- Great Painters
- Accounting
- Fundamentals of Law
- Marketing
- Shorthand
- Concept Cars
- Videogames
- The World of Sports

- Blogs
- Free Software
- Google
- My Computer

- PHP Language and Applications
- Wikipedia
- Windows Vista

- Education
- Masterpieces of English Literature
- American English

- English Dictionaries
- The English Language

- Medical Emergencies
- The Theory of Memory
- The Beatles
- Dances
- Microphones
- Musical Notation
- Music Instruments
- Batteries
- Nanotechnology
- Cosmetics
- Diets
- Vegetarianism and Veganism
- Christmas Traditions
- Animals

- Fruits And Vegetables


  1. Adobe Reader
  2. Adware
  3. Altavista
  4. AOL
  5. Apple Macintosh
  6. Application software
  7. Arrow key
  8. Artificial Intelligence
  9. ASCII
  10. Assembly language
  11. Automatic translation
  12. Avatar
  13. Babylon
  14. Bandwidth
  15. Bit
  16. BitTorrent
  17. Black hat
  18. Blog
  19. Bluetooth
  20. Bulletin board system
  21. Byte
  22. Cache memory
  23. Celeron
  24. Central processing unit
  25. Chat room
  26. Client
  27. Command line interface
  28. Compiler
  29. Computer
  30. Computer bus
  31. Computer card
  32. Computer display
  33. Computer file
  34. Computer games
  35. Computer graphics
  36. Computer hardware
  37. Computer keyboard
  38. Computer networking
  39. Computer printer
  40. Computer program
  41. Computer programmer
  42. Computer science
  43. Computer security
  44. Computer software
  45. Computer storage
  46. Computer system
  47. Computer terminal
  48. Computer virus
  49. Computing
  50. Conference call
  51. Context menu
  52. Creative commons
  53. Creative Commons License
  54. Creative Technology
  55. Cursor
  56. Data
  57. Database
  58. Data storage device
  59. Debuggers
  60. Demo
  61. Desktop computer
  62. Digital divide
  63. Discussion groups
  64. DNS server
  65. Domain name
  66. DOS
  67. Download
  68. Download manager
  69. DVD-ROM
  70. DVD-RW
  71. E-mail
  72. E-mail spam
  73. File Transfer Protocol
  74. Firewall
  75. Firmware
  76. Flash memory
  77. Floppy disk drive
  78. GNU
  79. GNU General Public License
  80. GNU Project
  81. Google
  82. Google AdWords
  83. Google bomb
  84. Graphics
  85. Graphics card
  86. Hacker
  87. Hacker culture
  88. Hard disk
  89. High-level programming language
  90. Home computer
  91. HTML
  92. Hyperlink
  93. IBM
  94. Image processing
  95. Image scanner
  96. Instant messaging
  97. Instruction
  98. Intel
  99. Intel Core 2
  100. Interface
  101. Internet
  102. Internet bot
  103. Internet Explorer
  104. Internet protocols
  105. Internet service provider
  106. Interoperability
  107. IP addresses
  108. IPod
  109. Joystick
  110. JPEG
  111. Keyword
  112. Laptop computer
  113. Linux
  114. Linux kernel
  115. Liquid crystal display
  116. List of file formats
  117. List of Google products
  118. Local area network
  119. Logitech
  120. Machine language
  121. Mac OS X
  122. Macromedia Flash
  123. Mainframe computer
  124. Malware
  125. Media center
  126. Media player
  127. Megabyte
  128. Microsoft
  129. Microsoft Windows
  130. Microsoft Word
  131. Mirror site
  132. Modem
  133. Motherboard
  134. Mouse
  135. Mouse pad
  136. Mozilla Firefox
  137. Mp3
  138. MPEG
  139. MPEG-4
  140. Multimedia
  141. Musical Instrument Digital Interface
  142. Netscape
  143. Network card
  144. News ticker
  145. Office suite
  146. Online auction
  147. Online chat
  148. Open Directory Project
  149. Open source
  150. Open source software
  151. Opera
  152. Operating system
  153. Optical character recognition
  154. Optical disc
  155. output
  156. PageRank
  157. Password
  158. Pay-per-click
  159. PC speaker
  160. Peer-to-peer
  161. Pentium
  162. Peripheral
  163. Personal computer
  164. Personal digital assistant
  165. Phishing
  166. Pirated software
  167. Podcasting
  168. Pointing device
  169. POP3
  170. Programming language
  171. QuickTime
  172. Random access memory
  173. Routers
  174. Safari
  175. Scalability
  176. Scrollbar
  177. Scrolling
  178. Scroll wheel
  179. Search engine
  180. Security cracking
  181. Server
  182. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol
  183. Skype
  184. Social software
  185. Software bug
  186. Software cracker
  187. Software library
  188. Software utility
  189. Solaris Operating Environment
  190. Sound Blaster
  191. Soundcard
  192. Spam
  193. Spamdexing
  194. Spam in blogs
  195. Speech recognition
  196. Spoofing attack
  197. Spreadsheet
  198. Spyware
  199. Streaming media
  200. Supercomputer
  201. Tablet computer
  202. Telecommunications
  203. Text messaging
  204. Trackball
  205. Trojan horse
  206. TV card
  207. Unicode
  208. Uniform Resource Identifier
  209. Unix
  210. URL redirection
  211. USB flash drive
  212. USB port
  213. User interface
  214. Vlog
  215. Voice over IP
  216. Warez
  217. Wearable computer
  218. Web application
  219. Web banner
  220. Web browser
  221. Web crawler
  222. Web directories
  223. Web indexing
  224. Webmail
  225. Web page
  226. Website
  227. Wiki
  228. Wikipedia
  229. WIMP
  230. Windows CE
  231. Windows key
  232. Windows Media Player
  233. Windows Vista
  234. Word processor
  235. World Wide Web
  236. Worm
  237. XML
  238. X Window System
  239. Yahoo
  240. Zombie computer

This article is from:

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: 


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This rendering of a likeness of grey hat hacker Adrian Lamo highlights the mystique surrounding hackers in the context of issues of right and wrong in the digital age.
This rendering of a likeness of grey hat hacker Adrian Lamo highlights the mystique surrounding hackers in the context of issues of right and wrong in the digital age.

A hacker is often someone who creates and modifies computer software and computer hardware, including computer programming, administration, and security-related items. A hacker is also someone who modifies electronics, for example, ham radio transceivers, printers or even home sprinkler systems to get extra functionality or performance. The term usually bears strong connotations, but may be either favorable or denigrating depending on cultural context (see the Hacker definition controversy).

  • In computer programming, a hacker is a software designer and programmer who builds elegant, beautiful programs and systems. A hacker can also be a programmer who hacks or reaches a goal by employing a series of modifications to exploit or extend existing code or resources. For some, "hacker" has a negative connotation and refers to a person who "hacks" or uses kludges to accomplish programming tasks that are ugly, inelegant, and inefficient. This negative form of the noun "hack" is even used incorrectly among users of the positive sense of "hacker".
  • In computer security, a hacker is a person who specializes in work with the security mechanisms for computer and network systems. While including those who endeavor to strengthen such mechanisms, it more often is used incorrectly, especially in the mass media, to refer to those who seek access despite them.
  • In other technical fields, hacker is extended to mean a person who makes things work beyond perceived limits through their own technical skill, such as a hardware hacker, or reality hacker.
  • In hacker culture, a hacker is a person who has attained a certain social status and is recognized among members of the culture for commitment to the culture's values and a certain amount of technical knowledge.

Categories of hacker

The hacker community, the set of people who would describe themselves as hackers or described by others as hackers, falls into at least three partially overlapping categories. Sometimes alternate terms such as "cracker" are used in an attempt to more exactly distinguish which category of hacker is intended, or when attempting to put a contextual distance between the categories due to the Hacker definition controversy.

Hacker: Highly skilled programmer

This mainly positive usage of hacker refers to one who knows a (sometimes specified) set of programming interfaces well enough to program rapidly and expertly. This type of hacker is well-respected (although the term still carries some of the meaning of hack), and is capable of developing programs without adequate planning or where pre-planning is difficult or impossible to achieve. This situation gives freedom and the ability to be creative against a methodical and careful progress. At their best, hackers can be very productive. The technical downside of hacker productivity is often in maintainability, documentation, and completion. Very talented hackers may become bored with a project once they have figured out all of the hard parts, and be unwilling to finish off the "details". This attitude can cause friction in environments where other programmers are expected to pick up the half finished work, decipher the structures and ideas, and bullet-proof the code. In other cases, where a hacker is willing to maintain their own code, a company may be unable to find anyone else who is capable or willing to dig through code to maintain the program if the original programmer moves on to a new job.

Additionally, there is sometimes a social downside associated with hacking. The stereotype of a hacker as having gained technical ability at a cost in social ability has been observed many individuals, including noted psychologist Phillip Zimbardo[1]. Some researches have speculated on a possible link between hacking and conditions in the Autism spectrum, such as Asperger's Syndrome[2]; for example, Bram Cohen, the hacker who created the Bittorrent protocol, is believed by many (including himself) to have Asperger's[3]. While such social stunting from whatever cause is not universal among hackers, nor even only restricted to hackers, the difficulty in relating to others and the often abrasive personalities of some hackers makes some of them difficult to work with or to organize into teams.[4] On the other hand, it is not uncommon for hackers to thrive on social interaction.[citation needed]

Hacker: Computer and network security expert

Main article: Hacker (computer security)

In the networking sense, a hacker is one who specializes in work with the access control mechanisms for computer and network systems. This includes individuals who work toward maintaining and improving the integrity of such mechanisms. However, the most common usage of hacker in this respect refers to someone who exploits systems or gains unauthorized access by means of clever tactics and detailed knowledge, while taking advantage of any carelessness or ignorance on the part of system operators. This use of hacker as intruder (frequent in the media) generally has a strong negative connotation, and is disparaged and discouraged within the computer community, resulting in the modern Hacker definition controversy.

For such hackers specializing in intrusion, the highly derogatory term script kiddies is often used to indicate those who either claim to have far more skill than they actually have, or who exclusively use programs developed by others to achieve a successful security exploit.

Hacker: Hardware modifier

Main article: Hardware hacker

Another type of hacker is one who creates novel hardware modifications. At the most basic end of this spectrum are those who make frequent changes to the hardware in their computers using standard components, or make semi-cosmetic themed modifications to the appearance of the machine. This type of Hacker modifes his/her computer for performance needs and/or aesthetics. These changes often include adding memory, storage or LEDs and cold cathode tubes for light effects. These people often show off their talents in contests, and many enjoy LAN parties. At the more advanced end of the hardware hackers are those who modify hardware (not limited to computers) to expand capabilities; this group blurs into the culture of hobbyist inventors and professional electronics engineering. An example of such modification includes the addition of TCP/IP Internet capabilities to a number of vending machines and coffee makers during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Hackers who have the ability to write circuit-level code, device drivers, firmware, low-level networking, (and even more impressively, using these techniques to make devices do things outside of their spec sheets), are typically in very high regard among hacker communities. This is primarily due to the enormous difficulty, complexity and specialized domain knowledge required for this type of work, as well as the electrical engineering expertise that plays a large role. Such hackers are rare, and almost always considered to be wizards or gurus of a very high degree.

Hacker stereotypes

Hackers are sometimes portrayed as mysterious and strange.
Hackers are sometimes portrayed as mysterious and strange.

There are theoretical types of hackers who are considered to possess an atypical level of skill beyond that of other meanings of the positive form of "hacker", which include the Guru and the Wizard.

In some portions of the computer community, a Wizard is one who can do anything a hacker can, but elegantly; while a Guru not only can do so elegantly, but instruct those who do not know how. In other sub-communities, a Guru is one with a very broad degree of expertise, while a Wizard is expert in a very narrow field. In practice, such exact distinctions are usually more at home in a RPG world, and not often heard in actual conversation.

Within the mainstream media, hackers are often characterised as strange, mysterious, reclusive, and especially tricky. This may be seen as an extension of the human tendency to stigmatise what is ill-understood, which used often to be applied to natural philosophers who were often thought by superstitious neighbours to be wizards or mystics. One such example was Leonardo da Vinci, who was thought to be a necromancer due to his extensive (and, at the time, extraordinary) knowledge of human anatomy and his study of dead bodies.

Recognized hackers

Due to the overlapping nature of the hacker concept space, many of these individuals could be included in more than one category. See also Hacker (computer security), which has a list of people in that category, including criminal or unethical hackers.

Skilled programmers

  • Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web, while a student in the 1970s, was banned from access to the Oxford University computer for hacking access.[5]
  • Dan Bernstein, the author of qmail and djbdns, also a mathematician and cryptographer.
  • John Carmack, a widely recognized and influential game programmer. Through his work, he has made significant contributions to the field of 3D computer graphics and his games have sold in the millions. In 1999, Carmack appeared as number 10 in TIME's list of the 50 most influential people in technology.
  • Shawn Fanning, the author of napster
  • Bill Gosper, mathematician and programmer, and contemporary of Richard Greenblatt.
  • Richard Greenblatt, primary designer of the MIT Lisp machine and pioneer of computerized chess.
  • Grace Hopper, the first programmer of the Mark I Calculator, also developed the first compiler for a computer programming language.[6][7]
  • Bill Joy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems and author of many fundamental UNIX utilities. He wrote the original SunOS in one weekend, according to Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet
  • Mel Kaye, the archetypal Real Programmer[8], was credited with doing "the bulk of the programming" for the Royal McBee LGP-30 drum-memory computer in the 1950s. Ed Nather, another hacker, published the widely acclaimed "Story of Mel"[9] in the 1980s.
  • Donald Knuth, best known for practically creating the field of algorithm analysis, coding the TeX typesetting system, and writing The Art of Computer Programming - one of the most respected references in the field.
  • Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of the PHP scripting language.
  • John McCarthy, the inventor of the Lisp programming language. Also coined the term "Artificial Intelligence."
  • Rob Pike, a software engineer and author. He is best known for his work at Bell Labs, where he was a member of the Unix team and was involved in the creation of the Plan 9 and Inferno operating systems.
  • Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson, who created Unix in 1969. Ritchie is also notable for having created the C programming language, from Ken Thompson's B programming language.
  • Guido van Rossum, the creator of the Python programming language.
  • Randal Schwartz, Perl programming language pioneer, billed himself as "Just another Perl hacker (but not what the media calls "'hacker'!)" This was in reference to characterizations made during his criminal prosecution for unauthorized computer access.
  • Richard Stallman, the founder of the free software movement and the GNU project, and original author of the GPL, Emacs, GDB, and the GNU Compiler Collection. Acclaimed in Steven Levy's Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution as "The Last True Hacker."
  • Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of the C++ programming language.
  • Theo de Raadt, the founder of the OpenBSD project.
  • Michael Tiemann, a co-founder of Cygnus Solutions, president of the Open Source Initiative. Made many contributions to the GNU C compiler, GNU debugger, and many other GNU development tools. Author of the GNU C++ compiler.
  • Linus Torvalds, who was a computer science student at the University of Helsinki when he began writing the Linux kernel in 1991.
  • Wietse Venema, best known for writing the Postfix mail system and co-creating (with Dan Farmer) the Security Administrator Tool for Analyzing Networks (SATAN), a remote vulnerability scanner.
  • Larry Wall, the creator of the Perl programming language.
  • Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple Computer (with Steve Jobs). Got his start making devices for phone phreaking, working with John Draper.

Hacker media personalities

Listed below are individuals who, while fitting in one or more of the above categories, are currently more widely famous (especially among the general public) for their media presence than their technical accomplishments.

  • Loyd Blankenship (also known as The Mentor) Former LOD member. Author of The Conscience of a Hacker (Hacker's Manifesto).
  • Eric Corley (also known as Emmanuel Goldstein) Long standing publisher of 2600: The Hacker Quarterly and founder of the H.O.P.E. conferences. He has been part of the hacker community since the late '70s.
  • CULT OF THE DEAD COW A high profile hacker group that has both made news and been consulted by the media on numerous occasions.
  • William Henry Gates III (Bill Gates) is the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft Corporation. Although he personally demonstrated considerable personal coding skill early in his company's history, he is most widely recognizable today as the world's richest individual. Formerly CEO, in June 2006 he also stepped down as chief software architect, with the intention of stepping down as chairman in July 2008. [3]
  • Patrick K. Kroupa (also known as Lord Digital) Former LOD member, co-founder of MindVox, author of Phantom Access programs, and MindVox: The Overture. Appears in over 20 books and hundreds of media and press articles.
  • Gary McKinnon accused of hacking into 97 United States military and NASA computers in 2001 and 2002. [4]
  • Kevin Mitnick A former computer criminal who now (since his release from prison in 2000) speaks, consults, and authors books about social engineering and network security.
  • Neal Patrick and The 414s teenage hackers who gained brief but widespread media coverage in 1983.
  • Bruce Perens Also one of the founders of the Open Source Initiative. He was the former Debian GNU/Linux Project Leader, and is the primary author of the Open Source Definition.
  • Eric S. Raymond One of the founders of the Open Source Initiative. He wrote the famous text The Cathedral and the Bazaar and many other essays. He also maintains the Jargon File for the Hacker culture, which was previously maintained by Guy L. Steele, Jr..


See also

  • General
    • Hacker culture
    • Hacker ethic
    • Computer crime
    • Computer security
    • Life hacking
    • Hacker Emblem
    • Hacker Manifesto
    • Biohacker
    • Reality hacker
    • Wetware hacker
    • Information wants to be free
    • Video hacker
  • Related
    • Quick-and-dirty
    • The Hacker Test
    • The Snoopy Calendar program is the classic Fortran program referenced in the Hacker Test
    • Hackathon
  • Lists
    • List of fictional hackers


  1. ^ "The Hacker Papers" in Psychology Today August 1980
  2. ^ USA Today Article [1]
  3. ^ Wired Article [2]
  4. ^ For example, Theo de Raadt and Richard Stallman
  5. ^ BBC News 31 Dec 2002 Web's inventor gets a knighthood - "Banned from using the university's computer when he and a friend were caught hacking" Accesssed October 2006.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^

Related books

  • Levy, Steven (1984). Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-19195-2.
  • Sterling, Bruce (1992). The Hacker Crackdown. Bantam. ISBN 0-553-08058-X.
  • Slatalla, Michelle; Joshua Quittner (1995). Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-017030-1.
  • Dreyfus, Suelette (1997). Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier. Mandarin. ISBN 1-86330-595-5.
  • Verton, Dan (2002). The Hacker Diaries : Confessions of Teenage Hackers. McGraw-Hill Osborne Media. ISBN 0-07-222364-2.

Related Courses

  • Certified Ethical Hacker
  • Certified Information Security Manager
  • Certified Information System Auditor

External links

Find more information on Hacker by searching Wikipedia's sister projects:

 Dictionary definitions from Wiktionary
 Textbooks from Wikibooks
 Quotations from Wikiquote
 Source texts from Wikisource
 Images and media from Commons
 News stories from Wikinews
 Learning resources from Wikiversity

  • The Jargon File
  • The New Jargon File: An effort to establish an open hacker culture document, in the tradition of the Jargon File
  • How To Become A Hacker by Eric S. Raymond
  • On Hacking by Richard M. Stallman
  • The MIT Gallery of Hacks
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