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Is hacking always wrong?

Cybersecurity is an important part of a connected world and can often be problematic. Individuals, corporations, and governments have been victims of hacking. In order to identify and prosecute hackers, repair the damage done to their networks, and prevent future attacks, they often turn to other hackers. Can two wrongs make a right?


U.S. Recovers Some Of The Ransom Paid To Colonial Pipeline Hackers

Additional resources to think about

Justice Department Charges 3 North Korean Hackers for Global Cyberattacks
This NPR story details the indictments of the "world's leading 21st century nation-state bank robbers."

Cyber Lab
Play this game from NOVA and learn first-hand how social media companies handle (or don't) cybersecurity issues.

Cybersecurity | UN Office of Counter-Terrorism
Learn about the United Nations' cybersecurity initiatives and their "cybersecurity challenge."

Why can't films and TV accurately portray hackers?
The writer/producer of the drama Mr. Robot shares how the series used hackers as consultants to accurately portray hacking on-screen.

Hackers & Cyber Attacks | Crash Course
In this video from Crash Course Computer Science, Carrie Anne looks into the difference between black hat and white hat hackers and common ways they get into computer systems.

Not All Hackers Are Evil | Time Magazine
Hacking and security consultant Katie Moussoruis writes about positive outcomes from hacking and how one government program has the potential to create the next generation of cybersecurity experts - through hacking.

How the U.S. Cracked Into One Of The Most Secretive Terrorist Organizations
Listen to members of Operation Glowing Symphony explain how they helped the United States use hacking to combat the terrorist group ISIS.


Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?


What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)? 
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • What's the emotional appeal? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?


Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2021, Center for Media Literacy,


Is hacking always wrong?

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