August 5, 2003

Hackers Explained

Pieter berg writes "We are hackers. The term "hacker" originally meant someone who understood computers deeply; however, as computers became popular, the media used hacker to refer to those who committed computer crimes, and so the population at large learned the term in the context of the computer criminal. This bothered us ethical hackers, so we began calling malicious hackers "crackers" in order to differentiate them from us. So far, it hasn't worked very well most people outside the computer security world don't understand the difference.

After much contemplation, we have decided to use the term hackers to refer to anyone who would break into your computer systems because we're not differentiating their motivations. It doesn't matter to us whether the hacker is malicious, joyriding, a law enforcement agent, one of your own employees, an ethical hacker you've paid to attempt to break into your network, or even one of your humble authors. This article is about keeping everyone out. We use the term hacker because it encompasses all these motivations, not just those of the malicious cracker."



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