Home > Computer Security > A hacker by any other name…

A hacker by any other name…

A hacker by any other name is still a hacker – someone with the intention of achieving an objective other than what is intended by the manufacturer or owner of a device.

Some people wanted to split the hackers into the good and dark sides of the Force, so some people started calling bad hackers “crackers.” Unfortunately for them, the general public and the media don’t say something was “cracked” or “crackered”, they still say that something was hacked – by a hacker.

At some point (I don’t know when), people started using the cowboy movie analogy that bad hackers wear “black hats” and the good hackers wear “white hats.” Someone also introduced the concept of the “gray hat” as someone who plays both side of the fence. Cowboy movies are a bit passe these days, so what do these hats mean to the generations that didn’t grow up on cowboy movies?

Bottom line is, no matter what people are called, the goodness or badness of a hack is really in the eyes of the manufacturer or owner of a device. The public may applaud when someone hacks a manufacturer’s device in the name of the public good, but the manufacturer may think otherwise – i.e. jail breaking cell phones, putting Linux on game consoles or other devices, and modifying a car’s performance chip. Owners don’t applaud when a device is hacked by anyone [ i.e. crackers  or ethical hackers ], well-intentioned or not, because it’s always considered a bad thing, even when done as part of a penetration test.

  1. August 12, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Nice 🙂

  2. Poetic Edda
    August 13, 2010 at 3:21 am

    I basically stopped worrying about computer security when I switched to OpenBSD or put any running computers behind OBSD with a PF firewall some years ago. It’s not an issue for me anymore.

    If I were a windows user I would start checking out “BurgTraq” Bugtraq list exploits stack/heap/overflows that can be found by any hacker running Nikto or Nessus or various other programs. The Last windows os that I used was Windows-ME and I recall a zero-d-exploit that was known and LISteD on bugtraq for weeks before it was patched.
    Anyway: Mister Reiner, you keep up the good fight.

  3. August 14, 2010 at 5:59 am

    It seems like a never ending effort trying to protect your information out here in the cyber world.

    • August 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Indeed. That’s why I always say everything needs to be re-engineered from scratch.

  1. August 13, 2010 at 3:03 am
  2. August 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

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