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  •  See link... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pgm 01, Matt Z

    ... above to the Jargon File.

    The good guys (White Hats) wanted to retain the term hacker for their own, and introduced the term cracker.  It never caught on, and in general, if one refers to a hacker or a cracker (which is almost never used these days), one is usually referring to a Black Hat.

    Which brings us to somewhat more modern terms.  Black Hats are those who preform malicious hacks.  White Hats are those who work on the side of maintaining systems, but have the technical knowledge to go to the dark side if they so wish.  Some may claim that the term White Hats includes those who probe system defenses and report weaknesses to the owners of those systsms; I do not consider such a person a true White Hat unless employed by the owner of the system to do so, as it is still an intrusion, causes work for the system owners, and any exploits found may be reported back to a true Black Hat hacker if a root kit or script is being used to preform the hack that has an information feed back to its author.

    The term hack itself has a lot of meanings.  It can mean a kludge, as in, "wow, that's a horrible hack, but at least the data's flowing".  It can mean an eloquent solution, as in "that is one nifty hack!"  It can mean a fast and quick solution, as in "I'll hack something to get the data flowing".  But strangely, if one is working for the good guys, one who preforms a hack will rarely refer to him/herself as a hacker anymore.

    Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. -- Neil Peart

    by JRandomPoster on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 12:21:28 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not exactly a n00b (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JRandomPoster

      White hat, black hat- thats not what I was talking about.

      More specifically, a hacker goes after systems. A cracker goes after a piece of software- usually using reverse compilation or other techniques, to circumvent DRM or other anti-copy measures.

      And yes, most white hats do not refer to themselves as hackers. "Security Consultant" seems to be in vogue.

      •  Appologies (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wezelboy

        Yep, the manner in which you use the terms is also on the mark.

        Guess I was just taking a stroll down memory lane as to the old nomenclature.

        Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand. -- Neil Peart

        by JRandomPoster on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 10:03:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  In the original sense of the term (0+ / 0-)

      hackers weren't "white hats" or "black hats", because hackers never spent their time breaking into computer systems.

      (Well, hardly ever.)

      Hacking back then was about writing software, particularly software that would then be used to write more software. Hackers wrote text editors, compilers, operating systems, and the like.

      Be the change that you wish to see in the White House.

      by Nowhere Man on Fri Jan 09, 2009 at 08:08:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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