Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
The Internet

"Hackers" crack more Fed sites 118

pluteus_larva writes "Speaking of the media and government's war on hackers, CNN is reporting that "hackers" (why can't *anyone* get this right?) are attacking Federal Web sites. " The press is covering this in a variety of areas. In related news, CobaltQ sent us the story about how "non-sanctioned" Chinese crackers have taken aim at NATO sites since the Chinese embassy bombing.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

"Hackers" crack more Fed sites

Comments Filter:
  • This is interesting. Could we be seeing the first
    electronic guerilla war/civil war? Could it spread to China and Yugoslavia? It could be have some inteesting long term consequences....
  • by jonbrewer ( 11894 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @06:30AM (#1872521) Homepage
    Wired News Service posted a few lines last week about "crackers" shutting down fbi.gov with a DOS attack, and I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Cracker will *never* be used as a term to describe a malicious hacker in the popular media.

    As noted by many other posters in this discussion, "cracker" is a racial slur. It has been in use for far longer than computers and networks have been around. I cite a Webster's from 1963 I just happen to have lying around:

    Cracker:

    1. a bragging liar
    2. something that makes a cracking or snapping noise
    3. NUTCRACKER
    4. a dry think crisp bakery product made of flour and water
    5. POOR WHITE: -- usually used disparagingly
    6. the equipment in which cracking is carried out


    Besides it's other meanings, cracker is just a lame term. When I saw that Wired article, I wondered what kinds of arguements went on in the newsroom when the editor and reporter disagreed over the term... or when at a staff meeting they decided to standardize upon usage.

    I sincerely hope this arguement gets buried today, and that our esteemed colleagues at Slashdot ignore future temptation to start it up again by so blatantly including the arguement in the news brief.
  • The Hacker _vs_ Cracker debate is a dead horse. Someone please bury the damn thing.

    The real problem here is how woefully unprepared most governments are when it comes to computer security. They just don't get it. When a few kids can make the federal government look stupid, what do you think some professionals could do?

    As a /. story from a few weeks ago mentioned, the CIA is considered taking action against Yugoslavia by taking down their networks. I'm not talking about futuristic cyber-wars where we all plug into a computer and do battle Tron-style, I just think it's *the* weakest link in most nation's security schemes.

    And considering pretty soon everything from your TV to your toaster will have an IP address, it's going to get worse. Forget about a security system to guard the doors and windows, what if someone just gains access to your home network, turns off the alarm, and unlocks the door from his laptop while he's sitting in your driveway with a moving van?

    --Mid
  • sure we've lost the battle with society. but we never really started fighting to begin with.

    the terms "hacker" and "cracker" will be used rightly by those who actualy belong to the hacker subculture. almost a password for us to reconize each other with.

    so don't bother fighting, because there is no real battle.
  • Well I don't think this is an easy one, for a start lets say a malicious hacker is a cracker, but what is a malicious hacker? Does it include those that use technology to go after con artists, child abusers etc. and have to break laws to do so because those that claim to uphold the law and seek justice do not? Where is the line? Personally I think its a difficult line to tread and many of those that do seem not only to be guided by their conscience but also such works as A Book Of Five Rings and the writings of Marcus Aurelius and not forgeting The Mentors Last Words. All I know is that I find it easy to distinguish between those that are selfish and only there for themselves and those that know we can all contribute something, the Net is the closest thing there is to anarchy in the world and its only working because people across this world want it to work and are willing to make it happen, hackers are part of that community. Rather than debating the names we will assign to those in a particular community why don't we take what is positive about the Net into the offline world, and show all those that demonise the best because its not in their control that we can do a better job then they can with their zippergate politicians and bean counting assistants?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I use "cracker" when writing for a geek audience, but I always use "hacker" when writing for a mass medium whose readers or viewers think "crackers" are people in the South who have Confederate flags in the back windows of their pickup trucks.

    Unless your geek audience went through the W4r3Z PuPPI stage sometime in thier life, in which case they will think you're talking about someone who defeats the copy protection on software.

    Cracker has an established meaning too, and now the very same people who are whining about the misuse of one word are asking people to misuse a different word instead. Funny how the human mind works.

    Whats wrong with NOT using jargon for once and calling those who circumvent security on a system what they are: intruders or infiltrators, depending on your spin.

    -=OG=-

  • I have to say that is one of the most facinating things I've read on slashdot for a while.

    Unfortunately, however, I checked it out. My dictionary says the term "jerry built" (or "jury built") goes back to 1860s.

    --
  • Why does everyone always make the analogy of breaking into a computer and going into someone's house? Your house isn't hooked up to a global network and you don't live in your computer. If you don't want people walking in your house, you lock your damn doors. If you don't want someone in your computer, secure the network.
  • Even though it's just fine, instead of "cracker", try using "attacker" instead. Or perhaps "criminal". There's a lot less ambiguity there.

    --tom

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't remember Katz claiming to be a hacker. I haven't seen Malda's code or coding style, so I can't evaluate it. ESR is a fine hacker (even though he's not quite as idealistic as, say, RMS). I don't think that you understand what the "hacker tradition" is. It goes back far beyond the early 80's, all the way back to the 60's or so, and it has nothing to do with breaking into computers.
  • Funnny - there's also an american TV show about a psychiatrist/detective by the same name.

    It's the same show. Some american studio bought the scripts and re-shot the show using american actors. Why? I have no idea.
    The american version is a bit toned down and the guy who plays "cracker" is a bit more `nice' in the american version, but all in all not a terrible conversion.

  • I'm really sure that the government is scared that some web pages on some lame subdomains that nobody ever looks at anyway are getting changed.

    I'll show some respect once they can get into a server that means something. I'm sure there are plenty of cracks of high security servers every year, only those who crack them are smart enough to shut the hell up about it.

    This just proves that the "cracker", "hacker" or whatever the hell it is this week, community are just a bunch of whiners. They go out and vandelize a web page, and then complain when they actually have to face the consequences. I believe in freedom of information and all that, but at the same time, the destruction of data is not protected under that. Once they are finished, administrators have to clean up after them, at the very least patching the hole (a good thing) and changing some file names, at the worst having to take down an entire system and restore from tape. This takes time and costs money. Administrators, many of whom are on call 24 hours a day, are pulled away from their families to clean up after your crap. If security was what they have in mind(as many claim), they should send them information regarding the hole and allow them to patch it. If it is retaliation, who are they retaliating against. This really doesn't effect the government, it just gives the government more cause to go after them.

    They really need to do something creative for a change. l0pht I have respect for, cDc I have respect for, they find ways to break into systems, their own, and then release this knowlede to the world at large. Hacking for girlies and gH I have no respect for, they exploit known holes and never give back anything.

    After all this ranting I should come to a point. These people should remember that just as firmly you believe you should be allowed to do whatever you want on the internet, the government believes they should be able to put your ass away for doing it.

    Speaking directly to the script kiddies:

    It is because of people like you that the internet is becoming more and more closed, for instance, I know of several places that basic UNIX commands are disallowed. There are several networks where finger, talk and ping are disallowed, simply because of the security risks involved. It used to be that there was a shell account provided as a matter of course, now I have one of the few ISP's that offers one. I'm only 20 and I feel bad that I could not experience all that the internet had to offer (yes, there is more than the web) before network security was forced to get tighter because of you. It has gotten to the point where any experimentation at all is regarded as an attack by systems administrators, and we have you to thank.
  • Which type of sites are cracked more, government or civilian?

    Also, is it only the United States sites that are being attacked?

    I have only seen one or two non -US sites that have been attacked. Why is this the case? Does the US have better security?
  • Posted by LOTHAR, of the Hill People:

    It doesn't seem to that attacking the FBI website is any smarter than trying to burn down a Police Station. Destroying/damaging government property is minor, but directly attacking a law enforcement agency is grounds for some serious jail time.
  • "Cracker" can be mistaken for a racial slur.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @04:57AM (#1872543)
    (Sigh) The usage of Hacker vs. Cracker tells more about the writer and his or her readership than about the person being described. I use "cracker"
    when writing for a geek audience, but I always use "hacker" when writing for a mass medium whose readers or viewers think "crackers" are people in the South who have Confederate flags in the back windows of their pickup trucks.
  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @05:12AM (#1872545)
    Why are you whining about this tired old argument?

    You might have had a point if this was 1983, we had just seen the movie Wargames and wanted to prove how much a geek you were.

    But this is 1999, the term Hacker has been used to refer to those who break into other computer systems at least since 1983 that I can remember.

    The battle was long lost, it's time you just get a grip.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Us pesky Americans started dropping the -our endings on words like flavor, color, and behavior and turned the -re ending around on words like center and meter. Did this make it right? Well, this is what schools and dictionaries define to be "correct" so, yeah, methinks it *does* make it right. Of course, old timers will rebel against new spellings and word meanings and continue to use the old ways. Eventually they die off and we're left with a new generation that grew up with the new spellings and word usages. This is what is happening with 'hacker'. Be a fossil and go extinct sticking with the old language usage or embrace the evolution of the English language and join the rest of society in the new correct usage of the language.

    paet is pae o3nle wae.

    [Stupid ascii, I'm typing in English and there's no thorn, ash, or yogh characters.]
  • http://www.omg.org [omg.org] was hacked this morning. Banner said "Free gH" - I have a screenshot if anyone is interested... also included instructions to restore normal site. (Site is currently down)
  • I agree, the first time I heard the word Hacker back in the early 80's it was to denote people who broke into others computers. It is only in the last year or two in little holes like /. that anyone ever uses the word "cracker". I am a computer programmer, and a professional. I have a college degree and don't refer to what I do all day as "hacking around in code". Hackers=People who break into computer systems. Crackers=thin crunchy bread.
  • people got the wrong idea from my post... i guess i should have stated my thoughts better. maybe i should have stated: i respect someone who breaks in and doesnt destroy data then gives a message to the sysadmin of the security loop-hole a million times more than someone who breaks in to destroy and steal. granted they are both unethical and wrong, but at least you are getting something positive out of the first of the two.

    if you came to my house and used a paperclip to come into my back door when i was at work, and left a note of everything you did when i was gone so that i could fix the problem when i came home i would probabally be a little scared that someone broke in, but at least i know that i should fix my door. and big deal if you saw my underwear drawer when you were browsing around my house, as long as you dont tell people that i wear pink underwear im fine with it. :)
  • If the federal government would give up its hopeless quest to keep encryption out of unwashed hands, no one would be able to break into their systems any more. Why? Because every Internet protocol in the world would be changed to support real security and people would actually be able to use it without fear of criminal prosecution.

    The number one security hole in nearly every system is poorly chosen passwords. This problem could completely go away with a good public key authentication / encryption system implemented by default in all the key Internet protocols.

    It would certainly help if the U.S. Patent Office would quit granting spurious software patents contrary to Title 17 Sections 101-103 of the U.S. Code and reduced the term to ten years for all the rest.
  • i totally agree with you on this one, breaking into any computer is unethical, illegal and wrong. howver sometimes there is no other way to get security improved. after all companies, organizations and governments very infrequently hire people to evaluate security and if they do, then they dont let the public know about it. but i do like the idea of hireing people to evaluate security, however it costs money, and money is always on a budget. will companies do the right thing and pay for their security, or will they wait until they get broken into... id rather have my government pay for its security, but who know what will happen?
  • Most new machines can have their hardware shot to hell by a malicious program. With mine you can overwrite the soldered-in BIOS chip (goodbye mainboard), grossly overclock the processor and video cards, and even crank up the processor voltage and shut off the fans. True, all this is very handy for tweaking, but some kind of manual override would be nice. So far I haven't heard of a virus that does more than kill the BIOS, but I'm sure some [cr/h]acker will come up with one soon.
  • History lesson for y'all. Skinheads were punks in the early 80's, started in London by disenfrancised ('scuse the spelling) youth who couldn't get jobs. I believe (although I'm not sure) it's these same punks that started the Doc Martin shoe company, and why they were so popular with punks in the mid 80's. Well here in America the older members of white supremicist groups like the KKK took these punks under their wings. Most of these punks were from broken or bad homes, and quickly began to emulate the only adults who would show them respect, and also took on their value system. Because they were young and immune to many laws they began to put on public demonstrations of their new values, which of course was publicised by the media. Thus, today a skinhead is not a punk, but a racist.

    Point being, one person who thinks he's a hacker commits a crime that is newsworthy and causes fear in a populace that feels their privacy can be invaded (Mitnick - you moron), and all hackers are now... evil.
    Skinhead= racist, Hacker= what we call cracker. Too late to do anything now but come up with a new name for hacker. I purpose ... um... code-tinker.. guy. :}
  • There seem to be a lot of people who think we should just give up on this and let the electronic criminals take up the name "hacker" once and for all. To this I say hell no, and here's why.

    Let's say you're a homosexual. (Whether you actually are one or not isn't relevant.) You're proud of that; being a gay person constitutes an important - almost essential - part of your self-image. You go out on the street, and, when asked, anyone will be able to tell, "yeah, that's a gay person."

    Now one fine day, you wake up, and you read on the paper an article about some straights doing something. But waitaminnit - this article referred to these people as gay! Not heterosexuals, not true men, but gays! Being a true gay person, you get pissed off and write an enraged letter to the newspaper, explaining the difference between homosexuals and men in minutious detail, so that the shitheads will not do that again.

    But it's too late. The term has caught on - and throughout the world, people are starting to call straight people "gays". Movies are made, books are published. Soon enough, whenever you go, people are talking about these "gays". You meet a nice MOTSS, but you accidentally mention you're gay, and he runs away, thinking you like to sleep with MOTOS.

    Now what's this?!? Has the world gone mad?!? Seems rather Kafkaesque, doesn't it? Well, that's pretty much what happened to true hackers in the 1980's.

    Conclusion: We are the original owners of the "hacker" sobriquet - it reflects an essential part of our collective history, culture and self-image. And I'll be damned if I'm going to let a bunch of stupid rebellious kids with AOL accounts and way too much media coverage take that away from me.
  • bzzzt! Wrong! I find the computer trespassing/home trespassing analogy to be very valid. A person's house is out in the open, on a street with other houses, and readily accessible in that it can be found, seen, walked around, and attempted to be entered. In effect, a house is on a "global network" just as a networked computer is. And laws against trespassing and breaking and entering aren't voided if the homeowner opts to NOT get adequate security. He might be dumb to leave his doors open, but that's no legal carte blanche for an intruder to walk in. "If you don't want people walking in your house, you lock your damn doors" ahem, but the crime is not in failing to lock doors, the onus of the crime is on the guy who walks in without permission. People decided they had the right to have their private property be undisturbed, hence laws against trespassing.
  • The analogy is a very good one. I live in a secured appartment complex with locks on all the exterior doors, plus locks on the doors to each apartment. A simular situation is in effect with my computer. Each account can be considered a door, and passwords can be considered locks. I have passwords(locks) on all accounts(doors) that need login privilages, and dissabled all other accounts(doors). If somebody breaks into my computer they are treaspassing, just as they would be if they broke into my appartment.

    A service like named or httpd can be considered to be like a bank lobby. If you stay within the bank lobby doing only normal transactions, then you're welcome. On the other hand, if you force your way back behind the counter to the employees only section and start rummaging through the files, then your are trespassing.

  • As I recall back in my "Atari400 / BBS 300bps modem" days. A hacker was someone who hacked into systems via the modem. There even was a TV show about some kids that hacked. Anyone remember the movie War Games?

    When did "hacker"'s meaning change to Kernal hacker OSS hacker? Did I miss something?

    magnet

    ps. not tryint to start a flame war or anything, just a need to be educated.
  • You know what strikes me?

    They think they can accomplish good. I mean they are utterly convinced of it. The average adult wouldn't think for a moment that they have the power to affect any sort of change on the government's part, Franchise or no. Yet, every time one of these kiddies lets it be known that they have obtained access, they are dictating the priorities of some very high level IS professionals.

    As an aside, I used to do IS for a high school, so I know how the FBI feels. Of course, I was a co-op student. These guys are highly paid professionals (one would hope). Somehow I imagine it's different for them.

    Regardless, my point is imagine what would happen if all these people thought that they were able to affect a good result for all of society. Imagine, for instance, that all of these people believed that they were able to eliminate political problems like campaign financing scandal. They would have to use different tools, and different methods, but if they already had the belief that they could do it, they would have acheived the most important part already.

    But that won't happen. Why? Because as is so often the case, the people with the drive and skill, do not have the vision to see what they are really capable of.

    They live in fear of being found out by the FBI. So they attack the FBI. It gives them comfort. It's selfish. No one else cares. Society as a whole doesn't give a rat's ass about kiddies living in fear of retribution. Society is what says that the retribution should exist, for christs sake.

    So they lose the respect of the people that see what they do, because for all the skill and drive, they are selfish, and they are of no benefit to us.

    If only we could bottle that drive, that belief that there is something that can be done against the greatest of foes, regardless of your individual power.

    That's the reason I'm intrigued with the Open Source movement. What is different between the Open Source people and script kiddies? Vision. Where did it come from? And how could we bottle it and give it to them?

    Just a thought.

    Gothland

  • It's a pity that these crackers fail to understand the stereotype their actions reinforce.

    Yes, they are angry with good reason.

    Yes, they are unjustifiably persecuted.

    But the answer is education, not retaliation. The answer has never been retaliation, even against a fearful, callous government.

    Forget about the government. Teach the people.
  • by Rombuu ( 22914 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @04:42AM (#1872575)
    "hackers" (why can't *anyone* get this right?)

    And they spelled Komputer and Computer... and I say my way is right and everyone else is wrong.

    Face it, just becuase a small vocal and annoying minority try to use a word in a certain way, doesn't make that the "correct" meaning of the word. Go find a battle you haven't already lost.
  • oh, and BACK THEN a "cracker" was someone that "cracked" games and software, which had nothing to do with breaking into systems.
  • Well on a PC you can usually kill the BIOS and every machine on the planet has an equivelent, if its a writable chip e.g. Flash technology you can rewrite it, if its done after an rm -rf then you're in deep doo doo.
  • There seem to be a lot of people who think we should just give up on this and let the electronic criminals take up the name "hacker" once and for all. To this I say hell no, and here's why.



    Let's say you're a homosexual. (Whether you actually are one or not isn't relevant.) You're proud of that; being a gay person constitutes an important - almost essential - part of your self-image. You go out on the street, and, when asked, anyone will be able to tell, "yeah, that's a gay person."



    Now one fine day, you wake up, and you read on the paper an article about some straights doing something. But waitaminnit - this article referred to these people as gay! Not heterosexuals, not true men, but gays! Being a true gay person, you get pissed off and write an enraged letter to the newspaper, explaining the difference between homosexuals and men in minutious detail, so that the shitheads will not do that again.



    But it's too late. The term has caught on - and throughout the world, people are starting to call straight people "gays". Movies are made, books are published. Soon enough, whenever you go, people are talking about these "gays". You meet a nice MOTSS, but you accidentally mention you're gay, and he runs away, thinking you like to sleep with MOTOS.



    Now what's this?!? Has the world gone mad?!? Seems rather Kafkaesque, doesn't it? Well, that's pretty much what happened to true hackers in the 1980's.



    Conclusion: We are the original owners of the "hacker" sobriquet - it reflects an essential part of our collective history, culture and self-image. And I'll be damned if I'm going to let a bunch of stupid rebellious kids with AOL accounts and way too much media coverage take that away from me.
  • i tell you one thing, i have alot of respect for people who break into places and dont destroy anything or steal anything. now when people start vandalizing data, that is where i draw the line. after all i bet that the sysadmins of the compromised facilities are working their rear-ends off right now trying to fix the security loop holes and that makes me happy because security around this country should be heightened anyways. especially if some 13 year old computer geek who only has 2 years of computer experience can break into some very important computer somewhere.
  • Actually, contrary to popular belief, if someone leaves the door to his house unlocked, it is perfectly legel for someone to walk in and sit at your dinner table. It only becomes illegal if:
    - He breaks anything
    - You ask him to leave and he doesn't (This includes a NO TRESSPASSING sign)
    - He removes anything from your house (reading your diary is not stealing, nor is it illegal)
    - He picks your lock to get in

    I think we're forgetting what a computer is. It's an appliance. If you want to make analogies, think of it this way: You bought a newspaper. You place it on a table at work. Someone picks it up and reads it, and you're going to try to say they "stole your information" or they "trespassed into the pages of your newspaper"? Even if you took a black marker and wrote down your PIN for your bank card, that's not what your co-workers are interested in. They just want to read the paper.

    On the internet, crackers will see you write your PIN in the newspaper, and stealthily try to take the newspaper, read the PIN, burn the newspaper so their fingerprints cannot be traced, and then withdrawl all the money from your bank account. The hacker will see you write the PIN in the newspaper, casually walk past, pick up the newspaper, read the PIN, hand the paper back, and say "You know, you really should write that number in a safer place. But, if you really need to have it in the newspaper, I suggest look at the first six letters of the front page, then lightly write the digits in the middle of the corresponding pages with a pencil, then fill some of the other pages with bogus numbers..."

    Remember: crackers crack for personal gain and for kicks, while hackers use their abilities for knowledge and understanding, and to help others fix potential problems.

    P.S. Let's just let the crackers (and the media) have the name "Hackers" and give ourselves a better name. Suggestions, anyone?
    --------
  • What about "fscker"? This could be readily generalized to provide some differentiation: an e2fscker is, of course, a Linux fscker, while a ufsfscker fscks BSD.
    And of course, someone who hacks DOS/Win9X/NT is a fatfscker.

    ''Yer such a fat fsck Cartman, than when you walk down the street, people say "GODDAMMIT! That kid is a big FAT FSCK!"'' -- Stan Marsh, South Park
    - - -

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "We could have done worse, like destroying completely all servers," the note said.

    Does anyone have any idea how a server could be "destroyed completely" over the Internet? Assumably they're referring rm -rf / -ing it or something equally annoying, but no actual physical destruction (e.g. "lp0 on fire").
  • "Today, Linus Torvalds, respected computer effer and Kimberly, gave a short speech...."

    (shrug) Heck, why not?
  • Well, well. The crackers are at it again. I am rather surprised thast the Kevin Mitnick fiasco did not do anything to them. I am disturbed that people can be so immature as to crack into government systems. While I do not particularily agree with the government, I agree, yes it is trespassing, and that while it may seem exhilerating during the crack, it is stupid, and especially dangerous if you get caught.
  • played by robbie coltrane (fat scottish funnyman) in the uk series of the same name.
  • ... "crackers" are people in the South who have Confederate flags in the back windows of their pickup trucks.
    To emphasize your point...I've always heard the above mentioned crowd referred to as Hicks or Rednecks.
    BTW,You forgot to mention the gunrack...
  • I disagree.

    I don't think they are angry with good reason.

    While I don't know the details, if the FBI is going after people that they have reason to believe violated government computers, that's the breaks. You mess with The Man, he'll mess right back.


    But, assuming that they ARE angry with good reason, retaliation, particularly non-violent retaliation, is a completely acceptable answer. That's one reason we have the 2nd Amendment in the US, and it's also the reason that we have a US instead of a bunch of British colonists paying outrageous taxes on their tea.

  • Considering all the recent flames about the correct usage of those two words, I thought I'd put in my two cents worth on the subject.

    Most people haven't read the official Jargon File definitions of hacker [tuxedo.org] and/or cracker [tuxedo.org]. This means that the more common word will be used the vast majority of the time, even though it is wrong. (consider that "irregardless" is not a word, for example.)

    In my experience (starting in the late '70's), breaking into a system was often referred to "hacking" because the easiest metaphor to explain what a person was doing was that of someone using a machete to chop (hack) a new path through a jungle (security) into a central location (the targeted system). "Cracking" was related to breaking through security codes, etc., and was often referred to as being similar to cutting one's way through the walls with a "hack" saw.

    Outside of computer circles, one does not "hack" something together. A person might "jury rig", "cobble", or "string" something together to see if it works, but the "hacking" part of the process is usually where something's getting dismantled in order to be reused in the new gadget. In this sense, I "hack" your code to get at the usable pieces. But am I really "hacking" when I put them back together?

    I guess what I am driving at is that the "hacker's culture" is not a a "slash and destroy" mentality. It's much more an inventor's culture -- take things apart and put them together in useful new ways.

    This is (IMHO) the single most important distinction which we need to convey to mainstream public and media.
    ------------

  • I don't think there's such a thing as a "self-respecting script kiddie."

    In the CNN article, the claims by M1crochip ( or whatever... when will the stupid Internet aliases come to an end?) are a bit farfetched. So far thy've stuck to replacing .gov home pages with daring jargon, but next time EVERYTHING is going down. They mean it. Really. All .gov servers are going down.

    If that happens, I hope they remember to leave up at least one server to host their M1crochip r00lz web page.
  • I was familiar with "jury built", but hadn't heard the n- rigged variant before. Maybe the person I heard use the word put 'em together -- I don't know.

    That'll teach me to use English words I've heard but not seen in print... (and BTW, I am a native (American) English speaker. ...sigh...)

  • Not necessarily a racial slur, but 'cracker' certainly does refer to southern white males, particularly from Georgia.

    I've been writing programs since 1982, and I've never referred to 'people who write good code for fun' as "hackers". A "hacker" to me has always been someone who maliciously attempts to break into another computer system, long before the media got a hold of the word.

    Frankly, the community of good coders better think of something fast, because if coders in the Linux/*BSD community continue to use the term 'hacker' to describe themselves, the media will go into a frenzy over the idea that the Linux community is run by people with malicious intent.

  • Yes, and originally it had nothing to do with computers. Those damn computer geeks just corrupted the original meaning of the word.

    Hey, just like the media is doing now.

    Isn't that pretty much the definition of hypocrisy?
  • | Ok, no self-respecting script kiddies - let
    | alone skilled system crackers - would call
    | themselves something as lame as "Masters of
    | Downloading".

    Yes, MoD does exist. Yes, it is lame.

    On another note, in the post below this, someone appears to be arguing for the disbandment of the term "cracker" as differentiated from "hacker". I think a distinction does really need to be made verbally. Whether it be "good hacker" and "evil hacker" or whatever. Really, one should read ESR's Hacker Ethic. It's really not fair for hackers to be grouped with people so diametrically opposed. And especially not with the likes of MoD.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, thats a little rude but I have to agree. Most 'crackers' I know of refer to themselves as hackers. Most security people I know do as well. Its too bad the word has been twisted, but it has. Besides, cracker just sounds stupid.

    -AC

  • And the MIT model railroad club (or whomever) who used the term "hack" to denote a technical stunt were corrupting a word with many older and more varied meanings.

    The only definition of "HacK" in my dictionary is the political term (someone who does partisan political work).

    If you heard someone call their plumber or car mechanic a "hack", it would probalby be derogatory. Somehow it got twisted on it's head to be an honor in the computer world.

    If you can live with political hacks and hack car mechanics and model railroad hackers, you ought to be able to live with Linux hackers and hax0r intruders.
    --
  • The old Atlanta baseball team (minor league?) was called the Crackers. I would suspect they didn't consider it a slur.

    Besides, the lameness of it is desirable. What better way to discourage script kiddies than to give them a stupid label?
  • So now the "hackers" are whining because the FBI is cracking down on them for breaking into computers. Give me a break. How can you claim that hack..err..cracking isn't a crime? It's TRESPASSING. Breaking into someone elses computer and messing around is illegal! It's not your computer! The script kiddies brought this upon themselves. Sorry, I hope the FBI busts them.
  • As I recall back in my "Atari400 / BBS 300bps modem" days. A hacker was someone who hacked into systems via the modem. There even was a TV show about some kids that hacked. Anyone remember the movie War Games?
    Yea. I remember then. The TV show was "Wizkids", if I remember right. I loved it. I also liked Wargames. Of course, I also saw them as hollywood versions of my interests - not defacto definitions. ;)

    Along those lines... its scary talking to kids (I must be getting old) and hear about their interests being fueled by the movie "Hackers".

    Kids these days. Back in MY days, we didn't have fancy gigabyte hard drives. We used floppies. We watched Wargames and Wizkids. And we LIKED it that way!

    Anyway...

    When did "hacker"'s meaning change to Kernal hacker OSS hacker? Did I miss something?

    It didn't. Read the classic book "Hackers; Heroes of the Computer Revolution" by Steven Levy (first published in '86 I think, you can buy reprints - and there's an electronic version out there too.. I had a doc for the PalmPilot). Students at MIT began using the term "hack" to describe technical acheivments as early as the late 1950s. Consequently, they fell into coining the phrase "hacker" to describe themselves.

    It wasn't until later that specific computer enthusiasts, "hackers", began sparking public interest with their expoits as computer nuisances, vandals, criminals, and now national threats.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    they seem to have changed their mind and now
    use cracker instead of hacker.

    see http://www.heise.de/newsticker /data/fr-01.06.99-000/ [heise.de]

    (it's in german, but you can clearly see the term cracker ;-)

    -funzel
  • by aphr0 ( 7423 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @05:08AM (#1872625)
    Would you respect me if you came home one day and found me walking around your house browing through your underwear while playing your barry manilow records? Or would you call the cops and have me hauled away? More likely, you would want me out of your damn house. Sure, you'd get better bolts for your door and maybe put up some bars and be more secure in the end. But, the fact still remains that I trespassed onto your property and looked through your belongings without permission.

    I have no respect for people who break into sites without permission, whether they damage things or not. I DO, however, respect those who do it with permission on another system or locally on their own system. It takes quite a bit of brains to figure out ways around complex security measures. There are legal and ethical ways to breach the security of programs. (That is, until some misguided piece of legislation tramples that right.)

    Mind you, I'm not preaching security through obscurity. I'm just saying that breaking into a system without permission is inethical, regardless of intentions. Who knows? Maybe I walked into your house to rearrange your furniture and fix your toaster. You don't know that, however. Therefore, you feel threatened by my presense and will presumably call authorities to haul me off elsewhere.
  • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Tuesday June 01, 1999 @05:02AM (#1872626) Homepage
    Ok, no self-respecting script kiddies - let alone skilled system crackers - would call themselves something as lame as "Masters of Downloading".
    These so-called break-ins are actually fakes created by the government so they can a) get increased support for crackdowns on "evil hackers" and b) increase attention and therefore funding for their own "cyberwar" plans.

    --

  • Time to give up on calling yourself a "Hacker," and then being upset when the media misuses the term.

    Time to choose a brand new name.

    I suggest 'Effer ... 'cause who hasn't completely effed a system by hacking, eh? As a bonus, it's doubtful that the papers would be all that eager to rip off the name. :-)

    (My second vote goes for "Kimberley." Just 'cause it's a nice sounding name.)

  • I agree with you, unfortunaly hacker/Cracker are two things compleatly different. I think that what we need is another word for what we call "Hacker" and surrender to the usual meaning of hacker.

    In my opinion language (human I mean) is a matter of majority, if everyone say that a hacker is someone that cracks into a site and steal information who am I to disagree?
    --
    "take the red pill and you stay in wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabitt hole goes"
  • they are trying to destroy an old tradition going back to the early 80's.

    Back to the early 80's???? Hacking goes back a lot longer than that. Friend, you need to read the Jargon File [tuxedo.org]. The term "Hacker" goes back to the 1960s, if not even before.>


    --
  • A homosexual that was pissed off about that wouldn't have much sense of linguistic history.

    When I was young (shows how old I am), 'gay' meant something like cheerful, or happy. As far as I recall, it was only something like a couple of decades ago that it was taken over by the homosexual community for use as a word to describe themselves that didn't have insulting connotations. An argument could be made (and I'm just using this as an example) that there would be some justice in having the word reclaimed.

    The fact is that language evolves all the time, particularly with euphamisms.

    For example, 'toilet' was originally a polite word to refer to something else (I don't know what it was called before then), but when I was over in the U.S. I was a little surprised you dont look for public toilets, the word 'restroom' is now used instead. Last place I'd go for a rest ;).

    There are lots of other examples, which I won't go into here.

    It's always a bit sad to see the language that we grew up with being 'corrupted', but I think every generation goes through that, and the language still survives and grows.

    My objection with the 'hacker' vs. 'cracker' is not so much the terms that are used, but the fact that (in the popular media), confusion of the terms is connected with confusion of the two cultures.

    It would be nice to think that hackers just using another word to describe themselves would help, but the problem is that many crackers regard themselves or want to see themselves as hackers, or just can't understand the difference. It is more glamorous to see yourself as an inventor than a vandal. This is part how I imagine the confusion got started in the first place (another part being distrust of anyone who can do things with such arcane devices as computers), and I suspect that this confusion (whatever terms are actually used) will always be there.

    I wonder what restrooms will be renamed as when that starts to become an impolite word?

    Roy Ward.
  • like in SCANNERS where he uses his psychic powers to hack into this big mainframe and sets off the small explosive charges they have in place to keep rival companies from hacking in and gaining sensitive information and it kills the really bad guy and melts the phone he used.
    like that.
  • This is really worth considering. I think maybe somoen who knows something more personal about the ``hacker'' community should check it out. Like maybe we could get some URLs to pages of people connected to these group who might be celebrating.

Congratulations! You are the one-millionth user to log into our system. If there's anything special we can do for you, anything at all, don't hesitate to ask!

Working...