Ok, I had a lot of times on my hands today, so Ive decided to write on a subject that comes up here often in the Antionline forums. It concerns the ethics, misconceptions and just general talk of hackers.
I think it is important to understand hackers in order to fight hackers. *Note: If you are uncomfortable with the term hacker being used imagine it is cracker*.
And as you know I am not a cracker but I do know crackers and I have learned to secure my OS from my experiances with them

Anyway here goes...

First up:
Definition of a hacker
Source A
Source B
Source C

Ok, Ill let you take the term you find most suitable and form your own opinion of what a hacker really is.

Hacker Skills
In order to understand hackers we need to know their skills. What can a hacker do? Well any real hacker should know their Operating System inside out. Windows users should be able to manipulate the registry and Unix users should understand their OS and how the kernal works. Here at AO there is a strong amount of Linux users, which is a better alternative OS to Windows for any aspiring hacker.
They should also know some programming language [at least two]. Many hackers are programmers, in fact some know multiple languages. Here at Antionline people have asked which are the best languages to learn. Well I think some of the most important are C/C++, Perl, java and ASM, although different people enjoy or find uses for different languages.
Windows users should have a look at batch programming and Unix users should try Shell code.

Types of Hackers
There are many types of hackers and I will try explain the vast majority of them here beginning with the good and branching into the undesirables...

Newbies are only well new to hacking, they are striving to learn and it is at this stage they decide what path they will take. A newbie could become anything if not taught early the code of the hacker. The usually go through a process of learning from their mistakes.
Neophythes are newbies who are beginning to show some knowledge and are contributing to the hacker society. Many hackers remain at this stage and few move on the 'uberhacker' status.

Lamers are the people that just wont learn, they are not interested in real hacking instead looking for easy ways to impress their freinds etc. Everything they do is accomplished without any innovative ideas, just basic copying of old exploits, tools etc.

Script Kiddies
*Ennis cringes* Yes we all them, the bottom of the hacker culture is fulll of wannabes, these malicious kids are lamers with enough knowledge to lets say, deface a site or execute DoS attacks, creat simple virii etc. They are the people that give hackers a bad name.

Black Hat
Yopu may have heard this term tossed around this forum a couple of times, Black Hats are crackers out to gain something from their computer knowledge. Basically they are the crimanals you hear about from the media.

White Hat
You guessed it, the good guys. The find holes in systems and may patch them up or warn the sites administrator. These people are the moral conscience of the hacking world.

Grey Hat
Kinda myth-like, apparently the old crackers using their skills have root on many sites but do not deface the site or cause damage. They may install backdoors and sites. They do not talk to anyone or release their exploits to other hackers.

Input from MsMittens

My understanding was someone who is a white hat but accepts or does activities occassionally that a black hat might, e.g., takes software home that belongs to the company and make copies or put backdoors on systems they are supposed to monitor.
The true hackers of the world, who have become respected pillars of knowledge in hacking cultures. They have immense ability and skill. Any self-respecting hacker aims to be a uberhacker.

Crackers come in two forms, those that deface sites for 'fame' and those who crack programs. They are malicious and not nice people. Many people believe the word hacker in the media's eyes should be changed to cracker.

Warez d00ds
People who allow other internet users to download copyrighted software of the internet for free. These people also promote porn and their sites are full of misleading links and pop-up ads.

Virus Programmers
People who create malicious in an attempt to disrupt or destroy home or business computers. These people are usually pretty good programmers just with a bit of a sick attitude.

Input from Kezil
not all virus writers are malicious, some just do it for fun or to learn about viruses
Various Hacking Culture Traits
The hacking world is full of its own oddities and set rules, Ill explain what I can here for all the Antionliners!

Flame Wars
Now we all know this one, the flame.
Anywhere when ideas are so freely expressed people are gonna get angry, forums, IRC and BBS are breeding grounds for flamers. Some are great at it [Negative] and use it wisely to point out mistakes, teach lessons, others are childish with their flames and lose general respect for it.
Anyway being sensible and not flaming others means you can avoid being flamed yourself.

1337 speak!
Yeah, I know script kiddie talk, well exactly. How can people give clear info or comminicate when you are writing with numbers. Anyway it can be a source of amusement but dont try impress anyway with this kinda talk. Lots of people here are excellent at English [grammar,grammar,grammar!] and some can speak more than one language. Why waste this talent wit this 1337 Sp3/\|<?

Microsoft Windows & Hackers
Lets face it, most people use Windows right, so bascially crackers have a field day with it's lame security.
So how can you secure yourself, well get a firewall, they cost from 0 to very costly. Try www.zonelabs.com for ZoneAlarm, a very popular choice among the people here at Antionline.
Firewalls watch your ports for attacks.
Youll also need a Virus Scanner, in this day and age when new virii are created daily, you must keep it updated also. Go to
www.symantec.com for Norton Antivirus which you will have to pay for.

The trojan
Trojans consist of a server and a program. The server is sent ot your victim which must be executed and then you can gain access to their computer. Simple but so lame.
Only script kiddies would use trojans and I advise any self-respecting human not to use these things...
To avoid getting a trojan on your PC, watch what you are downloading and get a virus scanner.

Social Engineering
Be wary of people you meet on the web, there are socail engineers on the web proving sometimes you dont need amazing hacking skills when you have people skills. Social Engineers spend lots of time perfecting the ability to manipulate admin's and users for sensitive information on a network.

And for an excellent post check out this link.
Newbies, Please Read This First - Kapperdog

Thats it.