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The Media

2 Views of Hackers 155

zonker writes "CNN has an interesting perspective on hacking with two opposing yet, somewhat complementary views. They have an interview with 2600's Emmanuel Goldstein vs. IBM's Charles Palmer. Goldstein tries to explain the hacker ethic and big media's clueless portrayal of 'hackers' in general. Palmer draws hackers in a more corporate eye. Draw your own conclusions."
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2 Views of Hackers

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  • It would be pathetic to not understand that alias... Hopefully it's a higher percentage than .5%...

  • by redial+1 ( 233747 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @08:14AM (#742538)
    "But if a stranger came into your house, looked through everything, touched several items, and left (after building a small, out of the way door to be sure he could easily enter again), would you consider that harmless?" - Charles Palmer

    Let's just say my house is e*trade.

    Number one, I lock my house, I hope you lock your house. So in order to get in you probably have to find that open window on the third floor that someone left unlocked. I leave it unlocked because, hell, no one's come in it before, why lock it. So we aren't talking about just walking in the front door anymore.

    Now lets say that in my house (e*trade) I store your personal and financial information. You know that my third floor window is open, you even tell me on more than one occasion that I should probably lock it. I hear you, but just blatantly and recklessly ignore you. So, you break in to my house and wander around, realizing that anyone could have done this. I come home and find a big note on my front-door, it says, I came into your house, but don't worry, I locked the window when I left.

  • When put in the way you put it I have to change my thinking some! Maybe there needs to be a paradigm shift withe the hackers that do not want to be associated withe the vandals and criminals. I do not know if or how that would happen though. I guess I will just have to continue to definr hacker everytime I use it to people so I do not get lumped into the group I do not want to be associated with.
  • It's film at 11, not news.

    And I think I did pretty damn good considering I'm just an uneducated 20 year old slob *cough* *cough*.

    But since your bio says you're a linguistics graduate.. maybe you could enlighten the dung-flinging masses out here with your wisdom on the subject.. instead of just tearing into people and being a elitist pseudo-intellectual.


  • Ya see what I have to put up with in a week? *sigh*


  • Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I thought slashdot was a forum for technology-related news and information.
    I never realised it was supposed to be a forum for criminals and the arseholes who romanticise them. My mistake obviously. Perhaps the masthead shoul;d be changed to "Stuff for criminals. Felonies that matter" in that case...
    You arse!

    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • Still, it's better than if he were to use the name Winston Smith. The people who recognize the reference might wonder about how sure of himself he is.
  • And in other news, someone has just worked out how to cut up a furby [phobe.com].

  • My sincerest apologies to Queen Vaseline. However, Princess Amygdala, Duchess Amygdala, and all similar non-Queen names just didn't sound right.

  • So, it's still an interesting article and I am glad they posted it, because otherwise, I wouldn't have known about it. I'm sure 95 percent of the people here would say the same.
  • I guess what bothered me the most was that Palmer had a chance to introduce his credentials, and even make a plug for his consulting business, advertising what they're doing, etc. It just struck me that he's in the business of stopping 'them pesky and dangerous, illegal hackers,' Of course he's going to say they're illegal. The more people fear system intrusions (done by anybody, regardless of what you call them), the more they're going to pay for his services...
  • This idea that we live in a world of "Big Business versus the hacker" is overly simplistic. Yes, the relationship sometimes seems strained, but not in a remote warring/adversarial sort of way --- it's more like the strains of a marriage!

    The fact of the matter is that Big Business relies on us utterly. You can put as many venture capitalists, directors, managers, lawyers and politicians together as you like, and not one useful product of the modern age will emerge from their combined talents. In contrast, we produce things that the whole modern world uses as a matter of course, whether or not we're paid to do it. They are merely facilitators for our work and nothing else, and we work for them because we want to be "facilitated" --- more toys please!! :-)

    Given this basic symbiotic relationship, they really can't get rid of hackers (hardware or software), because hackers are merely the higher profile representatives of the technical community as a whole. If they tried to clamp down it would very much throw away the baby with the bathwater, because at heart virtually every techie is a hacker and feels for the famous ones. And it's very counter-productive to piss off a good techie, because the world is currently our oyster and becoming ever more so. Moving to another job is almost always synonymous with a pay increase; our skill sets tend to grow with each new employment.

    So, if you hear Big Business saying nasty things about us, read between the lines to see who actually wrote them. Almost always it'll be the lawyers and business managers who think they are in control but are utterly clueless about the real underpinnings of their tech-based industry. They're the telephone sanitizers that were packed off in the 'B' Ark in Hitchhikers, although I suspect Douglas Adams was perhaps a little too generous in his portrayal.

    We can afford to ignore them, just like the non-public "real" Big Business does, ie. ignoring its own public statements and doing whatever it must in order to keep the cash flow flowing. (For example, paying lip service to the music/film studios while producing MP3 and multi-region capable DVD players in vast quantities.)

    That's the real world. The paper pushers think they hold a spoon, but those that actually produce the goods in the billion-dollar industries know that it's just hot air.

    The real pecking order in this world is not the one that makes the evening news. The only reason why this is not all that obvious is that the average techie is a bit of a sleeper and so his or her power is latent. I rather suspect that waking that power by being too nasty to us is not in the best interests of Big Business. The modern gold is tech, and we have the Midas touch.
  • If you've spent any time here, you know damn well that the real definition of 'hacker' has nothing to do with criminal activity. I won't dignify your attitude with more response than that.
  • Well, here's my take on all this. (I know I'm probably not saying anything new, but here it is anyway.) It seems to me that, as the hacker community has grown and evolved over the past couple of decades, it has broken into splinter groups - factions, if you will - each espousing their own definition of the term "hacker" - each with their own spin on what the true hacker ethic is. Getting these factions to agree on the meaning of "hacker" is probably akin to getting the republicans and the democrats to agree on the best health care plan.

    Instead of defining and redefining the term "hacker," I would like to see someone develop a comprehensive taxonomy of the hacker community. I someone has done this, I'd like to know about it.
  • I recall from my own personal memory that even in the early 90's there was a debate over this - during the BBSing days. This would be circa 1992. One thing is certain - this isn't a new issue.

    When I started using computers in school (1981), it was the Apple ][. Arcade games were popular, and games similar to their popular arcade counterparts were sold for the Apple computer on copy protected media.

    A copy of the game was said to be cracked when it was duplicated to a standard format disk with modifications so that it would run from the standard disk instead of the original copy protected format. The "crackers" who did these deeds almost always added a startup screen early in the boot process that proclaimed their deeds. The word "cracked" was universally used in these startup screens.

    As a display of their great skills, the "crackers" would greatly compress their images, usually with custom coded compression (8 bit 6502 asm code), and display them very early in the boot process, so that the image would appear almost immediately. Great effort was expended in these start up screens, some even animated through the boot process. Every "cracker" wanted whoever got ahold of their work to know who "cracked" it, even though only though a useless alias name.

    Everyone I knew who was "into computers" wanted to learn how to "crack" protected disks. Sometime in about '85 ot '86, I went to some user group meetings. There was a guy there who supposedly was a "cracker" and there was much interest in a seminar or workshop about cracking.

    Towards the end of my high-school days (1988), I became pretty good with assembly and I was given a copy of "beneth apple dos", and together with lots of text files downloaded from "cracking BBSs", I eventually learned how to "crack" many of the current protection schemes. I never created any of those silly startup screens!

    The one computer teacher at the school (who did know a tiny bit of pascal and could do simple things in applesoft basic) saw some lame show on TV and believed that "cracking" applied to modem based activities, and "hacking" refered to non-network jobs, including breaking copy protection. My believe was more or less the opposite. We had a long arguement... the fact that virtually every single pirated program had a startup image saying "cracked by XXXX" obviously meant nothing compared to the obviously true documentary as seen on TV.

    So maybe I was wrong, but it's a fact that the word "cracked" was used on all those little startup images on hundreds of de-protected games. The 80's are ancient history now-a-days, but indeed the word "crack" was certainly in widespread use way back then.

    The word "phreaking" (or something similar) was commonly used (1980's) to refer to telephone mods used to get free phone calls or other phone system tricks. I read about these things, but I had little interest and it seemed quite risky.

  • he should read 1984 because it's one of the best books ever written. Let me add that "1984" should be read in English. I first read it in spanish, and the translations on Newspeak weren't quite as powerful as in the original English.

    Having said that, I'll recommend "A brave new world", too.

  • Interesting definitions on "hacker" and "cracker"

    A slang term for a computer enthusiast. Among professional programmers, the term hacker implies an amateur or a programmer who lacks formal training. Depending on how it used, the term can be either complimentary or derogatory, although it is developing an increasingly derogatory connotation. The pejorative sense of hacker is becoming more prominent largely because the popular press has coopted the term to refer to individuals who gain unauthorized access to computer systems for the purpose of stealing and corrupting data. Hackers, themselves, maintain that the proper term for such individuals is cracker.




    Give Us Your

    (1) To break into a computer system. The term was coined in the mid-80s by hackers who wanted to differentiate themselves from individuals whose sole purpose is to sneak through security systems. Whereas crackers sole aim is to break into secure systems, hackers are more interested in gaining knowledge about computer systems and possibly using this knowledge for playful pranks. Although hackers still argue that there's a big difference between what they do and what crackers do, the mass media has failed to understand the distinction, so the two terms -- hack and crack -- are often used interchangeably.

    (2) To copy commercial software illegally by breaking (cracking) the various copy-protection and registration techniques being used.

  • OK, I don't want to get too involved in this discussion, but I just have to say this:

    Sorry, but one of the sense of "hacker" IS "someone who break security". It's only recently that people have decided that they don't like the criminal aspect to that behavior, and so are trying to chop off that definition and place it into "cracker".
    Shouldn't that say, "...and so are trying to hack off that definition..."?

  • aparently the crackers ^H^H^H^H^H^H hackers ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H er...criminals ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H folks who broke into slashdot are more devious than we thought.

    they must have reset all the system dates!

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • nuff said.

    note to self: preview button.

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • This shows CNN interviewer stupidity, and IBM guy's too.

    There would be almost no attacks if software and administration were done with security in mind.

    This IBM lewser recommends firewalls. It may prevent many things, but why were the servers unsecure on the first place! You can filter packets on each server. You can close unused services (ie. rpc, anon ftp, nfs). You can have a decent account and password policy. You can use heavy crypto. You can stop using telnet and the such.

    What remains are just a very small part of the problem!

  • Sourcerors.

    'Nuff said.
    "I already have all the latest software."

  • So, you propose turning over control of the english language to the media? So what if there defenition is deferent than mine, I'm not about to start using some media buzzword defenition of the word hacker, when a more acurate defenition exists. Someone who breaks into computers, and destroys personal property, is by my defenition a criminal.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @08:28AM (#742560)
    I suppose you would also recommend that the possessive form of "it" should be "it's" since that's what most people use, too?

    We're the techies and the geeks here. This is our profession, this is our playground. As with any profession, we have our own set of jargon. A set of jargon which is frequently screwed up and misrepresented by the general public.

    In the same way that your doctor groans whenever you walk into the office proclaiming what ills you (but showed up anyway) and requesting a specific remedy without letting him do his job, computer geeks get incensed when you use the wrong term, poorly describe the problem, and then become belligerant that your solution is The One that'll work.

    I don't tell doctors what to call Ecoli or what a phage is, so I don't expect them to tell me what a computer virus is or how the linux kernel works.

    We defined this set of jargon, and it's up to US, not THEM to determine its use. If they screw it up, that's their fault, not ours. If it leads to miscommunication and disinformation it is THEIR fault, NOT ours. If they are muddling in the affairs of computer professionals and using terms without knowing what they mean, they deserve to be flammed for it. They're doing the world a disservice.

    We use jargon to effect rapid communication between others in the profession. While it may seem elitist to create a language for solely our use, consider the alternative - using existing language. We have acronyms and words to describe *exactly* what we are thinking. Go and start changing that around and you'll have a communication problem.

    It's our duty to correct this problem before we find ourselves speaking each in different dialects. This is a matter of linguistics and communication... not pride.


  • What about people like me who don't give a damn? :)
  • Ah. So you're saying that because everyone on the planet refers to kilograms as a measurement of weight, the physicists should too? I don't see any other good word to refer to someone who likes tinkering with technology, so I'll keep using the proper meaning of hacker.

  • The only problem? None of the unenlightened seem to get what he's saying.

    I agree. Hacking skills can be used for criminal activity. So can police skills, accounting skills, and (in this case) journalism skills.

    I was disappointed at their entire feature. From their hacking "primer" [cnn.com]:

    Hackers come in many varieties. The term "hacker" usually brings to mind three of these -- people who break the security of computer networks, people who break the security on application software, and people who create malicious programs like viruses. These aren't mutually exclusive, but it's a simple way to divide the activities that fall under "hacking."

    If they'd actually interviewed any number of hackers properly, they should have known that "hacker" was the wrong word for what they were talking about.

    If I can't do anything else, I'm going here [cnn.com] and submitting some feedback to CNN expressing this, politely of course. Here's what I'm posting and I hope others can say something similar:

    I was reading your interviews with Emmanuel Goldstein and Dr. Charles Palmer, but I was quite disappointed at the standard of journalism.

    Most importantly, the definition of the word "hacker" is inconsistent between the two interviews.

    Dr Palmer's definition of "hacker" is primarily criminal, including breaking and entering along with generally illegal activities. Goldstein's definition is completely different. What Dr Palmer considers a "hacker", Goldstein considers a "cracker" - more correct in my opinion since both these definitions go back to the early 80's when hacking and cracking were in their infancy.

    The rest of your feature did little more than associate the word "hacker" with criminal activity, but what got to me most was that you repeatedly asked Goldstein criminal-implying questions, regardless of what he said. I'm disappointed that the three definitions in your "hacking primer" were all criminal definitions. If the research of David Mandeville had involved actually talking to more people such as Goldstein, he might have realised that the main defintion of a *real* hacker is about pulling things apart and understanding how they work.

    Can hacking skills be used for illegal activities? Sure. So can police skills, teaching skills, accounting skills, corporate executive skills, and journalism skills. When hacking is ised for illegal purposes, it's called cracking. Please try to make this distinction in the future.

  • You go try finishing a project when not one person knows what the bloody fuck you're talking about. If hackers were users: "I have memory, 20 Gigs of it. All the memory in the world for MP3s." "You broke the cd-rom. How am I supposed to do my spreadsheets without Microsoft? Now I have to buy another cd-rom." If that's confusing it's because the user called the computer the cdrom and called Excel Microsoft. Hacker = builder came first. You're living in the 1980-2000 time frame. Computer operating systems have been around for decades. The computer itself was invented over 100 years ago. The automobile even before that. Hacking is dealing with the raw reality of what you are creating. Some people might call that roughing it... that's not what I'm suggesting. Roughing it means willingly getting rid of useful items. Hacking means starting from scratch because the currently available tools are stale, rusted, and clumsy. When someone builds an operating system they don't have any API or documentation or tools to work with. They only have basic principles like generality, stability, efficiency. There IS NO ROADMAP. Programmers simply build products. Hacking = ER Programming = Presribing cold medicine.
  • i wholeheartedly agree with your post with one caveat.

    Goldstein doesn't call those who break into computers "crackers." - he still calls them hackers...you might re-read the article to see why. On this point, i firmly agree with him. The underground would have us believe that all hackers are white-hat individuals who only do good, whilst crackers are all evil and sinister. I prefer to believe that hacker is an ethic of curiosity, whether you chose to use the knowledge you've gained in these pursuits are good or evil is moot. And so, i will call (some) people who break into sites hackers based on their level of curiosity and knowledge about computers, etc.

    However, because they break into systems illegaly, i will call them criminals.

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • Of course it does (uh, duh). Is a ten year old better able to argue concepts than a five year old? It's not a question of intelligence, it's a question of knowledge and experience. The older you are, the more time you have had to accumulate knowledge. That is obviously going to affect your ability to evaluate facts and circumstances. And obviously, we are talking about generalities and not specifics (i.e., a 40 year old is not always more knowledgeable than a 20 year old).
    Way to talk in a circle. You make an argument, then go ahead and withdraw it, saying it's a gross generalisation. Besides which, your argument was flawed in the first place. Significant growth and development occur in the human body between ages 5 and 10, less significant development occurs between ~25 and upwards (actually, they stop calling it development and start calling it aging after that, don't they?).

    Also, just because you gain knowlege, it doesn't make you right over time. Especially when things change as fast as they do online. What you learned 10 years ago can be perfectly useless today. Yes, you have that knowlege, but if it cannot be used or applied, it does you no good. You can't really use it to make decisions.

    Experience, on the other hand, is completely different than knowlege, but it is so varied from person to person that it's not even worth arguing over. Just think of an Olympic athlete: Very very young, but has experiences that most people can't even dream about.

    Siggy was very right in saying that you can't judge his ability to argue based on his age. Base a person's ability to argue on their arguments, not the person behind them. To do otherwise is discrimination, simple as that.
    Irrelevent, since we are talking about the original sense of the word in the context of computers, which is the sense of the word that the media is using
    In which case, you have it backwards. A hacker was someone that performed hacks, or feats of skill using limited resources. In other words, enthusiasts. The first meaning of hacker was the enthusiast one.
  • Err... that should be Emmanuel Goldstein.
  • by vsync64 ( 155958 ) <vsync@quadium.net> on Saturday September 30, 2000 @02:05PM (#742568) Homepage
    it's like we're back in the Dark Ages and I'm some sort of black magician

    Dude, we are magicians. "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." An appropriate reading selection might also be A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court [promo.net].

  • after looking behind me i have noticed a collection of re-animated corpses following me, calling me master and asking for brains to eat. how'd they get there? i guess i am a magician. wish someone would have told me beforehand. does anyone know how to get rid of these blasted things!
  • goldstein has done well with 2600. his view of hackers as essential and technology-broadening forces is what keeps that zine important. glad you covered him.

    1. INTERACTIVE [mikegallay.com]

  • Gah! Die Slashcode die! It inserted an extra space in that link. Here's the real URL: http://promo.net/cgi-promo/pg/t9.cgi?entry=86&full =yes&ftpsite=ftp://metalab.unc.e du /pub/docs/books/gutenberg/

    Or maybe they were just trying to be compliant with Judge Kaplan's ruling...

  • Did anyone else feel a chill run down their spine when Charles Palmer said: >>Innovations like biometrics and smart cards will go a long way toward making security easier for the end user as well as for the system administrators. ????
  • just a thought here.
    anyone notice how much goldstein looks like rowan atkinson (mr. bean) in the cnn photo? i think i'm on to something, and it's more than just crank.

    1. INTERACTIVE [mikegallay.com]

  • Oh yeah.... Heh. I guess it pays to do some research before posting news articles OR comments to such news articles :)


  • i wholeheartedly agree with your post with one caveat.

    Oh yeah, you're right. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • by thelaw ( 100964 ) <spam@cera s t e s.org> on Saturday September 30, 2000 @07:40AM (#742576) Homepage
    this opposing viewpoints interview section has been around forever.

    it was announced in april in this story. [slashdot.org]

  • Oh, the real definition. A word means what I say it means, eh Humpty Dumpty?
    Well I'm sorry, but I've read the jargon file, and I don't consider it to be the fount of all knowledge and wisdom thank you very much. In fact I consider it to be a pile of cliquey self-important toss generated by brainfried hippies and people who think being able to use a computer makes them SOOOOOO important....

    I go by the majority definition, which is:- 1. COMPUTING somebody accessing another's computer: somebody who uses computer expertise to gain unauthorized access to a computer system belonging to another, either to learn about the system or to examine its data

    I think you'll find that the set of people who have never even heard of the jargon file overrules the set of people who have read it and hang off its every word.
    Clinging on to the old jargon file definiton of the word "hacker" is every bit as ludicrous as people who clung on to the old definition of the world "gay"

    Get real
    Get a life
    Get a fucking dictionary

    Hacker: A criminal who breaks into computer systems
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @07:41AM (#742578) Homepage Journal
    The media loves to use the word hacker to describe what we know as a cracker (or even a script kiddie in some cases). Don't expect them to clear this up. With stuff like DeCSS-vs-MPAA and Napster-vs-RIAA, Big Media now thinks of techie hotshots as 'the enemy' and will continue to do what they can to make us look bad to the mainstream. What better way to do so than to make Joe SixPak think that the smart kid who plays MP3's at home is the same kid who breaks into Pentagon computers and tries to launch nuclear missiles?
  • Charles Palmer writes:

    We have Ph.D.s in physics, computer scientists, and even one former photographer with a fine arts degree. They are all well-known, highly respected system security professionals from around the world.

    And who do you think we have in the hacker community, Charles? Exactly the same. Except that we have a hell of a lot more PhDs and real security professionals (the ones that do the exact same work quietly without writing papers about it) here than you have in your "ethical" team.

    The difference seems to be mainly that we know the world isn't black and white, whereas you're quite clearly in possession of The One Truth on the ethical front. Perhaps the interview portrayed you in a bad light, but the image was of your own making. You shouldn't have been playing to the gallery.
  • by f00l ( 51322 )
    I remember seeing this about a year ago..
    here [slashdot.org]
  • by cnj ( 87028 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @08:39AM (#742581) Homepage

    Emanuel Goldstein was the name of the person who 'escaped' in Orwell's (yet another alias) classic 1984. He wrote a manifesto explaining the realities of the world under Big Brother which O'Brian gives Winston to read. He was a symbol of 'the underground'.

    If you want more info, check everything2 [everything2.com] or search the web with your favorite search engine for more info . . .

    You can also read this [angelfire.com] for a story similar to Orwells.


  • A Hacker is one who defeats an OS's security for whatever reason.
    (...)Slashdot was hacked. Got it?

    Does anyone know where I can download the new kernel for Slashdot? I heard it's far more secure than Linux and the *BSDs... I'm thinking of installing it in a spare 486.


  • Um, no, the appropriate terms are "warez d00d" and "script kiddie". Anyone with demonstratable skill is already a hacker under the old definition. The rest are children trying to be cool.

    Speaking of trying to be cool, I swear, I don't think Corely is too far removed from the mindset of that movie "Hackers". The dogma in his interview is so thick with fanboyish identity worship I kept expecting him to scream out "HACK THE PLANET!"

    The IBM guy is a lot closer to the truth. But his interview is still corporate propoganda, trying to paint the picture that anyone interested in computer secruity is a social misfit who gets his jollies trashing other people's machines. He couldn't have been more clearer if he said "hire us to test your security, you can't trust it to those sociopathic kids!"

    Why are all sides of this issue so full of crap?
  • I don't care how old this article is, EG says something in it that I wish all the non-techies would latch onto:

    Instead of arguing over the definition of hackers and crackers, let's just say this:

    If you commit a crime while "exploring", you are a criminal.

    If you do not commit a crime, then you are not a criminal.

    Then, all we need to do is get the people who write the laws to understand what should be a crime and what shouldn't. Easy, right? hah. This is why the EFF exists, I suppose...

  • Maybe we should resolutely call media types wankers until they start using hacker and cracker correctly.

  • This thing is so fscking old! In fact I used this reference for a college paper LAST YEAR!

    I guess /. will post anything even if it's older than Jesus Christ himself!

    Lets get a grip folks!
  • Except that he never existed, and his book was written by O'Brien...
  • To be precise:

    'As you lie there,' said O'Brien, 'you have often wondered you have even asked me -- why the Ministry of Love should expend so much time and trouble on you. And when you were free you were puzzled by what was essentially the same question. You could grasp the mechanics of the Society you lived in, but not its underlying motives. Do you remember writing in your diary, "I understand how: I do not understand why"? It was when you thought about "why" that you doubted your own sanity. You have read the book, Goldstein's book, or parts of it, at least. Did it tell you anything that you did not know already?'

    'You have read it?' said Winston.

    'I wrote it. That is to say, I collaborated in writing it. No book is produced individually, as you know.'

    'Is it true, what it says?'

    'A description, yes. The programme it sets forth is nonsense. The secret accumulation of knowledge -- a gradual spread of enlightenment -- ultimately a proletarian rebellion -- the overthrow of the Party. You foresaw yourself that that was what it would say. It is all nonsense. The proletarians will never revolt, not in a thousand years or a million. They cannot. I do not have to tell you the reason: you know it already. If you have ever cherished any dreams of violent insurrection, you must abandon them. There is no way in which the Party can be overthrown. The rule of the Party is for ever. Make that the starting-point of your thoughts.'

  • Why should you? Because some moron^H^H^H^H^H nerd think that reading this book will reveal everything about "the realities of the world under Big Brother". Now THAT'S pathetic!

    "The enemy" don't fucking care about you. I advise you to quit playing games on your peecee. Go outside, meet people, get a life!

    He was talking about the character. In the book, the fictional character Goldstein writes a manifesto against the fictional government. It's all fiction, and nowhere does he suggest it's fact. I suggest the book be read just because so many are aware of it, it's part of the cultural conversation right now, and because so many idiots cite it in situations where it has no relevance. 1984 should be read so he can become more involved in the cultural conversation. You, on the other hand, are welcome to fuck off.

  • I think it boils down to this: hackers make things work, crackers break things. Finding a hole in slashcode and bringing it to light is making something work [better]. Reverse-engineering software so you can use it in a manner it wasn't meant to be used (DeCSS, CueCat, etc., etc.) is hacking.

    First off, let's analyze that last phrase. "Cracking," is wrong because it's illegal, Correct? However, if you talk to some well-paid lawyers, reverse engineering and distributing certain information (DeCSS, CueCat) is also illegal. Making it wrong.

    Second, there's no such great divide between "hackers" and "crackers." Crackers are a SUBSET of hackers. Obviously they didn't come out of the womb breaking into servers, they need to have certain degree of skill to do what they do. Many extremely proficient "crackers" (not wannabes) have a FAR greater knowledge of computers and operating systems than your average celebrity "hacker."

    But you don't hear about them because they can't afford to be popular.
  • jesus fing CHRIST! /. posts this same stupid article every 9 months or so as if it is new. THE DAMN THING IS AT LEAST 3 YEARS OLD!!! THIIS IS THE 3rd TIME /. HAS POSTED IT ON THE FRONT PAGE!!!

    Visit DC2600 [dc2600.com]
  • "But if a stranger came into your house, looked through everything, touched several items, and left (after building a small, out of the way door to be sure he could easily enter again), would you consider that harmless?" Oddy enought though this is eaxctly the privelege corporations would like to reserve for themselves. I would like to hear Palmer explain how some of the recent methods used to track people around the web are not "hacking" by his defintion!

  • You are a butthead.

    By your own admittal, you gave "ones who illegally gain access to a computer" the title cracker.

    YOU did this. "You" meaning the geek community. I have not once heard a "cracker" actually call themselves that name. They want to be known as hackers, because that is what they do regardless of legality. Cases in point:

    2600: The Hacker's Quarterly
    Phrack (Phreak + Hack

    You are obviously not a "cracker" so even under your own little argument up there you have NO RIGHT to be giving them that title.

  • Actually, what'd I'd really like to know is how "hacker" picked up the computer related meanings.

    According to Steven Levy's book, Hackers: Heros of the Computer Revolution, the word is traced back from early 50's and 60's college pranks that involved things like putting cars on roofs and that sort of thing. From there it progressed to a model railroad club at MIT where the members (who are the first known "hackers" as we define them) worked on this very large and very complex (electrically) model railroad system. Whenever they devised something especially clever for a neat effect or to fix a problem, they called it a "hack", after the college prank meaning. Some of the members of the railroad club wound up being heavily attracted to the magnificintly huge and powerful computers on campus and carried the word over to that context as well. They became the hackers we know today.

    Of course, this is the extremely simplified version and if you're interested, I suggest you go to the Gutenburg Project web site (don't have a URL) and grab the first two chapters of this book.
  • We agree that the definition was changed. We argue over which came first. Assertion that your definition was the original does little against your opponets citing of historical fact. In others words, the youngster is right.
  • This sounds like a case ofGodwin's Law [tuxedo.org]
  • As I'm sure you know, choice of photos is one of the major ways that newspapers (etc.) influence the impression people get of a person they're covering.

    First of all, no matter how bad the picture is, they can't get hit for libel - "cameras don't lie"

    Next off, they even get to control the impression they give of someone in an article like this one, where there is no written content.

    Whoever modded you offtopic was out to lunch - the photo (which, if you ask me, looks a bit too thuggish for Rowan Atkinson) is a perfect demonstration of what CNN is trying to do to Emmanuel Goldstein's image. Incidentally, does anyone have any idea which mega-media-internet-conglomerate CNN is part of?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    No, you're wrong. Emmanuel Goldstein was the first role Don Knotts had in a Disney film. Back when Jerry Lewis was raking in the cash with his screen antics, Don Knotts figured he would muscle in with his own unique style of humor.

    And Eric Corley got his start by being a stand-in for Don Knotts in several of the early films. Any time there was a scene that might possibly involve brain damage, Corley was wheeled in.

    For example, in the early Knotts film "Clueless in New York" Corley was the one who stood in when Knotts was supposed to eat the dross off a solder pot. The lead oxides that float to the surface of a solder pot are particularly poisonous because they are water soluble (dissolve right through your skin).

    Later on, Eric Corley was so brain damaged that all he could accomplish was to edit a popular children's magazine called '2600' which has a following in the kind of people who miss the electric construction articles in Mechanics Illustrated. You know, articles where resistors aren't listed by their ohmage value, instead the colored bands to look for are just listed out. Clueless fuckers, if you haven't already caught my drift.

    Anyways, that's the background behind all this stuff.
  • ...they just have different perspectives.

    In essence, it's an argument about the power of knowledge. The self-proclaimed hacker culture view this power as necessary for learning and promises that they can be trusted to use the power for good (and anyway, they're just helping improve systems). The coporate view is that they can't trust people to always behave well and must therefore do everything they can to limit that power (and since realistically unexploitable system aren't feasible, the "help" is not appreciated).

    While a cracker might view a new exploit as an opporunity to learn and to expland his or her accumen, the parties being cracked must view the exploit itself as damage. Whether the cracker actually was benign or not, the hacked systems must be viewed with suspicion, and a huge expense must be incurred in cleaning those systems and all data must be viewed as compromised.

    Frankly, I find the cracker point of view more than a little naive.
  • Hmm. You're wrong in two different ways!

    We defined this set of jargon, and it's up to US, not THEM to determine its use.

    Wrong. As someone pointed out, language is an evolving thing. Words are meant for communication, and majority rules when it comes to communication. A very small group of people decided that "gay" means "homosexual". Did they have the "authority" to do that? No, but now that it's entered popular usage, then that is one of the primary definitions.

    The other way you're totally wrong is in the definition of "hacker". Sorry, but one of the sense of "hacker" IS "someone who break security". It's only recently that people have decided that they don't like the criminal aspect to that behavior, and so are trying to chop off that definition and place it into "cracker".

    In any case, you'll note that the people are are cracking systems refer to themselves as hackers, so the media is simply calling them what they call themselves.


  • Come on Winston! Goldstein's the ENEMY! Big Brother's protecting us all!
  • I agree sincerely with his belief that you can't just use "cracker" as a catchall for anyone who breaks into a system or anyone who "breaks the law"

    I think it boils down to this: hackers make things work, crackers break things. Finding a hole in slashcode and bringing it to light is making something work [better]. Reverse-engineering software so you can use it in a manner it wasn't meant to be used (DeCSS, CueCat, etc., etc.) is hacking.

    Of course I'm neither a hacker nor a cracker. The extent of my hacking skills is editing a Makefile, and the extent of my cracking skills is teardropping a friend's Win95 box (he gave me permission). But I like to think that I know at least a little bit of what hacking is about. And the thing is, the media will never get it. Why? Because "Herbert Smith ports foo to operating system bar" is much less exciting than "Korean hackers break into government site" on the 5:00 news.
  • You doctor analogy is flawed. If I went to a doctor and said "I have a tummyache," he would understand that I have gastroentinitis or something like that. The media has gotten hacker to be used in a certain way, and like it or not, it's going to stay that way. How do you propose that we "correct" the problem? The way to correct it is for us to bitching about the hacker/cracker phrase and just accept that this is one battle we've lost. Is it really that big of a deal? No-all we're doing is impeding conversation because we somehow think that will make us superior.

    Colin Winters
  • He's made up the name, anyway.

    I've never seen an explaination for why if Eric Corely thinks what he is doing is ethical, why he hides behind a false name that sounds suspiciously real.

    Note, I have nothing wrong against using handles for say, slashdot or CB radio (such as what I'm using now, bugg) but to hint that it's your real name? That's not right.

  • I completely agree with you, and understand every point you make. One of the things that I think is ironic about slashdot is the fact that everyone here flames someone when they switch hacker and cracker, but slashdoters do the same thing in every other field. I'm sure there are a few lawyers among us, and every time something about the DMCA or a legal case gets posted they wince at the number of posts that try to interpret the results or give "legal opinions." I know I can't help but scream, "how'd this moron get moded up to +5 Informative", when there's something that I am truly informed and educated about on slashdot. These so called "Informative" posts usually sound like there pointing out facts, but the info is often completely wrong or outdated. Just as we all take other's posts with a grain of salt, so to should we take one with other people's perceptions of the hacker culture.

    --Ignorance is not to be shunned, only the satisfaction of it.

  • Something I find most troubling about Dr. Palmer is that he doesn't seem as though any real thought or consideration has gone into what a hacker really is. He seems completely uninterested in good, old-fashioned curiousity. I am curious, therefore, I hack...pretty simple. Take all those who called themselves hackers and stick them in a parallel universe where only unsensitive, uninteresting information is protected...those who continue the pursuit are hackers. This isn't all that earth-shattering, it seems fairly obvious. Runners don't win gold medals because they're dying to have the medal and hang it on their wall, the win gold because they love to run. Pardon me if I continue my pursuit outside Dr. Palmer's "...controlled environment where there are ground rules and contractual agreements."
  • The scary thing is, I agree with both points of view at the same time - is that wierd or what ? I'm a hacker and not a hacker - my first hacking exploit was theft, when I discovered that it was pretty easy to get a free newspaper from the vending machine (5 years old), or that switching some makes of arcade machines on or off would often doll out free credits (9 years old) - or even, meddling with the internal telephone wiring of an apartment building from your own apartment - all you need is a screwdriver (or knife) and a wire-cutter (or teeth) and a bit of patience, and your hooked to someone elses line (16 years old) - all theft, I guess. In reality, it was not only just curiosity, but was about 'beating the man' - there can be a sheer sense of satisfaction when you 'trick the system' The ironic thing is, I was 'taught' this way of thinking by the media, I was taught by books, films, music - the list goes on. I was also taught by my parents what is 'wrong or right' by their definition. The truth is, everyone is born a hacker, you've just got to know what you can get away with hacking and what you can't depending on the situaiton - oh, and another belief of mine - try not to hurt anyone doing it !
  • Words are meant for communication, and majority rules when it comes to communication.

    I don't know a polite way to put this - take your democratic values and shove it. Language is a method of communication. There is no democracy, no majority, nothing like that. Those are social conventions. Keep them seperate and distinct from language - they are NOT related. Don't go confusing the issue by injecting your own prejudiced views into the matter.

    A very small group of people decided that "gay" means "homosexual".

    That "very small" number is between 9.2 and 16.7 percent in the US ("The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States." Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994). From that, I'd say that's not a "very small number" and further, I'd assert that they represent a larger percentage per capita than the "geek community". Also, they have not objected to being called "gay" or "lesbian", as evidenced by "Gay Pride" parades which are now common in many large metropolitan areas.

    Sorry, but one of the sense of "hacker" IS "someone who break security".

    According to the Hacker Dictionary, aka the Jargon file, and the authoritative source for jargon in the computer culture, that definition is depreciated - the correct term is cracker.

    It's only recently that people have decided that they don't like the criminal aspect to that behavior, and so are trying to chop off that definition and place it into "cracker".

    Anecdotal and empirical evidence suggests otherwise. By simply going through old usenet posts - the oldest records I cold find, I was able to determine that heated debates over this existed as early as 1996. I recall from my own personal memory that even in the early 90's there was a debate over this - during the BBSing days. This would be circa 1992. One thing is certain - this isn't a new issue. The issue has even been incorporated into some people's teaching materials [uq.edu.au] in linguistics!

    In any case, you'll note that the people are are cracking systems refer to themselves as hackers

    This position is easily rebuffed by the simple fact that you can call yourself anything you want. I can pretend to be an Electrical Engineer, or a Chief Financial Officer. Am I one though? That aside, even systems crackers are not referring to themselves as hackers. They're hardly intelligible as is, but most of them refer to themselves as crackers. Check out #hackers on EFNet sometime if you don't believe me.

    Now that I'm done - please, save yourself some work - just see things my way.


  • Here's a question: Why on earth do computer programmers wanna be known as "hackers?" Doesn't sound like something I would want to be known as, for several reasons:

    hack-er, noun

    1. one that hacks
    2. a person who is inexperienced or unskilled at a particular activity <a tennis hacker>
    3. an expert at programming and solving problems with a computer
    4. a person who illegally gains access to and sometimes tampers with information in a computer system

    (From the defintion at Merrian-Webster [m-w.com].)

    So, a "hacker" is one who "hacks" (more on that later) or someone who is unskilled at a specific activity. Well that does sound like some "hackers" I know, that doesn't sound like something I'd go around calling myself!

    Moving on to "hack:"

    hack verb, transitive:

    1. a) to cut or sever with repeated irregular or unskillful blows
      b) to cut or shape by or as if by crude or ruthless strokes <hacking out new election districts>
      c) ANNOY, VEX -- often used with off
    2. to clear or make by or as if by cutting away vegetation <hacked his way through the brush>
    3. a) to manage successfully <just couldn't hack the new job>
      b) TOLERATE <I can't hack all this noise>
    verb, intransitive:
    1. a) to make chopping strokes or blows <hacked at the weeds>; also : to make cuts as if by chopping <hacking away at the work force>
      b) to play inexpert golf
    2. to cough in a short dry manner
    3. LOAF -- usually used with around
    4. a) to write computer programs for enjoyment
      b) to gain access to a computer illegally

    Again, minus the computer entries, it seems that being a hacker means that you're either unskilled at something or are doing things basically in a brute and unsophisticated way. Not something I'd like to be aquainted with.

    It's interesting to see that the dictionary contains both meanings of the word "hacker" but not surprising - words may have many meanings, and it's the job of a dictionary to list them all.

    Actually, what'd I'd really like to know is how "hacker" picked up the computer related meanings. Seems natural now, but "hack" is a fairly old word, originating from the 14th century. It doesn't seem like something that someone would want to self-label themselves with, but given that a lot of people around here call themselves "geeks" I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. Of course, none of us geeks actually bites the heads off chickens, but I'd love to know how chicken-head-biter moved to mean intellectual loser. (Or, from m-w.com again, "[one] who is disapproved of.") Interestingly enough, the word geek was most likely derived from a German word for "fool."

  • But the media created the hacker craze that we see all the time on the news. As long as they keep up the heat and Some people keep doing illeagle and just so many things in bad taste the "EVIL" connotation will never go away.

    Just out of curiosity, when are you asserting that these evil media types started this "misdefinition"? AFAIK, the general public has been using "hacker" in the breaking a system's security sense at least since the mid eighties. I could be mis-remembering, but my take of the word history has always been 1) computer geeks refer to themselves as hackers, 2) self identified hackers break into systems, 3) media and public accepts their self definition, 4) other who self defined that way don't want to be thought of in the same group and 5) instead of renaming themselves, try to take away the name of those they don't aprove of. Since few are willing to accept the blame shifting, and the systems breakers largely decline to begin self identifying differently, 6) this redefinition fails except amoung those who want to protect their own self image.

    Overall, it makes me want to go put on a kilt and refuse molasass with my porriage.

    -Kahuna Burger

  • Palmer defines a hacker incorreclty. His definition is that of a cracker, not a hacker, as defined in IEEE's potentials earlier this year.

    So many people say that a hacker is someone who unlawefully breaks into a system. This is totally off the mark. A hacker is just an untrained programmer. A cracker is someone who 'cracks' into a system. This confusion of the two is thanks to the media and there inability ot understand technology.

    If hacking is a fealony then there are lots of people that i know that should be arrested, like me. Although I have never tried to break into a system. Just the other day I was hacking at some code for the company I work at. Why? Cause I don't knwo C++ and had to figure out how the program worked to make modifications to it. WHy me? Because there is no one left at the company whoo knows anything at all about some of our systems. And if they do they say they don't. So I had to hack away and try various things to first learn C++ and then learn they system.

    News flash to Palmer, the first people who worked on computers were hackers. They had a certain amount of knowledge and then they tried this an dthat. That is what hackers do. They try this and that untill they get it to work. To some extent Crackers are hacker, however not all crackers are hackers.

    He mentions the DOS. You don't need to know a thing about programming to do a DOS, as there are scripts out there already that do this. You just need to be able to run the scripts.

    If he thinks that he can completely secure a PC then he should think again. In almost any OS there will ALWAYS be vunerabilities. There are just to many lines of code to make any system absolutely secure while makeing it functinoal as well. Sure you can argue that OpenBSD is secure, but it is also had a total focus for just that purpose. I am sure that if you set it up as a web server and started running apache and some other programs as web server software there woudl be a hole that some hacker would find given enough time. Some script something. And once that hole was plugged another one would be found.

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • I'm sorry to sound so cynical but I've had it with the glorification of the hacker. What everyone, including Mr. Goldstein, keeps forgetting is that it is ILLEGAL. Irregardless of what you do when you "hack", tell the sysadmin, report the hole, whatever you committed a crime by gaining that entry. If you're such a concerned citizen, setup servers in your own home and hack those...leave everyone else alone. White hat hackers think they are doing a great service, and yes their results are useful but thier methods are questionable in my mind. I like to think of myself as an ethical person and "hacking" however you define it is not really an ethical behavior. If I'm wrong, tell me and defend your answer but remember this....its not illegal for no good reason.
  • Language is a method of communication. There is no democracy, no majority, nothing like that. Those are social conventions. Keep them seperate and distinct from language - they are NOT related. Don't go confusing the issue by injecting your own prejudiced views into the matter.

    Eh, you've been talking right out of your ass this whole thread anyway, but here you are plain wrong.

    Languages are social conventions. No linguist will seriously deny this-- some linguists might not consider that to be the most important feature of language, but none will deny the conventional nature of language. The fact that in English "elephant" denotes a kind of pachyderm, and "mouse" a kind of rodent, is purely a convention. And the kind of domain where this convention applies is a speech community, which is a social entity.

    As to the discussion that provoked your inane, unfortunate and uninformed comment, both of you are enormously oversimplifying as to the whole issue of language attitidudes of the speech communities in question. It is not a question of "majority rules" (in that case, the likes of "ain't" or double negatives would be accepted as standard usage) or the technical knowledge of the subject matter of one small group in society (in that case, the shift in the meaning of "hacker" wouldn't happen).

  • And under the laws that exist now, all that shit I just mentioned is illeg
    And under Hitler's regime hiding jews from the secret police was illegeal. Obvisiously your examples are not as extreme, but morality and legality are two seperate things.
  • The term Hacker (and now this made-up term Cracker as well) is being used so loosely that it's slowly becoming a totally worthless term. A hacker was once an amateur, usually a bad one. The metaphor becomes clear if you think of a golfer or tennis player that doesn't really know what s/he's doing but does it all the time anyway, hacking away at the ball.

    In typical counter-culture fashion, programmers adopted the term as a description of a good programmer. But often, knowing how something works means knowing how something can be broken, so the term has slowly morphed to mean someone who looks for weaknesses in computer systems.

    And now, when it's been realized that a lot of damange can be done and felonies can be committed by such people if they should choose to be join the Dark Side, it's come to refer to criminals, vandals, and script kiddies. These people have nothing to do with programming, and in no way, shape, or form demonstrate any knowledge of a particular system at all by the crap they pull.

    That's so many diametrically opposed transformations of one word in just a few decades it's dizzying. The sad part is that my parents still use the original sense of the word while my grandparents and non-computer-savvy friends use it in the last sense, while computer geeks still use it in the programming sense. All senses of the word are still intact.

    The worst part is that context cannot usually differentiate between these different uses of the word (given any technical context, all four of them would work, and yet would refer to totally different kinds of people). This, I think, is where the debate over the meaning of the term arises. And, of course, the news media are in no hurry at all to clear it up (why should they, after all?)

    The term is worthless.

  • Wow, this is really devastating to IBM... Consulting. Fortunately IBM is one of those corporate octopusses, one arm doesn't know what the other is doing.

    You have some members branding everyone with a hacker mindset as evil, the other hacking Linux and putting it on watches.

    I still have a lot of respect for IBM, even if some of the people like Charles Palmer are complete morons.

  • by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @07:47AM (#742649) Homepage
    you know - it's too bad only about .5% of the slashdot reading public knows where he pulled that alias from.

    "you mean that's not his real name???"

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • If any of you are confused about what a hacker is and is not, especially in terms of how we relate to crackers, take a gander at Eric S. Raymond's info about hackers at his web page. [tuxedo.org]

    For those of you who don't have time to do this, I've included a small portion of the page below:

    "What Is A Hacker?

    The Jargon File contains a bunch of definitions of the term `hacker', most having to do with technical adeptness and a delight in solving problems and overcoming limits. If you want to know how to become a hacker, though, only two are really relevant.

    There is a community, a shared culture, of expert programmers and networking wizards that traces its history back through decades to the first time-sharing minicomputers and the earliest ARPAnet experiments. The members of this culture originated the term `hacker'. Hackers built the Internet. Hackers made the Unix operating system what it is today. Hackers run Usenet. Hackers make the World Wide Web work. If you are part of this culture, if you have contributed to it and other people in it know who you are and call you a hacker, you're a hacker.

    The hacker mind-set is not confined to this software-hacker culture. There are people who apply the hacker attitude to other things, like electronics or music -- actually, you can find it at the highest levels of any science or art. Software hackers recognize these kindred spirits elsewhere and may call them "hackers" too -- and some claim that the hacker nature is really independent of the particular medium the hacker works in. But in the rest of this document we will focus on the skills and attitudes of software hackers, and the traditions of the shared culture that originated the term `hacker'.

    There is another group of people who loudly call themselves hackers, but aren't. These are people (mainly adolescent males) who get a kick out of breaking into computers and phreaking the phone system. Real hackers call these people `crackers' and want nothing to do with them. Real hackers mostly think crackers are lazy, irresponsible, and not very bright, and object that being able to break security doesn't make you a hacker any more than being able to hotwire cars makes you an automotive engineer. Unfortunately, many journalists and writers have been fooled into using the word `hacker' to describe crackers; this irritates real hackers no end.

    The basic difference is this: hackers build things, crackers break them.

    If you want to be a hacker, keep reading. If you want to be a cracker, go read the alt.2600 newsgroup and get ready to do five to ten in the slammer after finding out you aren't as smart as you think you are. And that's all I'm going to say about crackers."

    Crackers are the lowest form of scum. Someone who would derive pleasure from causing others pain, which is what crackers do when they write viri and engage in DOS attacks etc., should simply be taken out into the woods and after being made to dig their own grave shot in the back of the head.


    Lee Reynolds
  • no matter how much campaigning mr goldstein does, no matter how true his message is, the harsh reality that we're all going to face is that it is easier for big media and corporations to see hackers as being thinly mustached villains who want nothing more than world domination. sure, we all know who's right, being that we are the hackers and we know our own intentions, but try telling that to a large corporation. they won't care.
  • by apathyruiner ( 222745 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @07:48AM (#742654)
    A Cracker is one who defeats copy protection security on software.
    A Hacker is one who defeats an OS's security for whatever reason.
    Quake 3 was cracked, Slashdot was hacked. Got it?

    Please, stop hanging on to the outdated definitions, you don't get anywhere like that.

    And when is someone going to port the linux kernel to the commodore 64?
  • One of the big problems is that there is no clearcut definition of what a hacker is.

    I like the tinkerer version that most of my friends use. But the media created the hacker craze that we see all the time on the news. As long as they keep up the heat and Some people keep doing illeagle and just so many things in bad taste the "EVIL" connotation will never go away.

  • by satch89450 ( 186046 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @10:00PM (#742656) Homepage
    Just out of curiosity, when are you asserting that these evil media types started this "misdefinition"?

    As best as I can determine, the mis-use of the term "hacker" was a-borning in the early 1980s, when the "414 gang" was busted. A Detroit paper's headline writer was alledged to have found that the word "hackers" was short enough to fit the headline measure called for by the editors while allow a "punchy" headline for the local-interest story. The wire services picked up the story and kept the headline. That was the beginning of the road to ruin.

    The use of the term "hack" wends back to the MIT Tech Model Railroad Club usage of the word, sometime in the early 1970s.

    As a side note, the phone phreaking started in the 1960s, but weren't referred to as "hacks" until much later. As I recall, the usual technical term was "workaround" or "trick". Practicitioners were referred to as "phone phreaks," and that activity quickly became known as "phreaking."

    Just as there is a large intersection between "hackers" and "science fiction fans", there was a large intersection between phreakers and "hackers". Further causing problems was the fact that many college programmers down on pocket money (we can't all be Bill Gates) resorted to B&E to get sufficient computer time to learn the craft. The next generation behind the first wave of hackers misunderstood the purpose of the B&E action and thought that the means to the end of learning was the end itself. This spawned a large cadre of "black-hat hackers" who "sign" their work with some form of damage, to prove they could do the crack.

    There is a third side to the story, but no one is willing to talk about it. You have the 2600 group and you have the starch-shirt types. People forget the "white-hat hackers."

  • They interviewed the wrong people. Eric Raymond has pretty much covered what a Hacker is in his Hacker Howto FAQ [tuxedo.org] and in the Jargon file [tuxedo.org].

    This argument persists because people seem to have a hard time accepting the fact that words mean things. When they don't accept the real definition of a word they attempt to coopt it for their own purposes.

    Josh Centers started the Hacker Anti-Defamation League [nbci.com] a couple of years ago to try to counteract the media's mis-use of Hacker, but the project has never really taken off.

    Remember that just because a bunch of people believe something doesn't make it true.

  • It is in fact, 1% who like them, 50% who fucking hate them, and 49% who couldn't give a fuck.

    What about the ones who started out not giving a fuck utill they were exposed to geek paranioa and arogance and moved to a sort of vauge irritation and weird pity while still not caring enough to hate and certainly not fearing?

    Sigh, never enough options on these quizes. :)

    -Kahuna Burger

  • Just read the Hacker's Manifesto (w3 0wn j00!!!!!!):

    This is our world now, the world of
    the electron and the switch,
    the beauty of the baud.
    We make use of a service already
    existing without paying for what
    could be dirt-cheap if it weren't
    run by profiteering gluttons, and
    you call us animals.
    We explore - and you call us criminals.
    We seek after knowledge - and you
    call us criminals.
    We exist without skin color, without
    nationality, without religious bias - and
    you call us criminals.
    You build atomic bombs, you wage wars,
    you murder, cheat and lie to us and
    try to make us believe it is for our
    own good - yet we are the criminals.
    Yes, I am a criminal.
    My crime is that of curiousity.
    My crime is that of judging people by what
    they say and think, not what they look like.
    My crime is that of outsmarting you, something
    that you will never forgive me for.
    I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto.
    You may stop me, but you can't stop us all.

    Oh, pleeease. Will the real script kiddie please stand up, please stand up.....

    And I understand that some of the neo-l33t h4x0r folks might not be able to read the orginal script kiddie's manifesto. Here's the same manifesto in your language:

    7h1s 1s 0ur w0rld n0w, 7h3 w0rld 0f
    7h3 3l3c7r0n 4nd 7h3 sw17ch,
    7h3 b34u7y 0f 7h3 b4ud.
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  • by Anonymous Coward
    in regards to Orwell as an alias, the author's real name is Eric Arthur Blair ( and i've posted this to /. before, goddamnit. ) the CNN interview is old as well...... dumbasses.
  • 7. Do you think hacking can be useful?

    Hacking can be useful in a controlled environment where there are ground rules and contractual agreements.

    I dont believe his answer here. He has ABSOLUTELY no idea of what a hacker is. To 'control' a hacker is to eliminate the environment that he requires to operate in.

    all I read in his answers is a corporate sell job to sell his politically correct hacker services. what a load of crap.....

  • by zencode ( 234108 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @07:49AM (#742667) Homepage
    You guys must have had one hell of a Friday night. This page hit CNN in 1998 (look at the source) and you already reported in 1999 [slashdot.org].

    My .02,

  • goldstein states early on that, hacking is, very simply, asking a lot of questions and refusing to stop asking. but the focus of the next 20 questions or so is all on the old standard view of the cyberterrorist or the war games hacker. cnn's hack just can't focus on the correct, just the juicy. seriously though...after 18 or 19 questions, even i'm usually able to at least tell whether it's an animal, mineral or vegetable.

    1. INTERACTIVE [mikegallay.com]

  • by Eladio McCormick ( 226942 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @07:51AM (#742671)
    This Goldstein's guy overinflater rhetoric is just ridiculous. Hackers are on a "search for the truth"? Puh-leeze.
  • Did you bother to read the article? Here's Emmanuel Goldstein's take on that:

    Now, we have a small but vocal group who insist on calling anyone they deem unacceptable in the hacker world a "cracker." This is an attempt to solve the problem of the misuse of the word "hacker" by simply misusing a new word. It's a very misguided, though well-intentioned, effort. The main problem is that when you make up such a word, no further definition is required. When you label someone with a word that says they're evil, you never really find out what the evil was to begin with. Murderer, that's easy. Burglar, embezzler, rapist, kidnapper, all pretty clear. Now along comes cracker and you don't even know what the crime was. It could be crashing every computer system in Botswana. Or it could be copying a single file. We need to avoid the labeling and start looking at what we're actually talking about. But at the same time, we have to remember that you don't become a hacker simply because you say you are.

  • So many of you computer people seem to be trying to alter the public's perception of yourselves by dictating what words they may use. This situation reminds me of a book I read in high school. That you know what book I'm referring to underscores my point, don't you think?

  • What this ibmer says is not true. Ask around in Defcon about IBM hirin hackers... ;)

    Even worst, they hire the ones who get caught (this is no thing to be proud!), as lots of consulting firms.

    IBM asually cries whenever a vulnerability is reorted for their software. And their software doesn't seem to be programmed with security as a big issue.

  • by fluxrad ( 125130 ) on Saturday September 30, 2000 @08:02AM (#742689) Homepage
    Goldstein is one hell of a spokesperson for the hacker ethic.

    The only problem? None of the unenlightened seem to get what he's saying. You can tell by the tone of the questions being directed at him from this article that the writer and Goldstein have come to the table with two complete definitions of the word hacker. The questions are more of a "i know what a hacker is (read: media hacker) and i just want you to answer these questions since you're admitedly one" - two bad Goldstein is admiting to being something of which the author has no idea.

    I really think people should pay closer attention to Goldstein's definition of "hacker" though, and his use of the term "cracker." - I agree sincerely with his belief that you can't just use "cracker" as a catchall for anyone who breaks into a system or anyone who "breaks the law" - whatever the hell that is. This makes things too black and white. It makes hackers look like saints and crackers look like uber-villains. Way too black and white for something as complex as the internet.

    Oh well, once again, the uneducated will see hackers as villains since they have no concept of what it is to be one. It's like telling someone who's never done drugs before what they're like. (bad analogy ;-)

    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • Yup. This is a repeat, quite an old story. And it's spelled "Emmanuel".

    I still love the 7-11 time-lapse camera shot of Emmanuel compared to the regular promo shot for the IBM guy.
  • Palmer is talking about people who intrude with the purpose of sabotaging someone else's operation. He's talking about direct threats to systems by people who truly wish to do harm.

    Goldstein is talking about the people in society who, for whatever reason, like to spend their time beating their heads up against security setups for the purpose of discovery.

    There's a very real difference between the two, to the point where the contrast between the two interviews becomes meaningless. Palmer is talking about truly felonious activities of cyber terrorism and data destruction, while Goldstein is talking about people who simply probe and learn.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.