Hacker VS Cracker
I knew the difference for a while, but recently, I've been watching a lot of hacker-themed movies, as well as researching, and I realized that the distinction between both has diminished. When you hear either of them, most of the time you think of the annoying person behind the computer who writes viruses or the person who wants to crash the Pentagon (cyberterrorist). Though these outlooks might be valid, it shows the level of ignorance we have as a society in the technology field. In brief, a hacker is the highly computer literate person behind the keyboard who searches and studies a system to further their knowledge and to help technology move forward. A cracker on the other hand is a highly computer literate peson behind the keyboard who studies a system to gather information about a system for malicious purposes. In general, the term hacking meant changing a programs code to change the functionality. This does leave room to combine both terms, but when hacking started, it was to further technology. It wasn't until crackers wanted to do bad things with that knowledge that we needed to clear up the two terms. For example, jailbreaking or hacking an iPhone is hacking because you're taking a great tool and wanting to further it's purpose, since it's locked, you open the system up. Now if you use this knowledge to start crashing iPhones, then it's at that point you are acting as a cracker. Just from the definition, it's really due to the alumni hackers that we have the technology we have today. Yes, there are certain hackers (more like crackers) who write those annoying viruses, but that's just a stereotype and does not apply to all hackers. Why do hackers write those viruses in the first place? The answer varies from hacker/cracker to hacker/cracker. Sometimes it's because of boredom, street credit, or revenge. While others it's for educational purposes. So the distinction all comes down to what they want to profit from that exploit-knowledge or material gain/power. Some examples. Here are some notorious hackers/crackers: Comex(Nicholas Allegra)-Created JailBreakMe.com Florian Rohrweck-Leaked G+ code GeoHot(George Hotz)-Started the whole iPhone jailbreak scene Cyanogen(Steve Kondik)-Worked with hacked Anroid devices Peter Hajas-Created MobileNotifier for the iPhone Dark Tangent(Jeff Moss)-Classical hacker/Ran underground boards Chris Putnam-Created an XSS to mod Facebook to look like MySpace Mudge(Peiter Zatko)-Classical hacker/Member of CDC and L0pht Sven Jaschan-NetSky Kevin Mitnick-Classical hacker/Proprietary software Fred Cohen-Classical hacker/first virus Robert Morris-Classical hacker/first worm Kevin Poulsen-Classical hacker/Caller 102 Napster(Shawn Fanning)/Sean Parker-Napster Most of these characters wanted to further the field of computer science, even the people who wrote the viruses and worms because back then they wanted to know if they could make those things. While others were a little close to the edge and personally, I think leaking a company's code is pretty lame, but that's just me. Most of these people you probably never heard of, but some of them you can never forget. I mean how can you forget Napster. It's very hard to say which ones are hackers, so I understand why the terms are so easily clashed together. First off, the people working with jailbroken mobile devices are trying to advance the mobile technology, despite the fact that they are letting the consumer pay less for the services than they should. Also, as mentioned earlier, the classical hackers helped make the field what it is, either by creating the exploits so that we could learn in so many ways or even to know how to create safer systems. Napster is a great example actually since the main issue that's going around is copyright infringement. Though it was pretty sketchy, it certainly changed both the technology field AND the entertainment field. Regardless of what they did in the past and if they served time or got sued, they are highly respected people because of how they furthered the field of technology. And for that I can't say thanks enough. So before you call someone a terrorist, first you should get your facts straight and understand the 3 terms. For a reminder: Hacker-> wants to further technology and their own knowledge Cracker-wants to create an exploit for malicious purposes Cyberterrorist-wants to cause damage or harm to another for personal gain Thank you for reading!
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