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Thread: What is a hacker?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Question What is a hacker?

    As time passes by from when the first beads on the abacus started moving along, then the first electrons through the first computer, we had hackers. I hear you say, how can you hack an abacus? But this is where you are wrong.

    To me what is a hacker?
    After research on this subject i have come to many different meanings and uses of this word. And many will agree that most meanings either insult hackers or really are far from the meaning at all. The following are definitions taken from the internet. (definition of hacker)
    A slang term for a computer enthusiast, i.e., a person who enjoys learning programming languages and computer systems and can often be considered an expert on the subject(s). definition of hacker)
    The hacker on the other hand is an individual who yearns for knowledge. The hackers are very knowledgeable individuals. They often times know several programming languages, work extensively with the inwards and outwards of UNIX, have a firm understanding of all the TCP/IP implementations and protocols. They keep abreast on all the security related issues involving computers. Breaking into a system for a hacker is a thrill, it is a challenge that they take on. (definition of black hat)
    Black hat is used to describe a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent. Unlike a white hat hacker, the black hat hacker takes advantage of the break-in, perhaps destroying files or stealing data for some future purpose. The black hat hacker may also make the exploit known to other hackers and/or the public without notifying the victim. This gives others the opportunity to exploit the vulnerability before the organization is able to secure it. (definition of cracker)
    The definition of a cracker is one who attempts to break into a system using techniques that he does not fully understand. Most of the crackers are young teenage punks who are very malicious and seek to get their kicks from destroying or alternating data on a system. (definition of white hat hacker)
    White hat describes a hacker who identifies a security weakness in a computer system or network but, instead of taking malicious advantage of it, exposes the weakness in a way that will allow the system's owners to fix the breach before it is can be taken advantage by others (such as black hat hackers.) Methods of telling the owners about it range from a simple phone call through sending an e-mail note to a Webmaster or administrator all the way to leaving an electronic "calling card" in the system that makes it obvious that security has been breached.
    While white hat hacking is a hobby for some, others provide their services for a fee. Thus, a white hat hacker may work as a consultant or be a permanent employee on a company's payroll. A good many white hat hackers are former black hat hackers. (definition of script kiddie)
    Script kiddy (sometimes spelled kiddie) is a derogative term, originated by the more sophisticated crackers of computer security systems, for the more immature, but unfortunately often just as dangerous exploiter of security lapses on the Internet. The typical script kiddy uses existing and frequently well-known and easy-to-find techniques and programs or scripts to search for and exploit weaknesses in other computers on the Internet - often randomly and with little regard or perhaps even understanding of the potentially harmful consequences. Hackers view script kiddies with alarm and contempt since they do nothing to advance the "art" of hacking but sometimes unleashing the wrath of authority on the entire hacker community.

    Summary (Of the definition of the word hacker)

    Through my interpretation, and experience in the industry. A hacker is a very curious individual, yearning for information and knowledge. (and computers has a big source of knowledge (once you learn more, you find out you have so much more to learn)). Notice how it involves learning. as mentioned in the script kiddie definition they use well known exploits and methods, they do not want to learn the working or even know about programming. And access you are saying, but alas you can be a hacker without having access to the outside world at all. (if you can handle it) Hacking to me is just loving and learning more about computers.

    when it come to comprimising computer security, yes i do it, and yes i like it. But in very controlled environments. (comprimising security is useful in learning how to secure and help others to secure their systems from attacks) Most hackers do comprimise security. But unless you do it on a wargame, your own private lan, a dedicated lan set up by friends, you my friend are a cracker.

    But then again you are on AntiOnline a security website so we are all hackers in a way, but just remember the line between hacker/cracker white/black hat is pretty big. so please no excuses.

    Hope i was a help.

  2. #2
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Wrong! My dictionary cleary says:


    \Hack"er\, n. One who, or that which, hacks. Specifically: A cutting instrument for making notches; esp., one used for notching pine trees in collecting turpentine; a hack.
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    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
    Thats from a tutorial I wrote like in 11-05-2001 but somehow I remembered it might fit in here, nice work man. Man Ive been here a long ass time.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    this is what my dictonary gives

    hacker (hacking)[1] .

    A hacker is someone who is able to manipulate the inner workings of computers, information, and technology.

    Consider Arthur C. Clark's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Since normal people have no clue as to how computers work, they often view hackers with suspicion and awe (as magicians, sorcerers, witches, and warlocks). This suspicion leads to the word "hacker" having the connotation of someone up to no good.

    History: The word "hacker" started out in the 14th century to mean somebody who was inexperienced or unskilled at a particular activity (such as a golf hacker).

    In the 1970s, the word "hacker" was used by computer enthusiasts to refer to themselves. This reflected the way enthusiasts approach computers: they eschew formal education and play around with the computer until they can get it to work. (In much the same way, a golf hacker keeps hacking at the golf ball until they get it in the hole).

    Furthermore, as "experts" learn about the technology, the more they realize how much they don't know (especially about the implications of technology). When experts refer to themselves as "hackers", they are making a Socratic statement that they truly know nothing. For more information on this connotation, see ESR's computer enthusiast "Jargon File".

    Key point: Today if you do a quick search of "hacker" in a search engine, you will still occasional uses of the word in senses used in the 1400s and 1970s, but the overwhelming usage in the 1990s describes people who break into computers using their sorcerous ways. Likewise, the vast majority of websites with the word "hack" in their title refer to illegitimate entry into computer systems, with notable exceptions like (for golf).

    Controversy: The computer-enthusiast community does not like using "hacker" to describe malicious people; they prefer "cracker". The security-community restricts the use of the word "cracker" to some who breaks encryption and copy-protection schemes.

    Consequently, a journalist who writes about cybercriminals cannot use either word without hate mail from the opposing community claiming they are using the word incorrectly. If a journalists writes about hackers breaking into computers, they will receive hate-mail claiming that not all hackers are malicious, and the that the correct word is "cracker". Likewise, if they write about crackers breaking into computers, they will receive hate-mail claiming that crackers only break codes, but its hackers who break into systems. The best choice probably depends upon the audience; for example one should definitely talk about malicious crackers in a computer-enthusiast magazine like Linux Today.
    Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
    Being one myself I kind of have to view it differently. And NO i'm a white hat, I use hacking for the reverse enginnering aspect because as someone said "You can't stop a hacker without being one yourself"


    A person who views that all information should be free and uses their vast knowledge of computer systems to gain access to a network without permission. They do not harm the data they mainly break in just to see if they can.

    Thats my go at it basically.
    .: Tech Hit :.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Originally posted here by darkinferno9908
    Being one myself I kind of have to view it differently. And NO i'm a white hat, I use hacking for the reverse enginnering aspect because as someone said "You can't stop a hacker without being one yourself"


    A person who views that all information should be free and uses their vast knowledge of computer systems to gain access to a network without permission. They do not harm the data they mainly break in just to see if they can.

    Thats my go at it basically.
    So what would you call someone who broke into something for the purpose of harming data?

    My definition is that a cracker is a person that breaks into something. A hacker on the other hand is a person who hacks code to get it to do something it was not previously designed to do. Like, hack linux to run on a linksys router or something like that. There is a conceived negative connotation on the word these days. I remember when hacker was someone who hacked code and a cracker was someone who broke the copyright protection in software. Ahh, how things change.

  7. #7
    So what would you call someone who broke into something for the purpose of harming data?
    Black Hat

    and come on guys, this has been discussed in over a thousand times here, don't dig up ld thread and start over again, use the search engine.

    btw: zENGER is right on the definition.....the work Hacker lost its meaning these days, it's the medias fault.
    O.G at A.O

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Being one myself I kind of have to view it differently. And NO i'm a white hat
    Oh yes, you are a very 1337 h4x0r. One with a pretty Wh173 H47!

    "Being one myself"... that's funny, sorry.
    Space For Rent.. =]

  9. #9
    Elite Hacker
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Some words are hard to define. Hacker seems to have taken on quite a bit of definitions. I say you make it mean whatever you think it means. Can't be much worse than the other definitions .

  10. #10
    AO's Mr Grumpy
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Originally posted here by darkinferno9908
    as someone said "You can't stop a hacker without being one yourself"
    Do you only apply this saying from someone? only to the word "hacker" or to other situations

    i.e " you can't stop a thief, burglar, murderer, terrorist, abuser, etc without being one yourself

    Originally posted here by zENGER
    So what would you call someone who broke into something for the purpose of harming data?
    A criminal

    If the something is my house, and the data is my passport , driving licence etc. What would you call it?
    Computer says no
    (Carol Beer)

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