2011: The year hacking goes mainstream

These days, if you're not a hacker, you're probably being hacked

I've said it before and I'll say it again.This will be the year of the hacker --- or rather, the year hacking goes mainstream.

It's been brewing for quite some time. According to McAfee, a team of Chinese hackers has been infiltrating computer networks for the world's largest oil and gas companies. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that Nasdaq's network was penetrated (though not the Nasdaq market --- as far as we know). And the ongoing battle between Anonymous and the folks who are aiming to take it down is just heating up.

[ Also on InfoWorld, Cringely looks at the AOL-Huffington Post buyout and warns: The mediocre shall inherit the Web. | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]

Before you fire up your email program or leap immediately to the comments to correct me: Yes, I know -- "hacker" isn't the right word for this kind of activity. Hackers are not necessarily criminals or even evil-doers. There are white-hat, black-hat, gray-hat, and the occasional houndstooth-hatted hackers.

The appropriate word for people who attack computer systems for their own nefarious criminal purposes is "cracker." But to most people, a cracker is either s

This story, "2011: The year hacking goes mainstream" was originally published by InfoWorld.

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