Hackers and Crackers

This was originally on my blog, but due to the last time of losing my previous one, luckily, I have a copy from Facebook

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First, let’s define the word HACK:

HACK verb

to cut, notch, slice, chop, or sever (something) with or as with heavy, irregular blows (often fol. by up or down)

Computers. to devise or modify (a computer program), usually skillfully.

fix a computer program piecemeal until it works;

Reference: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hack

Now, what do you think is a hacker and what he does? No idea? Confused? Here’s a definition form the same reference:

Hacker noun

a person or thing that hacks.

Computer Slang.
-a computer enthusiast.
-a microcomputer user who attempts to gain unauthorized access to proprietary computer systems

One who is proficient at using or programming a computer

a programmer for whom computing is its own reward; may enjoy the challenge of breaking into other computers but does no harm;

(Deprecated) A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence “password hacker”, “network hacker”. The correct term is cracker

Reference: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hacker

Wait, have you noticed two definitions that collide with each other?? Yeah, now look at the last definition I got. Yes, the real ‘hackers’ you typically know are called CRACKERS. Getting more confused? Let me explain it further.

A hacker loves to breakdown programs, look at its code, and tries to improve it. They also enjoy or like to to break into someone else computer/server for the fun of it, or to diagnose faults and holes in the security of that certain computer/server but does not do any harm to the computer/server and the person (and will never try to look into your files for anything).

A CRACKER is person who breaks into computer systems and so harm by either stealing data, destroy data, or destroy the computer/server itself. Crackers also attempt to break down programs to either unlock the locking system of it (basically, Digital Rights Management -DRM-, and the similar protection routines) without any intention of improving the program in anyway.

And to separate the line between a hacker and a cracker, a hacker follows a CODE OF ETHICS (or at least a set of rules to abide for him to be able to have positive results and to build a good reputation), while a cracker does not really follow any (or maybe he does, but he either does not follow it, or the rules he set for himself might not be all about good things).

A hacker believes that:

The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.

– Being a hacker is lots of fun, but it’s a kind of fun that takes lots of effort.

No problem should ever have to be solved twice.

-Creative brains are a valuable, limited resource. They shouldn’t be wasted on re-inventing the wheel when there are so many fascinating new problems waiting out there.

Boredom and drudgery are evil.

-Hackers (and creative people in general) should never be bored or have to drudge at stupid repetitive work, because when this happens it means they aren’t doing what only they can do — solve new problems.

Freedom is good.

-Hackers are naturally anti-authoritarian. Anyone who can give you orders can stop you from solving whatever problem you’re being fascinated by — and, given the way authoritarian minds work, will generally find some appallingly stupid reason to do so. Authoritarians thrive on censorship and secrecy. And they distrust voluntary cooperation and information-sharing — they only like ‘cooperation’ that they control.

Attitude is no substitute for competence.

-A hacker distrusts attitude and respect competence of every kind. Hackers won’t let posers waste their time, but they worship competence — especially competence at hacking, but competence at anything is valued. Competence at demanding skills that few can master is especially good, and competence at demanding skills that involve mental acuteness, craft, and concentration is best.

Reference: How to become a hacker – http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html

Anyways, you might be asking, “then, why did people call crackers as hackers?”

I believe that the media is a powerful tool that can greatly influence people, and apparently, people accused of ‘hacking’ (well, I meant cracking) were hackers whom intruded some proprietary server to discover its security fault/holes and inform the proprietor about this so that it could get patched, but instead of a “thank you” they were sued for intruding the server. Thus, the a good hacker was then misconceived.

All hackers know what a hacker is and they look down on crackers.

Thus, I am proud to say, I AM A HACKER (well, soon enough) 🙂

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I wrote this article to support the broadening of knowledge of people in the Hacker Culture

Thanks to Eric S. Raymond for the reference I got from his site (I know, I just took it without asking, hehehe) http://catb.org/~esr/

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