Definition confirmation (please read)...

From: Fred Cisin <>
Date: Wed Aug 4 18:42:35 1999

There never used to be any "argument".
The term is NEUTRAL. There is no implication of criminal, nor "hero",
merely an indication of expertise and temperament.

The term "cracker" does not derive from any one individual's "handle", but
merely referred to one who "cracked" security.

But then, in the VERY recent past (what is now being called "years back"
or "long ago"), the news media (a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be first
against the wall when the revolution comes), first encountered pranksters,
vandals, etc. getting involved with computers. The miscreants that they
encountered called THEMSELVES "hackers", simply as a boastful
self-appellation. The news people were simply too dumb to understand, or
maybe assumed that the only possible outlet of genious would be criminal.
People like Levy in his "Hackers" book tried to explain, but by 1984 it
was too late.

Note: the mafia call themselves "businessmen". Do we now associate
the word "businessmen" with criminal behavior?

Grumpy Ol' Fred
On Wed, 4 Aug 1999, Aaron Christopher Finney wrote:
> Years back...
> I did a paper on "hackers" for a Computer Sociology class a few years ago.
> In my research, I came across some really interesting articles that, even
> in 1984 (when they were written), were arguing what the real definition of
> "hacker" is. They described the early MIT "hackers", many of whom became
> so wrapped up in their projects that they never bothered to fulfill their
> degree requirements. And those who were breaking into sophisticated,
> secure systems for the pure joy and challenge. And those committing all
> kinds of crimes with their particularly malicious kind of genius. So
> people didn't really know what a hacker was 15 years ago either.
> As I recall, the term "cracker" came from that guy who's name I never
> remember (my mind is like a sieve) that used the handle "The Cracker" -
> the one who broke into and then set up accounts and private forums on
> systems for his buddies - on Compuserv, right? I can see the hands of half
> the people reading this shooting up to shout his name...
> There's been a lot of PC-thug pressure to make "hacker" into some kind of
> superhero working for the good of society and the pure love of computing
> and make "cracker" into some kind of maniac bent on the senseless
> destruction of innocent computers everywhere. Then the issue is clouded
> further by other terms like script-kiddies, cypherpunks, etc.
Received on Wed Aug 04 1999 - 18:42:35 BST

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