Sunday, May 26, 2024

Hackers and Crackers

What is a Hacker and Cracker?

This is an ongoing debate and really the answer depends on who you ask. In general terms, a hacker is an “enthusiastic programmer”, and likes to “perfect technologies”. A hacker is a very productive person. They are some of the main producers of freeware found online. The hacker usually attempts to do something in the quickest and easiest way possible, – i.e. the quick and dirty way – even if it makes no sense to others, or doesn’t follow the rules. If it works, that is all that counts. Hackers like to find shortcuts. They do not like to conform to standards, and like to be different from others. In other words, they like to do things their own way, no matter how much criticism they may encounter; and they are proud of the short cuts or discoveries that they find and successfully use.

Many people confuse the term hacker with the term cracker. In fact, a hacker does not have a specific purpose or goal in mind when he/she is hacking. The hacker hacks mainly for fun or entertainment, or to play a joke, in a playful manner; whereas, the cracker has malicious intent. The cracker’s main purpose is to make life difficult for others by breaking into computer systems to steal passwords or valuable information, or to create disturbances in these systems.

Crackers pride themselves on their ability to create havoc to other users, and do not care how many people they affect.

Confused here is another explanation: crackers are those who give hackers a bad name (because most of the people cannot distinguish the two). Somebody who breaks into other’s computer systems, or digs into their code (in order to make a copy-protected program run, for example) is a cracker. Then, someone who’s really good at what he does with computers, is called a hacker. A hack, in software circles, is a quickly written short piece of code that makes something work. It may not be beautiful to look at, but it makes things function.

So, really, the definition of a hacker does not refer to whether someone uses his knowledge to break into a network for good or bad reasons, but if the person sought knowledge just for the joy of seeking, or whether he sought knowledge only to use it.

You also get terms like “White Hat” and “Black Hat” there are commanly defined as:

“…white hat describes a hacker (or, if you prefer, a cracker) 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.”

“…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.”

Back To Computer Section Home Page

Comments are closed.