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CNet's "Top 10 Hacks" 100

tdrury writes "CNET has a story describing the "top 10 hacks" (sic) of all time. Good bathroom material - if you can surf from your bathroom. " Mentions the Morris worm and a few other clever ones. And several quite unclever ones (like the Jurassic Park/Pond PR stunt).
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CNet's "Top 10 Hacks"

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  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @05:24PM (#1579179)
    Thanks again Big Media for only getting half of the story. You write up this big article on hacking, but don't mention the reason behind it. Once again sensationalism overcomes common decency. Why not ask the community what they think? We're here, we're online, and we're accomodating. If you're honest with us, we're honest with you.

    The greatest hack of all time may be that we're all laughing at you instead of with you and you don't even realize it yet. It's not "just" about hacking websites... it's about exploring the System. The system isn't just the online world you see, it's your reality. The media has had nearly unlimited power to shape our collective reality until now. Until now. Now the community is redefining what reality is, and exposing alot of facts that most would rather see buried.

    Perhaps geeks are more paranoid than most because they know how far information manipulation can go... and infact see it on a daily basis. "Mistrust authority. Promote decentralization." Subversive? Us? Nah.

    --

  • When will people learn? The term "Hacker" was originated in the 1980s to describe the people at the MIT AI lab. These people conformed to the profile of a True Hacker, not the crackers you now see on TV calling themselves hackers.

    Ah yes; nothing like a good bit of linguistic autocracy. Language is a slippery beast; it doesn't have a spec. document and changes every time somebody uses it (actually, I think all European languages except English have some kind of official governing body to decide on `correctness', but for whom are they keeping their language `correct'?). Did you know that `gay' used to be a word without any connotations of homosexuality? No? Well, you do now. Why not start using it in its original sense more often? Because you don't care, because it's been absorbed into common usage now, because heck the word sounds better than homosexual and less offensive than so many other terms...

    Or what about the word `album'; I mean, you only have to look here [mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de] to see that rather than being anything to do with music it derives from the Latin word for white (at a guess because the tablets used for keeping Roman public records were white, which were engraved on, hence the word came to mean anything engraved upon, e.g. those funny vinyl discs on which the first `albums' were pressed).

    So why not let the term `hacker' go rather than trying to `correct' the `ignorance' of the masses? You could say instead (with equal accuracy) that the term `cracker' was denoted nothing but a cheese-oriented biscuit until a computer programmer or two got tired of being associated with the wrong sort of people and agreed on a the clumsy term to denote them from The Other.

    Try thinking about language as a tool of control and identification rather than communication next time you correct somebody else's use of it. You might end up noticing what you're really saying.

    PS-- I sent a rant like this to Mr. Raymond after reading his definition of `hacker' in his jargon file. Got ignored, for one reason or another.

    PPS-- Homework for next time: In light of the above, discuss the term `free software' (but not on Slashdot please :-) ).

  • Probably not, I suspect if you searched for "root" you'd just get a billion porn sites. They probably just looked it up in their "Computer Journalism for Dummies" glossary...

    hey now, careful... wouldn't want slashdot getting sued 'n stuff cuz you mentioned "... for dummies" in a post...

    doh! now i did it myself!

  • My vote on Thompsons login hack as the number one computerhack in history.

    What's the second best hack?

  • deal with the new defition.
  • The Zippy filter is still around. For anyone who hasn't seen it, you should really check it out. It's just about the funniest thing on the web: http://www.metahtml.com/apps/zippy /welcome.mhtml [metahtml.com]
  • by Ignatius ( 6850 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @09:52PM (#1579186)
    Check out the "back door [jargon.org]" entry of the Jargon File [jargon.org] to learn about one of the IMHO most creative hacks of all time:

    [...] Ken Thompson's 1983 Turing Award lecture to the ACM admitted the existence of a back door in early Unix versions that may have qualified as the most fiendishly clever security hack of all time. In this scheme, the C compiler contained code that would recognize when the `login' command was being recompiled and insert some code recognizing a password chosen by Thompson, giving him entry to the system whether or not an account had been created for him.
    Normally such a back door could be removed by removing it from the source code for the compiler and recompiling the compiler. But to recompile the compiler, you have to use the compiler -- so Thompson also arranged that the compiler would recognize when it was compiling a version of itself, and insert into the recompiled compiler the code to insert into the recompiled `login' the code to allow Thompson entry -- and, of course, the code to recognize itself and do the whole thing again the next time around! And having done this once, he was then able to recompile the compiler from the original sources; the hack perpetuated itself invisibly, leaving the back door in place and active but with no trace in the sources. [...]

    A detailed description of the hack by Ken Thompson himself can be found here [acm.org].

  • I agree. I submitted the original article and wasn't very impressed with any of those hacks except the Morris worm.

    Best hack of all time: the connection of the first two IMPs together and the first letters transmitted over the ARPAnet ("l", "o", "g"). Read all about that one in Where the Wizards Stay Up Late [amazon.com] .

    I hate to mention this one, but I do believe that the Allen/Gates Altair BASIC hack was pretty good. Developed on a simulator it worked the first time on the real platform.
  • The Zippy MetaHTML thing is still up at: http://www.metahtml.com/apps/zippy /welcome.mhtml [metahtml.com]

    Look what it did to a story on the front-page of slashdot:

    Roberth Edberg writes "The Swedish birthday congratulationlist for Linus Torvalds (creator of Linux) is increasing every minute. How do you explain Wayne Newton's POWER over millions? It's th' MOUSTACHE... Have you ever noticed th' way it radiates SINCERITY, HONESTY & WARMTH? It's a MOUSTACHE you want to take HOME and introduce to NANCY SINATRA! Will he have an world record in individual birthday congratulations? Even the Swedish Linux World site, made news about it. Wow! Look!! A stray meatball!! Let's interview it! Why not follow the example and make lists for your own country?" Linus Torvalds turned 30 yesterday, October 28, 1999. Happy (belated) birthday, Linus!

    rOD.
    --

  • Hey, thanks for posting that. I thought we might as well use it to do the obvious [metahtml.com]:

    Hackers. You can't even use the word without ticking someone off. Life is a POPULARITY CONTEST! I'm REFRESHINGLY CANDID!! Upholders of the status quo hate that the existing state of affairs is being undermined by sociopathic cybervandals.

    [...]
    Of course, we don't endorse hacking of any kind. But it's an integral part of Web culture, and like anybody else, we love a sensational story. I'm meditating on the FORMALDEHYDE and the ASBESTOS leaking into my PERSONAL SPACE!! So read on for our favorite hacks of all time
  • Should "top ten *known* hacks".

    Because the best of them, only a few people are aware of.
  • cracker = cheese oriented biscuit. i'll bet that slienced a lot of folks here :p

    you have made an otherwise dull friday so much better by that comment :O) ROFL.
  • They state that the smeG server and the Zippy metaHTML servers are gone, but the Zippy server can be found here [metahtml.com].

    If you're working for a corporation building a marketing website, it's extremely funny stuff. Microsoft has blocked it somehow. Check out some /. goodness:

    Book Reviews: The New, New, Thing
    Posted by JonKatz on Friday October 29, @09:34AM EDT
    from the Seeing-Over-Horizons-in-Silicon-Valley dept.
    Michael Lewis' "The New, New Thing" focuses on mythic Silicon Valley entrepeneur (and Netscape founder) Jim Clark to explain how Silicon Valley really works. He is the MELBA-BEING... the ANGEL CAKE... XEROX him... XEROX him -- It's a great read, but the author perhaps admires his ego-maniacal subject a bit too much.
    ( Read More... | 8741 bytes in body )

    Linus Torvalds Turns 30 and the Kudos Roll In
    Posted by Roblimo on Friday October 29, @09:12AM EDT
    from the never-trust-anyone-over-30 dept.
    Roberth Edberg writes "The Swedish birthday congratulationlist for Linus Torvalds (creator of Linux) is increasing every minute. Look! A ladder! Maybe it leads to heaven, or a sandwich! Will he have an world record in individual birthday congratulations? Even the Swedish Linux World site, made news about it. It was a JOKE!! Get it?? I was receiving messages from DAVID LETTERMAN!! YOW!! Why not follow the example and make lists for your own country?" Linus Torvalds turned 30 yesterday, October 28, 1999. Happy (belated) birthday, Linus!
  • any slashdotter could give you a more interesting, historically accurate, and comprehensive list.

    I am still waiting for someone to put it together.
    Hurry up.
  • Everyone now, hop on the HACKERS-R-KEWL bandwagon... weee!!! We (the media) can ALL just make a bunch of BS up and report it(like we do fer everything else)!! Then when people are so SICK of hearing about HACKING we'll ignore them just as we did before!!! (Feels like the == to the Gangster Rap fad). Point is NO ONE at CNET really gives a crap about the great HAX, they just wants to attract attention by using the word "HACKER". whores......... ***Note--> Why in the hell did CNET feel they had to explain what ROOT access was?? sheesh.
  • yea. They left out kevin mitnick's medicore hacks. they never mentioned any really great hacks. What a frigging puff peice. There is AMAZING scary shit going on from hacking. You know what? It's probably better that you didnt know the truth in this case.
  • Heh. I was just going to say something like that. Astounding that they've managed to miss something this basic. Why do they let people like this write? Dolts. They're total dolts.
  • I think that some hacks, if declassified, would far outrank those you see at MIT. There are reports that tiger teams who met with great success in penetrating security have forced more than one general into early retirement.

    "Your codebooks were here. ~ J Random Hacker"

    --

  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    Who can forget this one [slashdot.org]? (:

    --

  • Well, at least they got the hacker/cracker thing right.

    But they did use the "word" hacktivist.

    Sigh.

    paranoid.android
  • The article wasn't researched all that carefully.

    Apparently 'hacking root' means to 'hack into
    the root directory of the server'.

    I wonder if they did an altavista search for 'root', and took the first mention they found.

  • Looks like we got the Segfault.org folks now.

    They should have left the comments and write-ins enabled. Obviously, certain people need a place to spam and joke around at. Segfault was that place, and I saw nothing wrong with it.

    But unfortunately, now that Segfault doesn't allow that (which, btw, means I won't be visiting Segfault anymore), they run here.
  • I think that the funniest (and the most truthful) hack is the "MIT doesn't do windows" and the "Crash" button [mit.edu] that some hackers put up in '96 when Bill Gates spoke at MIT.
  • by Uruk ( 4907 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @05:52PM (#1579207)
    Orson Wells. War of the Worlds.

    Remember, hacking isn't just with computers. Probably the best piece of hacking/social engineering EVER was Orson Wells with the war of the worlds. Who else can claim that their hack affected MILLIONS of people all over the country?

    Oh sure, I hear the naysayers saying that he probably didn't even mean to do it. But to me, that's immaterial. The hack of turning a regular radio show into a national panic is quite a hack, IMHO. It may not have been cool or good, but I would consider it a hack.

  • I gotta get me one of those "hacker" bags!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm astonished at how a news piece could be so gratuitously wrong.

    Heck, I did better than these when I was in school.

    (grin. I still remember doing 'dynamic load balancing' of the mini computer by causing people to log themselves off whenever they tried to view the print queue, and harvesting passwords with a fake log in screen.)

  • Somehow, I have the feeling that if a decent hacker really wanted to get "within a thousand yards of Meg Ryan," it would happen. Anyone got vacation time coming up?
  • My "modern" understanding of "hacker" is just someone who is naturally inquisitive. If that involves breaking into systems and causing a nuisance, then it doesn't lose meaning.

    To correct you, however. The term "hack" came from the 20s, describing newspaper reporters who spent until the early hours of the morning "hacking away" at a typewriter. The term "hack" is an onomatphoea (spelling? :-)) for the noise a typewriter makes.

    So there :-P
  • Leave it to C|Net, the geekiest anti-geek site in existence:

    "Real-world hackers--despite their posturing, bluster, talents, and occasional good intentions--couldn't hope to get within a thousand yards of Meg Ryan."

    Unless you're Roblimo, I guess.

    [IMO, the people who put a vertical pipe in their name should be considered just as geeky as those who put slashes and dots in their name. (shrug)]
  • The hackers wrote of their own "rooting" exploits (that is, hacking the root directory of a server)

    Oh please...

    Mind you at least General Public won't know what root is.
  • Maybe not in this order, but:

    1) Unix -- Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie
    2) C -- Thompson, Ritchie, Brian Kernighan
    3) Perl -- Larry Wall
    4) Sendmail -- Eric Allman
    5) NNTP -- (? Two guys from NC)
    6) diff/patch -- Larry Wall
    7) Linux kernel -- Linus Torvalds
    8) Mosaic httpd client -- NCSA
    10) GNU utilities -- FSF/GNU

    The above list is what I think of when I think 'hack' -- useful new tools or solutions to problems devloped by small groups or individuals. The web site vandals and other intrusion experts just doen't seem to be on the same level as the folks on *this* list.

  • CNET.com is just one of those sites where you can see the gears and sprockets of the mind working, you can tell they do have a clue, but when it comes down to it they always aim low, very low.

    You just know there are people there who really do have a clue about tech, but must condescend pretty low to get the hits that pay the bills. This was the first time I've seen a hacker/cracker definition in any mainstream media. Yet, most of top 10 are very lame web page defacements that go on a few dozen times a day - you can view them at attrition.org. I'm still trying to piece together why movie URLs are so important. I don't make the assumption that because 100 million people saw that movie that 100 million people saw the defacement. Or cared.

    CNET is one of the greatest modern hacks, they way they pile in both geek and goon and show them almost nothing, yet can still maintain a decent rep and pay the bills. Bravo!

  • Whatever happened to reading for comprehension, people?? The C|NET story ISN'T proporting to list the "10 Best Hacks of all Time" . It's listing the 10 "MOST SUBVERSIVE" hacks (in their NSHO). That's why those inelegant - but politically interesting - hacks are there.
    ----------------------------------------------

  • forget the mit hacks

    what aboug gates getting that pie in his FACE !

  • One name you won't see here is that of hacker poster boy Kevin Mitnick, who was indicted on 17 counts of computer fraud, wire fraud, damage, and unauthorized access. The hacks he got caught for weren't merely public displays of bravado; they were more like industrial espionage.

    Eh... That's the first thing I saw when I was reading the article. I stopped after that.. why do they feel the need to "warn" readers that they're not going to talk about "real hacks" (whatever they think that means). Seems a bit over-politically-correct to me.

  • The hackers wrote of their own "rooting" exploits (that is, hacking the root directory of a server) ...

    Man, how could they get something so wrong? :o
  • how dare they not mention any of great Mitnick hacks.. the legendary phone hack when house hold phone was redefined as pay phone etc... sickening. but than thats what you get from corporately overtaken CNET.
  • Sorry, given the quality of CNET's tech reporting I *had* to say it! :)
  • keeps me from doing actual homework
  • it sucked, adn was barely worth not doing comupter science homework
  • You would think that they might have a link in that article somewhere for Attrition.org (The hacked page wonder). Oh well, it's Cnet's approach to practicly anything (Sugar coating). Even though it was kind of informative.


    -Tim
  • I don't understand, am I the only one who thinks this should be WAY further up the list, especially compared to some of the others listed.
  • Though I appreciate the symbolic value of "Wargames", it's just not a real-life example of the 'Net striking back. My nomination for #1 would be the cracking and slashdotting [slashdot.org] of kipling.com's [kipling.com] "hacker" contest. >:)

  • Anyone remember this site? If not, read on...
    They were a "free porn" ("jumbo shrimp"?) site..all you had to do to get the pr0n was download thier "client"...which actually turned the speaker off of the (l)user's modem, dialed a phone number in Outer Mongolia , and connected to a pop there. Brilliant. beautifulgirls.com split the phone revenue with a northern slobovian phone company, and the people who found $200+ international ld calls on their phone bill were screwed; a court case determined that they were indeed liable for the charges....now _that_ was memorable..btw, i wasn't one of those lusers...
  • Man, the one cool thing I got out of this was the warm fuzzy feeling that remembering the Meta-Zippy page gave me. This was one of the most entertaining sites on the net, and never ceased to spice up a drab, boring website. In fact, the more staid and upright (Boring) the page was, the better it worked. I wish it was still around.

    sigh.

    Lotek---

  • But what else can you expect from C-net...
  • Newton for Calculus. You can't be just some idiot and work that out. THAT was a real brain Hack.
  • It wasn't ranked higher because the worm exploit wasn't intended as a taking-down-systems kind of hack. He made a programming mistake, like they mention in the article. That's what caused the problem with the computers... not his breaking and entering through a known point of entry. It was mildly clever... but only like word macro viruses are mildly clever-
  • So ``rooting'' is gaining access to the root directory on a server. Got it!


  • Yes! I love this one. I was thinking of it while reading the CNet article, and was kind of hoping they'd include it. I guess it's a bit over technical for their target audience tho :-(

    dylan_-


    --

  • I'm assuming you're using "best hacks" the way Cnet did, but I'm going to just say "cracks" to keep myself sane. In that case, I think it would be a cool idea to have the Slashdot community vote on the best cracks. What would be extra spiffy, though, is if one of our faithful slashdotters then proceeded to crack Cnet's servers and replace their list with ours. There must be someone out there who could figure it out...

    On a different note, "best hacks" to me has to do with creative and powerful solutions to computing problems, and it would be pretty cool to see a slashdot-compiled list of the very best of those, too.


    hmm... reading slashdot comments is a lot more fun than doing physics problem sets...
    Klaas
  • Why can't there be a one page list that individual "hacks" are liked to?

    This Click here for page one, then click here for page two, and so on is annoying. Is this just a bullshit way to increase the number of hits they get per day and drive up advertsing prices?

    LK
  • I think the ranking has to do with timing, and it being before the big Internet commercial goldrush. If something akin to the Morris worm were released today, taking down 1 in 10 internet servers, the person caught for it would be sued for about 10 quadrillion dollars and locked up for about 2000 years.
  • I saw a documentary on this the other day. Not only did Welles have a pretty good idea what might happen (the programme started as a straight dramatisation, then the fake news reports cut in just when there was a commercial break on another, more popular station, when he knew people would be channel surfing), he knew about the hysteria while the broadcast was still going on, and steadfastly refused repeated pleas to announce that it was just a dramatisation. Footage of the press conference the next day, with Welles faking contrition ("deeply shocked", "had no idea what was going on") highly amusing.
  • Yes, It is just so they can pump more ads onto your screen and get more gross hits. That's why I almost never read CNET or ZDNET. Takes too damn long to download their pages and I don't think it is good to reward rampant commercialism and bad web design with hits. If I do, I turn the images off, which unfortunately defeats the purpose of having a graphical web browser!
  • My grandfather was alive for the original War of the Worlds broadcast. He couldn't understand why people were acting so nutty. He had at least three basic flaws with the entire thing.
    1. It played during the spot that was usually reserved for this show (not sure if it was Wells' or just a sci-fi weekly).
    2. There was only one station carrying the "report". If aliens did invade and tromped everywhere more places would be getting hurt.
    3. The biggie every 15 minutes they announced "This is only a sketch." or something like that.

    Very odd how scared people got. Think people. It sometimes helps.
    -cpd
  • Okay, I did it, I suffered through the "9 Greatest hacks of all time" [puh-leaze], only to get this payoff on the last page:

    Real-world hackers--despite their posturing, bluster, talents, and occasional good intentions--couldn't hope to get within a thousand yards of Meg Ryan. The closest they can aspire to is hacking the In ternet Movie Database.

    But the social life of hackers aside...

    How nice. Looks like CNET's been taken over by Weekly World News.

  • Problem with your analogy is that there is a precedent for the term cracker that predates computer technology. Figuring out a cipher is called cracking, and so is breaking into a safe (as in ``safe cracker''). So you can't object to the term cracker being applied to someone who breaks computer security on the grounds that the term already refers to a kind of food

    I wasn't objecting to the term as such, only pointing out that its purpose in this context was to divide one group of `hackers' from another (okay my analysis of the word was less than complete). Its problem in this context is that it's an ugly word, and too close to the more familiar `hacker' for most people to bother to listen to, or care for the intended distinction between the terms.
  • I was going to question the quote about him making a "programming mistake" That is the first that I've read that. I always thought that he knew exactly what he was doing when he coded it, but he really didn't intend for it to get out onto the net, or something like that. Maybe that's what he told his lawyers.

    Anyways, I really doubt that a pretty sharp coder would make a mistake like that and not catch it during the testing phase.
  • Hackers. You can't even use the word without ticking someone off. Upholders of the status quo hate that the existing state of affairs is being undermined by sociopathic cybervandals. Old-school hackers think of their work as exploratory and prefer to call people who break into servers for mischief crackers.
    But it's those mischief makers who get attention. Their hacks make the front pages of world newspapers and cause fear and hysteria. Among these types of hacks, there are gradations of severity. Some hacks pose a threat to national security; some hacks are merely an annoying form of political activism.
    At least they admit they get the term wrong and admitted it. Typical of CNet style. And in their typical CNet manner, they are trying to do what simetlnet/cdrom.com and slashdot.org/hackernewsnetwork/geeknews does. Be a better file service and news site. Only problem is they make a mess of things: no direct ftp access (oak.oakland.edu and cdrom.com) nor do they report everything properly.

    sporty - with the new jack swing commin' at ya'

  • I fail to see how some of these qualify as the Net's "most subversive hacks." The Worm, of course, is legendary, but the rest seem to be almost randomly-selected site defacements.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 1999 @04:56PM (#1579264)
    did anyone else notice that 80% of these were not true hacks but just web site modifications. (except two : the movie [which wasn't a real hack] and morris [i remember a story from back then where the guys at MIT reverse engineering the worm came to the conclusion that the perpetrator just plain wasn't that good a programmer : the worm could have been a MUCH better hack.) why not real hacks? why not _better_ imagined ones (E911 anybody?) the WWW is NOT the net. there's a lot more to hacking then a URL. [sigh]
  • How many times could one article use the phraseology, "...proving that..." and "the moral of the story is..."? Rhetorical question.

    The special(ly inane) report was advertised as the "10 Craftiest Hacks" and the "10 Most Subversive Hacks", but it's neither. And what's with the slam at Kevin Mitnick on the front page of the article? My understanding is that industrial espionage involves companies spying on each other for competitive advantage, not one man's virtual dumpster diving.

    CNET's definition of spoofing is "the interception and jumbling of information from a content-providing Web server before it reaches a person browsing the site...very popular in 1997."
    Definitely the borderline lame-assness the Jargon File refers to in its spoof entry [tuxedo.org]. I'm worrying I missed out on that crazy 1997 spoofing fad. Hmm.

    I really can't tell whether the article is simply lame or perniciously brain-dead. The tone of the AirTran hack description [cnet.com] is misbegottenly whiny, calling morbid humor "crass" (if you can believe that).

    Finally, I bet "Real-world hackers" could get within a thousand yards of Meg Ryan. Especially if they're Real World "hackers." [slashdot.org]
  • This is a quote from the #3 hack page ;-)

    The hackers wrote of their own "rooting" exploits (that is, hacking the root directory of a server) at sites including those of Penthouse, Motorola, and an ISP in New Mexico. And those who made it to the end of the page found a statement that more interesting material could be found in the HTML source of the hack.

    Root directory of a server... ROFLMAO!

    I think that writer needs a crash course in UNIX.
    --
    Leonid S. Knyshov
    Network Administrator
  • by Wee ( 17189 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @04:58PM (#1579268)
    Not one mention of some of the world's truly great hacks: the tradition at MIT of pulling off a really super stupendous hack [mit.edu], usually in full view of god and everyone.

    For my money, the Green Building as a VU meter [mit.edu] is the most impressive, the cop car on the dome [mit.edu] the most humorous.

    Anyway, I thought it was sad that true great hacks got no mention.

    -B

  • I think the Robert Morris virus should have been #1!!! and of course each hack was on a different page!! more advertising!!!
  • I wonder if they did an altavista search for 'root', and took the first mention they found.

    Probably not, I suspect if you searched for "root" you'd just get a billion porn sites. They probably just looked it up in their "Computer Journalism for Dummies" glossary...

    --

  • Problem with your analogy is that there is a precedent for the term cracker that predates computer technology. Figuring out a cipher is called cracking, and so is breaking into a safe (as in ``safe cracker''). So you can't object to the term cracker being applied to someone who breaks computer security on the grounds that the term already refers to a kind of food. Moreover, the two meanings are distant, so there is no confusion. Hackers and crackers are not as distant, so there is significant confusion. People who use hacker in the explorative computer programmer sense can be easily misunderstood to be referring to the security cracker meaning.

    When you say ``I'm a hacker'', some people may think that you break into computers, even though you mean that you like to work on neat programs. When you say ``I'm eating a cracker'', nobody thinks that you are munching on the remains a stereotypical masked guy who blows up metal boxes (or worse, performing some indecency). ;)
  • by dalke ( 1472 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @08:13PM (#1579272)
    My favorite is the back door Thompson put in the unix login program. The back door wasn't in login.c but was in the C compiler, so when login was compiled, the code was added -- you never saw the code in the login source. In addition, the C compiler was modified to add the back door code when it compiled itself, so you never saw the modifications in the source.

    See http://www.acm.org/classics/sep95/ [acm.org]for more details.

  • by plunge ( 27239 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @08:18PM (#1579273)
    Like too many news articles this days, this one was just filled with bland moralizing and "teaching" language. And the number one "hack" of all time is the movie "War Games?" What? I'm getting sick and tired of "reports" that merely express what people are suppose to think about a subject under the cover of "informing" them. Bah. Not worth the read- any slashdotter could give you a more interesting, historically accurate, and comprehensive list.
  • c'mon now!! How does that super-dooper Microsoft hack not make it at number one? Microsoft denied that it happened, and the number one "hack" never really happened, so logic says that the hack of microsoft is number one.....right?
  • by Zico ( 14255 )

    All they did was say that some people get all worked up about it. If they thought they were wrong, they wouldn't have used it. Kudos to c|net for not using the incorrect term "cracking" like so many people do.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • by Raindeer ( 104129 ) on Thursday October 28, 1999 @05:20PM (#1579277) Homepage Journal
    Allright we've seen the CNET article and though it is amusing it is no where near to being a list of most 'subversive hacks'. I have allready seen some good hacks being cited here.

    Instead of complaining, maybe we could show CNET what a good hack is supposed to look like. What I propose is that we compile a list, that is actually a list of best hacks. Together with some help from Slashdot editors this list could be build and through voting I think we could come up with a list that is a more accurate definition of the word hack.

    I vote for Charles Babbage to be on this list. Doing all, that he did, mechanically was and is a great hack.

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