I am a senior computer science major at Loyola Marymount University, and am appalled at the congratulatory tone of your article on computer hackers ("The Hacker's World" by Paul Ciotti, Nov. 14).
Most anyone would admit that I am very much "caught up in computing for the sake of computing," as Doug Schafer of Caltech put it. However, I possess a quality that all of these hackers lack: a sense of professionalism and of ethics.
If a misguided teen were to take his parents' (let alone someone else's) several-thousand-dollar car out for an unauthorized spin, and crashed it, he would be in for some serious trouble. But when a no-less-misguided hacker takes the multibillion-dollar DARPA-net out for a "spin" and crashes it, he is patted on the back, told he has demonstrated "an amazing display of computer mastery."
I am certain that there are many professionals in the field who feel, as I do, that no hack is "a terrific hack," regardless of its author's intent. Unfortunately, though, with professors such as Ellis Horowitz at USC openly admiring the work of these hackers, it is no wonder that we have seen such an alarming increase in the offenses perpetrated by these so-called computer "geniuses."
ROBERT J. KOSKOVICH
Marina del Rey