Is a Cracker a Hacker?

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Monday, March 9, 2009

hackerNow how many of you have ever know who is a cracker. Without much ado I’ll tell you a bad (read: an unethical mind with bad intentions) hacker is literally referred to as a cracker. I have many who ask me questions asking the definition of a hacker vs that of a cracker. Well if you search the Wikipedia, the results for cracker gives out a crisp biscuit, Christmas cracker, the cracker music band and blah! blah! nothing related to hackers. But then I did my little research to get to the bottom of it. I came up with the simplest definition for crackers by Ari Lukumies, crackers are those who give a bad name to the hackers. To know more I would recommend you to go through Hacker Cracker: A Journey from the Mean Streets of Brooklyn to the Frontiers of Cyberspace (Hardcover). Still you might be guessing what’s exactly cracker doing in the pants of a hacker.

Hackers have always hated being alleged as those who break into security systems and harm it causing problems for numerous people. Well hackers claim the term cracker to be terrible journalistic misuse. For a person who is an hot shot in exploring programmable system would never like to be associated with hung up trespassers. The likes of GNU’s Richard Stallman, Unix creators Dennis Ritchie and Kevin Thompson, Linus Torvalds, Tim Berners-Lee and even Bill Gates would never be associate themselves with those malicious meddler who break into systems to discover sensitive information. The term cracker would better point out those with strong revulsion at the theft and vandalism aimed at cracking rings.

With so much to go, its better that we judge the nerd by his motive. To be straight we can distinguish between the terms interpreting the motive - good or bad. For someone who uses his knowledge to break into a network with no wrong intentions, say just to seek knowledge can be nomenclatured as hacker. The cracker would do the same but with an opposite motive. There’s a thin line between a hacker and a cracker carved with ethics and values. And as long as you don’t understand that, people like Ankit Fadia with lots of showmanship and great source of knowledge (read: he knows where to find what) will continue to milk by promising to make a darn good hacker out of anyone and every one.


March 10, 2009: 2:20 am

How offensive! To presume that only white people can be hackers! I mean cracker…

err. wait. That kind of cracker? Guess I’ve been listening to too much Jesse Jackson.

*slinks off into troll cave*

March 9, 2009: 7:31 pm

Hacking was/is not necessary a computer thing. As soon as you find a clever way to bypass some problem, you can say it’s a hack. Some interesting reading:
Cracking is indeed related to network security, but here lays the difference between a white-hat (cracking a system to help people improve it) and black-hat (cracking a system with a not so moraly objective…)

My 0.02$

will not be displayed