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Just Another Tech Blog

Anything and everything having to do with technology, computers, science, and most of all... Linux! The documentation of my Linux endeavor.

Hackers: What we are/ Are Not

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The term “hacker” has a dual usage in the computer industry today, it is best defined as:

HACKER noun 1. A person who enjoys learning the details of computer systems and how to stretch their capabilities—as opposed to most users of computers, who prefer to learn only the minimum amount necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming.
Nowhere in that definition does it say anything about cracking into somebody's computer with malacious intent. Nowhere. Yet when people hear the word "hacker" they thing "bad." Of course, there are hackers who use their skills for malacious purposes, and these are know as the blackhat hackers. But really the VAST majority of hackers are just those who fit the definition above. So people, stop making rash assumptions... NOT ALL HACKERS ARE BAD! I myself, fall into the first definition of a hacker, and soon to fall into the second. Without hackers, the computer industry and the security that surrounds it would be nowhere near where we are today... so if anything, thank hackers!

That said,
Read more about the practice of ETHICAL HACKING in the IBM Systems Journal.
posted by linnerd40, Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Hello Felician,

Thank you for your article about "Hackers". The 'verse is full of people that don't know the difference between "hackers" and "crackers", and who constantly confuse the two.

There are many people who refer to "hackers" in a negative way: Such as a "hacker" is someone who plays computer games better than you, or someone who has no life, or someone who lives in a basement eating cold pizza, or someone who breaks into other people's computers stealing information, or someone with poor or underdeveloped skills, or someone who really, really sucks at golf.

In spite of these negative connotations, I consider myself to be a "hacker": Someone who could loosely be defined as a highly skilled person who puts their talents to use by solving supposedly unsolvable problems, in order to increase their knowledge and help people.

To date, I have a 100% success rate at repairing PeeCees and Macs (not 99%, or 98%, or 97% or less). I have been able to do this by solving complex non-intuitive problems in a seemingly intuitive manner. The processes and techniques that I use may not be perceived as methodical to a casual observer, but I can assure you they are.

I consider myself to be a "hacker", and therefore I cannot be defined in terms of intention or purpose, but rather by the single-mindedness of my methods. If you look in the dictionary under "persistence", you will find my name there. I am successful because I don't give up.

The reality is that I am a "hacker", not a "hack" (and definitely not a "cracker").

I believe a true "hacker" should be seen at the top of the technological hierarchy as a person who is fully capable of using a computer to the fullest extent (and/or building, and/or repairing a computer), and who knows at least three programming languages, and who has done at least one recognizable thing with them.

Myself, I am building a new browser (among other things).

I also believe that true "hackers", like me, are self-motivated, and learn through experimentation and persistence, as opposed to "traditional" methods.

A "hacker" may have the capacity to gain unauthorized access to a computer, however, he/she will only do so in order to expand the boundaries of knowledge and promote virtue.

I have personally "hacked" computers to help people. My most common "hack" is when I need to repair a computer and the user cannot remember their password (or they remember it wrong). In this case I use a Bootable CD with special software designed to remove the password protection. However, I only do this with the users knowledge and permission.

The average "hacker" probably wouldn't refer to them self as a "hacker". I am proud to.

A "cracker", on the other hand, could be described as a computer adept who is proficient at breaking software protection schemata such as keycodes, firewalls, copy protection, login scripts, etc., in order to harm people. "Hackers" help people. "Crackers" harm people. It is as simple as that.

Many thanks for your fine web log,
Don Cook, Technophile

commented by Blogger Donald, 12:47 AM  

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