Hackers Vs. Crackers Essay

3212 words - 13 pages

Hackers vs. Crackers

Introduction

When you hear the word hacker, you probably think of a nerdy, teen-aged boy sitting behind a computer with sinister plans for his attack flowing through the keystrokes of his fingers. You probably think of a techno-criminal defacing websites, shutting down computer systems, stealing money or confidential information-basically a threat to society. But these descriptions may describe someone else enterely. Many in the computer community contend that this criminal description defines crackers. Hackers, on the other hand, are actually people who enjoy learning how computer systems work, and bettering themselves and the computer community with the information that they gain from their learning. So if there are non-criminal (hackers) and criminal hackers (crackers), is it fair to label both hackers and crackers as hackers?

It is important to address this question because the identity of a culture in our society-the hacker culture-is being challenged. It is being defined as good or bad. This good or bad status affects the way Americans use the Internet, the way the government controls or does not control the Internet, and the way technology will grow in the future.

Some people say that there is no difference between hackers and crackers; they are both criminals. Others say that there are major differences between hackers and crackers. This paper addresses whether hackers and crackers really are two separate identities and whether it is right for society to define both hackers and crackers as hackers.

This paper discusses

. The people who believe hackers and crackers are two different groups of people and
should be treated as such.

. The people who believe there is no difference between hackers and crackers, so it
does not matter that they are both categorized as hackers.

. Whether or not it is fair for society to lump both hackers and crackers into the same
category.

Definitions

Hacker/cracker-Throughout this paper, I use the terms hacker and cracker to describe the "good" and "bad" hackers respectively. But there will be times when hacker will mean good-when discussing that there is a fundamental difference between hackers and crackers-and when hacker will mean bad-when discussing that there is not difference between hacker and cracker. Because it is confusing to understand which hacker I am talking about, I will denote the hacker-the non-criminal who is different from crackers-as a (true) hacker. When you only see the term hacker, you will know that this refers to the combination of hackers and crackers.

Networked systems/computers-Computers that are able to communicate with one another. They are technologically connected to one another.

Secondary Issues

While addressing whether (true) hackers and crackers should or should not be categorized as hackers, some other issues come into play. The following are the secondary issues:

. Privacy-Do (true)...

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