Hacker

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See also: People And Personae | Hacker-Type | Real Hacker | Phreak

An ethical person who is adept in the art of hacking, usually in the realm of computer programming. Similar to the term "gear-head" for cars.

If, as Arthur C. Clarke wrote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," then hackers are magicians.

Misuse

The term has been widely abused and mutated by recent generations. Of note, the mass media widely publicize the term Hacker as a Bad Guy. The Truly-Computer-Literate world often takes great offense to this and deflects the media use of "Hacker" to be something negative or Evil.

  • Black Hat & White Hat - another method to differentiate between malicious and benevolent. White Hat Hackers will find a hole in a remote system and inform the system administrator and take no action to harm the remote system. Black Hat Hackers do as they please. Some articles have referenced a Grey Hat for hackers that represent a middle ground.
  • "Malicious Users" - a term used by some groups including Microsoft for their PR-friendly security advisories. Other Media sources, noting that the term has already developed a negative connotation, may use "Malicious Hacker."
  • Real Hacker - used to distinguish a Hacker away from the popular media use. Everyday people who can't be expected to be in the know often misname people "hacker" or "wizard" or the like as simple praise, without understanding the Weight of those titles. Usually if a person fixes something technical well above your level of understanding, this makes him a "hacker," where he may simply be familiar with that one area.

"Hacker" term misused by the media

Benevolent

Grey-Hat

Links

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