Hacking is an unauthorized intrusion into a computer or a network. Hackers illegally bypass a computer’s security features in order to accomplish a goal that differs from the original purpose of the system. Many technologically savvy students become hackers and use hacking as a form of 21st-century vandalism. They like the challenge of seeing if it can be done. Other hackers have more insidious motives, using their hacking skills to steal money, alter transportation systems, and learn government secrets. Since computers were unheard of in Bible times, does the Bible say anything that applies to hacking?
Hacking is a digital form of breaking and entering. Instead of invading a home or business, hackers invade computer systems. Computers store private data, vital statistics, and sensitive information, so it is a gross violation of privacy and decency to hack into someone’s computer. It is also a violation of the Golden Rule, which says, “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12). We all have areas of our lives that are not open to public scrutiny. Since we would not want our privacy invaded, we should never invade the privacy of someone else.
Hacking also violates God’s command against theft (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 19:11). Hackers often steal personal information and use it for their own selfish reasons. Except in those cases when hacking is initiated by law enforcement in the pursuit of justice, hacking is not defensible. Hacking is rarely done for the good of the one being hacked. Hacking violates the principle of Philippians 2:3, which says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” If we valued others above ourselves, we would never hack into their computer systems.
There are times when hacking may be necessary to save lives or property. Sometimes only hackers can catch other hackers, so law enforcement utilizes the hacking skills of technologically gifted people to stop hackers with evil intent. Hackers that infiltrate banks, government agencies, or credit card companies must be stopped before millions of dollars of damage has been done. National safety can also be compromised when hackers have infiltrated top secret files. However, hackers willing to use their skills for the good of others can figure out how and where the infiltration occurred and stop it in its tracks. When the skills required for hacking are used to protect and serve, then society is benefitted. When they are used for selfish, dishonest purposes, the result is sin.