Define: Hacker (rant)

I cannot stand the term “hacker” honestly. It is ambiguous, at best,
and derogatory, at worst.

The word comes from the old lexicon and used to refer to a person that
wrote code. Specifically, a person that got code from multiple sources
and mashed it together to create something “new” from the old sources.

At the time of writing, it has grown to encompass those that exploit a
system for any number of reasons. There are “white hat hackers” or “grey
hat hackers” or even “black hat hackers” that all live in some poorly
defined “I break things for some reason” area.

If you break WiFi to gain access to a network, you are a cracker, not
a hacker. In fact, if you break encryption of any kind, you are a cracker,
not a hacker.

If you impersonate a node, or a user, you are spoofing. This even applies
to obscuring your identifiable information online. MAC address, IP address,
even user names, you use some piece of software to obscure your information
or impersonate something, this is spoofing. Not hacking.

I could go on, but figured that this isn’t a bad place to start the discussion about what it means to be a “hacker” in this day and age.

What do you think? Am I just some old fossil that likes the old ways? Or is there merit to having terms that are specific to what someone does?



Hacker has several meanings in the technical field. In its original usage, the term refers to tinkerers in the context of a playful self-referential dedication in dealing with technology and a special sense of creativity and originality.
In everyday language and especially in reporting, the term is often used as a synonym for someone who illegally penetrates computer systems.


That is my point though, it is ambiguous. The fastest way for me to see that someone doesn’t know a thing about the industry is to use the term “hacker” to describe who could be a researcher, or pentester, or any of a number of things.


Today’s term hacker is viewed in many respects as a boor. But this is not true. As you mentioned, pentesters or those who bruteforce passwords are not hackers. They are not exploiting a system vulnerability. They try it with brute force.

Pentesting is a similar procedure to look for known vulnerabilities.


ahh not to mention,…

HACKING is one of the Special Talent of a PROGRAMMER


I agree with the point that there must be separate and logical names to a person according to what he/she does. Calling him/her a hacker who learns cybersec to improve the level of privacy is a foolish thing. Anyone can have any kind of knowledge but how they use it must define them not the knowledge itself. Like my contact from cybersec is completely dismantled thanks to my exams but still I practice it in my daily life (try to practice as much as possible). So, after all this what do you think the term “hacker” is defined as coz you mentioned about cracking, spoofing what really is hacking?

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@wother one more thing what are the demerits of someone knowing about my sysinfo. Like I know giving out info about is always a bad idea but how telling about the os you use can be harmful… coz i remember pericol denying me to tell about the thing he uses. Shine some lights on it

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@wother still waiting for an answer :innocent:

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Hacker… one who hacks. The old term referred to coders, programmers, or scripters. Those that write code. Today, it is used to describe anyone that compromises systems, but this is wrong. Mainstream sources picked up on the word “hacker” in the 90s and made it a kind of negative term for anyone who breaks things maliciously, but a hacker isn’t malicious in their nature, there are malicious hackers (sometimes called black hats) corporate hackers (sometimes called white hats) and those that don’t fit into either category (the majority, grey hats).

But hackers are tinkerers. They mess with systems that are in place, and break things. But this isn’t to cause harm, it is because of curiosity, insane curiosity.



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