Such dramatic courses of action may the public, but combating hacker crime can be problematic because there remains so much uncertainty about who is hacking and why.
The term "hacking" is usually considered negative, but many security experts don't classify attempting a cyber break-in as illegal - only the resulting crimes. What's more, there are plenty of hackers devoted to protecting . A perfect example is the hacker collective "L0pht Heavy Industries [wiki]," which met in Boston throughout the 1990s to discuss security flaws on the Internet. In 1998, the group reported to Congress that it could shut down the entire in 30 minutes. (Note: This is only partially true, because the Internet consists of disparate zones. A hacker could conceivably shut down individual Internet zones, but not all of them at the same time. Nevertheless, it was a major eye-opener for the U.S. government.)
While helpful hacking is possible, there will always be the tech-savvy among us who have bad intentions. New phenomena such as "denial-of-service" [wiki] attacks, which flood a network with traffic to slow down targeted computer systems, and "phishing [wiki]," where hackers con unsuspecting customers into entering personal information on fake , have replaced phreaking as the big cracking techniques of the day. Also, because wireless hotspots are becoming so common, hackers now are working on programs that can de-encrypt various signals and wreak havoc on corporate networks without leaving a trace.
So, where will it end? No one really knows. But as long as technology continues advancing, you can bet the imagination and skills of hackers will advance right along with it.