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Programmed For Success!
Yet, his program has its critics. "I realize that the program can also mean cloaking hackers, even the bad ones," Rishi counters. "However, any smart hacker would
be able to cover his or her tracks in better ways." As CyberSpacersTM already know,
there is a world of difference between 'Good' hackers and 'Bad' hackers.
Rishi Bhat, perhaps better than anyone, makes it simple to understand:
"Essentially, I would call 'bad' hacking - intrusive and destructive hacking. This sort
of hacking involves gaining unauthorized access and then using those new privileges
in a destructive manner. Conversely, 'good' hacking often refers to security research - researching the bugs in software, and pointing them out before it's too late. This enables the software manufacturers and/or system administrators to fix the holes before anyone with malicious intent finds out about them.
"Also, gaining unauthorized access without doing any damage, certainly isn't harmful to anyone and can't really be called "bad" -- but can't be labeled "good" either. This type of hacking, however, is often driven by the mere curiosity of whether or not gaining access would be possible. This can be used as a valuable learning experience."
Hacking as a learning experience? Rishi candidly admits: "I broke into my school's grade storage system when I was in 4th grade. No real reason, I didn't change any records or even look at my classmates' grades, I just wanted to see if it was possible."
As his knowledge of the Web increased, Rishi went searching for 'possible' answers
on issues relating to Internet privacy.
"I realized that there was this problem of privacy on the Internet," Rishi tells CyberSpacersTM in an exclusive interview. "That is, companies and individuals were gathering and bartering information from online users in a non-consensual manner.
"Since I feel very strongly that the right of privacy should be guaranteed to all
Internet users, I developed some anonymous web-surfing software. Shortly thereafter,
I realized that the idea might be marketable. I went ahead and designed a Web site,
set up a credit card processing account, and rented space on a Web server. I then
brought in a classmate of mine to design a logo, added it to the page, and put
the SiegeSoft Web site online."
Soon, Rishi had customers buying his software at $50 a pop. Working in his family's
basement office, dad is a metallurgical engineer, mom an architect-turned-psychologist,
Rishi's early success had his parents a bit mystified.
"He's was 14 years old," his mother, Rita, recalls, "and I'm calling him to come upstairs for dinner. But he's yelling, 'Hold on, hold on - I have another customer on the line.' And I'm thinking, 'nice imagination my son has.' "
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