understandably, budgets might not allow for the most health-and-safety-friendly desks and chairs around. Should they find themselves in an environment not terribly conducive to student comfort, a few exercises throughout the day can provide some modicum of assistance. Teaching these and offering up a few minutes to adjust (maybe even re-adjust) is the least the education system can do if inadequate desks must stand as the reality for a while longer.

  12. Sitting too much means you die sooner:

    Up to 40% faster within the span of 15 years, in fact. On average, Americans sit 9.3 hours daily, with the risk jumping up around the six hour point. The healthiest lifestyles involve less than three hours of sitting a day, combined with regular exercise — which, sadly, ceases to prove effective after the aforementioned six hours.

Posted by Staff Writers | in Education | No Comments »

The 10 Most Infamous Student Hackers of All Time

Sep. 10th 2012

Hacking has always been inherently a young person’s game. The first usage of the word “hacker” was to describe pranksters meddling with the phones at MIT. Many hackers have cited boredom, a desire for change, or the thrill of going somewhere one is not supposed to go as their motivation for hacking, all of which could apply to scores of common activities on college campuses. While today’s hacking scene is dominated by large hacking groups like Anonymous and Masters of Deception, many of the greatest hacks ever have been pulled off by college, high school, and even middle school kids who rose to infamy armed only with a computer and the willingness to cross the bounds of legality.

  1. Sven Jaschan:In the words of one tech expert, “His name will always be associated with some of the biggest viruses in the history of the Internet.” The viruses: the Sasser and NetSky worms that infected millions of computers and have caused millions of dollars of damage since their release in 2004. The man behind the viruses proved to be not even a man at all, legally. Seventeen-year-old hacker Sven Jaschan, a student at a computer science school in Germany, claimed to have created the viruses to become a hero by developing a program that would eradicate the rampaging Mydoom and Bagle bugs. Instead he found himself the subject of a $250,000 bounty courtesy of Microsoft, for which some of his classmates turned him in.
  2. Jonathan James:In 2000, at the age of 16, James, or “C0mrade” as he was known in the hacker community, infamously became the first juvenile federally sentenced for hacking. The targets of his notorious hack jobs were a wing of the U.S. Department of Defense called the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, NASA, and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. (By hacking the latter James gained the ability to control the A/C in the International Space Station.) All of these were pulled off “for fun” while James was still a student at Palmetto Senior High in Miami. Unfortunately, the fun ran out when James was tied into a massive identity theft investigation. Though insisting he was innocent, James took his own life, saying he had “no faith in the justice system.”
  3. Michael Calce:Yahoo. CNN. Ebay. Amazon. Dell.com. One by one in a matter of days, these huge websites crashed at the hands of 15-year-old Canadian high school student Michael Calce, aka “MafiaBoy.” Armed with a denial-of-service program he called “Rivolta” that overloaded servers he targeted, the young hacker wreaked $7.5 million in damages, according to court filings. Calce was caught when he fell victim to a common ailment of teenage boys: bragging. The cops were turned on to him when he began boasting in chat rooms about being responsible for the attacks. On Sept. 12, 2001, MafiaBoy was sentenced to a group facility for eight months on 56 counts of cybercrime.
  4. Kevin Mitnick:Before performing hacks that prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to declare him “the most wanted computer criminal in United States history,” Kevin Mitnick had already made a name for himself as a hacker in his school days, first at Monroe High School in LA and later at USC. On a dare, Mitnick connived an opening into the computer system of Digital Equipment Corporation, which some fellow hackers then used to steal proprietary source code from the company before ratting on him. While still on probation for that crime, Mitnick broke into the premises of Pacific Bell and had to go on the run from police in the aftermath, during which time he hacked dozens of systems, including those of IBM, Nokia, Motorola, and Fujitsu.
  5. Tim Berners-Lee:“Scandalous” is a synonym for “infamous,” and for this legendary computer scientist, knight of the British Empire, and inventor of the World Wide Web to have been a hacker in his school days is certainly a juicy factoid. During his time at Oxford in the mid-’70s, Sir Tim was banned from using university computers after he and a friend were caught hacking their way into restricted digital areas. Luckily by that time he already knew how to make his own computer out of a soldering iron, an old TV, and some spare parts. And also luckily for him, he will always be revered as the father of the Internet.
  6. Neal Patrick and the 414s:In the early ’80s, hacking was still a relatively foreign concept to most Americans. Few recognized the enormous power hackers could hijack with a few strokes on a keyboard, which explains why a young group of hackers known as the 414s (after a Milwaukee area code) were virtual celebrities after they hacked into the famous Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and elsewhere. While today hacking a lab where classified nuclear research is conducted could earn you a one-way ticket to Guantanamo, the 17-year-old ringleader and high school student Neal Patrick was on the cover of Newsweek. The group members got light sentences but prompted Congress to take a stronger role in cybercrime.
  7. Robert T. Morris:The first ever Internet worm, the Morris Worm derived its name from Cornell grad student Robert Tappan Morris. In 1988, Morris released the worm through MIT’s system to cover his tracks, which would seem to contradict his claims that he meant no harm with it. But that’s exactly what resulted: the worm spread out of control, infecting more than 6,000 computers connected to the ARPANET, the academic forerunner to the World Wide Web. The damages reached as high as an estimated $10 million, and Morris earned the ignominious distinction of being the first person prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Morris got community service but was apparently not considered too infamous to be offered his current job as a professor at MIT.
  8. George Hotz:To some, George Hotz (aka “geohot,” aka “million75,” aka “mil”) is a public menace, a threat to electronic businesses everywhere. To many, Hotz is a hero. The high-schooler shot to fame/infamy in 2007 at the tender age of 17 by giving the world its first hacked, or “jailbroken” iPhone. He traded it for a new sports car and three new iPhones, and the video of the hacking received millions of hits. Apple has had to grudgingly come to terms with jailbreaking, seeing as the courts have declared it legal, but Sony Corp. is definitely not OK with such tampering. When Hotz hacked his PlayStation 3 and published the how-to on the web, the company launched a vicious lawsuit against him. In turn, the hacker group Anonymous launched an attack on Sony, stealing millions of users’ personal info.
  9. Donncha O’Cearbhaill:According to the FBI, this 19-year-old freshman at Trinity College Dublin is one of the top five most wanted hackers in the world. Well, he was; now that he’s been arrested he’s not really “wanted” anymore. The Feds contend the young man is a VIP member of the Anonymous and LulzSec hacking groups that have already been mentioned and whose targets have included the FBI, the U.S. Senate, and Sony (in the Hotz backlash). It seems “Palladium” (O’Cearbhaill) took the liberty of listening in on a conference call between the FBI and several international police forces who were discussing their investigations of the hacking groups. He could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if convicted for that hack alone.
  10. Nicholas Allegra:Just as George Hotz moved on from the Apple hacking game, Brown University student Nicholas Allegra is also hanging up his jersey. “Comex,” as he is known to millions of rooted iPhone fans, created the simple-to-use Apple iOS jailbreaking program JailbreakMe in 2007 and has since released two newer versions of it. However, Comex seems to have gone over to the dark side, accepting an internship with the very company whose products he became famous exploiting. Still, Allegra’s hacking skills are so advanced (one author puts him five years ahead of the authors of the infamous Stuxnet worm that corrupted Iran’s nuclear facilities) and so many people availed themselves of his talents, he will forever live in hacking infamy.
Posted by Staff Writers | in Education, Technology | No Comments »