What is the current deffinition of Hacker?

now, IIRC, a hacker is simply someone that writes computer code.

Then there are "black hat" and "white hat" hackers. I think this was referenced from Spy vs. Spy, but I am not sure. but anyway, I "black hat" hacker writes malicious code, and a "white hat" hacker does not.

then there are "script kiddies" that just copy and paste, without writing any original code.

at least, that is how I understand the terms.


Hacker to me is a person who can re-purpose something for their own benefit (software/hardware/anything else).

I guess someone stealing credit cards or whatever through unauthorized access may fall into this category, however the general hacker community IMO prefers to separate them into their own group and label them ‘crackers’ (or scum).

Security researchers who use their results to improve things would be an exception though.

Ex TV prime minister?


travis_farmer: not sure I follow...

I will explain later


I think you can expand your idea about hacking a bit. A hacker is not necessarily literate in computer programming or computing, neither a computer programmer necessarily knowledgeable in hacking. A hacker simply exploits human-created loop-holes for their benefit, whether the exploit involves using computers or not.

If I were a programmer, I wouldn't be happy someone thinks I'm a hacker. I would write code that do things. At least I'm making things while hackers don't.

There was a documentary I watched about network security, threats of the digital age stuff. Someone lost most of his digital life, accounts photos etc. to a hacker. The hacker simply wanted his tweeter account as a trophy something like @mat. So he/she started with an amazon payment system exploit and eventually gained access to most the victim's online accounts, destroying things here and there. There was NO programming or coding. Just simple exploits of a human-created loop-hole. Some programmers or designers may have created it but it requires no programming skills to exploit it. Anyone with a phone and computer could have done it. That is the point. Hope you don't equate programming with hacking anymore.

Robin2: Ex TV prime minister?


...and former radio manufacturers, a little like Roberts

travis_farmer: not sure I follow...

In the iconic satirical UK TV programmes "Yes Minister" and "Yes Prime Minister" the name of the Minister / Prime Minister was Jim Hacker.


travis_farmer: what about the guy that exploits loop-holes in say a corporate network, and then informs the corporation on how to close the loop-holes?

Network security researchers according to recent news coverage I got (couple guys with laptops?). There are lots of them and they get rewards from some companies openly inviting them for hacking and reporting the hacks. They have moral obligations to report the loop-holes they find TO THE PUBLIC. If the corporate they reach out to happens to ignore them, they usually will go public. I've read publications of a car remote hack. The researchers performed all sorts of hacks to gain entry to cars and drive them away, tricking the car into thinking the owner was doing it. It's a new threat to the newer smart key cars. I guess car companies aren't too happy with their findings :)

liudr: They have moral self-promotion obligations to report the loop-holes they find TO THE PUBLIC.

Fixed that for you.

You do hear a lot about people being paid by corporations to 'hack into their systems' but usually only from the people themselves, trying to advertise their services by scaring others into thinking this is a service worth paying for.

It's much less common than you might think from the media reports. It's relatively expensive and usually only finds one security hole. Most companies don't care enough about security to pay for this service and the ones that do have better methods.

A hacker is someone who does hacking. Here is a PRIME example of hacking. http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=418703.new#new

If you don't know how it works, hack it apart and keep hacking at it until you do. Once you know how something works, well knowledge is power. Whether you use that to exploit loopholes and steal data or copy a game or make tweaks to make the thing better is another matter. The hacking part is the art of figuring things out. IMHO

Delta_G: If you don't know how it works, hack it apart and keep hacking at it until you do.

I usually end up with a bunch of new and useless parts in the don't throw that away, it may come in useful drawer. (Bought 6 new drawers a few days ago :) )


"hacker" is ambiguous in modern usage. It's still used as originally intended in technical communities, but it almost exclusively is used by the media, and probably the general public, to mean some kind of malicious attacker.

"black hat" vs "white hat" are terms from the security industry; in some sense a small subset of "hackers." If you hack security issues in modern operating systems with the intent of getting them fixed and/or getting your name on research papers and/or get a job at an anti-virus company, you're a "white hat." If you're in it to steal or cause damage, you're a "black hat." The colors come from cowboy movies, according to wikipedia. (I suppose there is now additional ambiguity WRT whistle-blowers and such; the Wikileaks people probably think they are white hats, while their targets disagree. Ditto for government organizations, or whoever it was that put destructive code in Iran's nuclear fuel enhancement centrifuges.)

Here's the original definition of "hack" and "hacker", from the ARPANet jargon.txt file, circa 1980:

HACK n. 1. Originally a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well. 2. The result of that job. 3. NEAT HACK: A clever technique. Also, a brilliant practical joke, where neatness is correlated with cleverness, harmlessness, and surprise value. Example: the Caltech Rose Bowl card display switch circa 1961. 4. REAL HACK: A crock (occasionally affectionate). v. 5. With "together", to throw something together so it will work. 6. To bear emotionally or physically. "I can't hack this heat!" 7. To work on something (typically a program). In specific sense: "What are you doing?" "I'm hacking TECO." In general sense: "What do you do around here?" "I hack TECO." (The former is time-immediate, the latter time-extended.) More generally, "I hack x" is roughly equivalent to "x is my bag". "I hack solid-state physics." 8. To pull a prank on. See definition 3 and HACKER (def #6). 9. v.i. To waste time (as opposed to TOOL). "Watcha up to?" "Oh, just hacking." 10. HACK UP (ON): To hack, but generally implies that the result is meanings 1-2. 11. HACK VALUE: Term used as the reason or motivation for expending effort toward a seemingly useless goal, the point being that the accomplished goal is a hack. For example, MacLISP has code to read and print roman numerals, which was installed purely for hack value. HAPPY HACKING: A farewell. HOW'S HACKING?: A friendly greeting among hackers. HACK HACK: A somewhat pointless but friendly comment, often used as a temporary farewell. [The word HACK doesn't really have 69 different meanings. In fact, HACK has only one meaning, an extremely subtle and profound one which defies articulation. Which connotation a given HACK-token has depends in similarly profound ways on the context. Similar comments apply to a couple other hacker jargon items, most notably RANDOM. - Agre] HACKER [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] n. 1. A person who enjoys learning the details of programming 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, or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value (q.v.). 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. Not everything a hacker produces is a hack. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; example: "A SAIL hacker". (Definitions 1 to 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.) 6. A malicious or inquisitive meddler who tries to discover information by poking around. Hence "password hacker", "network hacker".

travis_farmer: at some point I intend to but a set of BINS

That seems a reasonable price for that bin unit.

However, for stuff that you rarely use I would suggest getting something with covers to keep dust out.


HACKER [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe]

There is also the bodger who uses an axe in the early stages of preparing wood for turning chair legs.

And "bodge" is often used (misused?) to mean

a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well



I am with you on those that exploit for personal gain, but what about the guy that exploits loop-holes in say a corporate network, and then informs the corporation on how to close the loop-holes?

His position in the corporation is called a "Sir Humphrey Appleby."

Tom.... :)

I guess the centrifuge code developers probably thought they were doing good while some other people would disagree.

"Oh you are a filthy criminal!" "Damn NO! I'm a patriot!"

I am disappointed to conclude that the definition of a hacker is not qualified as an objective definition that I was trying to figure out.

P.S. The conclusion of both parties in the conversation could be BOTH correct, although they themselves may not agree to that fact ;)