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Definition of a hacker

In the media the word "hacker" is often used, for what I would call a "cracker", someone that breaks into systems to damage it or for the purpose of getting illegitimate access to resources. A definition for hacker is found in The Hacker FAQ by Peter Seebs.

Ari Lukumies wrote:

From the Hacker Dictionary

hacker: [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] n. 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in `a UNIX hacker'. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. 7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. 8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence `password hacker', `network hacker'. See cracker.

It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly welcome. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in identifying yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not, you'll quickly be labeled bogus).

Are you a cracker if you break into a system for finding security holes?

Someone wrote me the following question: My replied to this was:


A good site about hackers is hacker's Wisdom. You can also read my personal life as a hacker.

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