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Syrian hacker lives by his own code


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Abdul-Rahman Mahaini estimates that he has stolen millions of dollars' worth of software, hacking his way into the most complex programs in the world.

For a few bucks, the Syrian programmer will unlock the security codes for any program you send him via e-mail or online chat. But do not ask him to break into your former girlfriend's e-mail account or steal sales data from your competitor.

After all, Mahaini maintains, he is an ethical pirate, a devout Muslim who prays five times a day and breaks into software only because his country is under US sanctions and he has little choice.

Mahaini's life revolves around a software shop that he runs on Bahsa Street, Damascus' computer market. The business is a hive of young men asking one another for obscure software programs and the codes and serial numbers to unlock them. They orbit around Mahaini, 26, and his deputies - a kind of cyber-Robin Hood and his Merry Men who steal from the information haves and redistribute the loot to the have-nots. "If you try to deprive me," he said, "I will take it from you."

In 2007, piracy cost the US software industry $48 billion in potential revenue, up from $40 billion the year before, according to the Washington-based Business Software Alliance. The Arab world, where in some places more than 90 percent of software is pirated, is a haven for hackers.

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I love how they always throw those statistics in the last paragraph, trying to make you feel sorry for them. Even though the stats are bullshit and they probably pulled them out of their ass.

Downloading != stealing.

If I were to steal a movie from a store, they've actually lost money for production, distribution AND don't get to sell it for a profit. Now, if I were to download a movie, which I was NOT going to buy in the first place -- I'd probably wait for it air on TV, if I couldn't download it. How does that prevent them from selling it to people who ARE willing to buy it? It doesn't, Walmart still has that copy of the movie for them.

A majority of the people downloading do the same, and will buy something if they really enjoy it. It's the assholes who do have the money to pay for the stuff, but choose not to INTENTIONALLY due to the fact they can download it. Those are the scumbags that are 'sad', and taking money from the artists etc. This is a very small percentage tho, not to mention equating for the kids who simply have no money to buy things yet.

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I'm sure some people who would have purchased software decide not to after being able to download it for free. However, I personally pay for software and music if I like the company, program, artist, song, etc. I will fully support something if I think it's worth the money.

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I'm sure some people who would have purchased software decide not to after being able to download it for free. However, I personally pay for software and music if I like the company, program, artist, song, etc. I will fully support something if I think it's worth the money.

i always consider crack/patch software (including games) as ajust a better demo trial version. some i like i buy. then i find out their free online is full of hack characters and i go back to being piss. ;)

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