Thursday, February 17, 2011

What is a Hacker?

Hacker is a term used to describe different types of computer experts, who employ a tactical, rather than strategic, approach to computer programming, administration, or security. An exception to the expert sense is use of the term by the popular media and the general population to mean "computer criminal," with no indication of level of skill, expertise, or understanding implied. In the field of computer security, hacker translates to a person able to exploit a system or gain unauthorized access through clever tactics and detailed knowledge. In computer programming, hacker means a programmer who hacks or reaches a goal by employing a series of small changes or additions to exploit or extend existing code or resources. In technical fields outside of computing, hacker is sometimes extended to mean an expert who has particularly detailed knowledge or cleverly circumvents limits." -

                        In common usage, a hacker is a person who breaks into computers, usually by gaining access to administrative controls.The subculture that has evolved around hackers is often referred to as the computer underground. Proponents claim to be motivated by artistic and political ends, and are often unconcerned about the use of criminal means to achieve them.
Hacker attitudes

Several subgroups of the computer underground with different attitudes and aims use different terms to demarcate themselves from each other, or try to exclude some specific group with which they do not agree. Eric S. Raymond advocates that members of the computer underground should be called crackers. Yet, those people see themselves as hackers and even try to include the views of Raymond in what they see as one wider hacker culture, a view harshly rejected by Raymond himself. Instead of a hacker – cracker dichotomy, they give more emphasis to a spectrum of different categories, such as white hat (ethical hacking), grey hat, black hat and script kiddie. In contrast to Raymond, they usually reserve the term cracker to refer to black hat hackers, or more generally hackers with unlawful intentions.

White hat

A white hat hacker breaks security for non-malicious reasons, for instance testing their own security system. This type of hacker enjoys learning and working with computer systems, and consequently gains a deeper understanding of the subject. Such people normally go on to use their hacking skills in legitimate ways, such as becoming security consultants. The word 'hacker' was originally used to describe people such as these.

Grey hat

A grey hat hacker is a hacker of ambiguous ethics and/or borderline legality, often frankly admitted.

Black hat

A black hat hacker is someone who subverts computer security without authorization or uses technology (usually a computer or the Internet) for vandalism (malicious destruction), credit card fraud, identity theft, intellectual property theft, or other types of crime.

Script kiddie

A script kiddie is a non-expert who breaks into computer systems by using pre-packaged automated tools written by others. These are the outcasts of the hacker community. Also referred to as a Skiddiot.


A hacktivist is a hacker who utilizes technology to announce a social, ideological, religious, or political message. In general, most hactivism involves website defacement or denial-of-service attacks. In more extreme cases, hactivism is used as tool for Cyberterrorism.

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