What is a Hacker?

A computer hacker is any skilled computer expert who uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem. While “hacker” can make reference to any skilled computer programmer, the word is becoming associated in popular culture with a “security hacker”, a person who, with their technical knowledge, uses bugs or exploits to break right into computer systems.
General definition
Reflecting both types of hackers, there are two definitions of the term “hacker”:
  • an adherent of the technology and programming subculture; see hacker culture.
  • someone who will be able to subvert computer security. If doing this for malicious purposes, the individual may also be called a cracker.
Today, mainstream using “hacker” mostly identifies computer criminals, because of the mass media using the word because the 1980s. This consists of what hacker slang calls “script kiddies”, people breaking into computers using programs compiled by others, with hardly any knowledge about just how they work. This usage is becoming so predominant that everyone is basically unaware that different meanings exist. As the self-designation of hobbyists as hackers is normally acknowledged and accepted by computer security hackers, folks from the programming subculture consider the computer intrusion related usage incorrect, and emphasize the difference between your two by calling security breakers “crackers” (analogous to a safecracker).
The controversy is normally predicated on the assertion that the word originally meant someone messing about with something in a positive sense, that’s, using playful cleverness to accomplish a goal. But, it is supposed, this is of the word shifted over the years and came to make reference to computer criminals.
As the security-related usage has spread even more widely, the initial meaning is becoming less known. In popular usage and in the media, “computer intruders” or “computer criminals” may be the exclusive meaning of the term today. (For instance, “An Internet ‘hacker’ broke through state security systems in March.”) In the computer enthusiast (Hacker Culture) community, the principal meaning is usually a complimentary description for an especially brilliant programmer or technical expert. (For instance, “Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, is known as by some to become a hacker.”) A big segment of the technical community insist the latter may be the “correct” usage of the term (start to see the Jargon File definition below).
Representation in mainstream media
The mainstream media’s current using the term could be traced back again to the first 1980s. When the word was introduced to wider society by the mainstream media in 1983, even those in the computer community described computer intrusion as “hacking”, although much less the exclusive definition of the term. In a reaction to the increasing media usage of the word exclusively with the criminal connotation, the computer community started to differentiate their terminology. Alternative terms such as for example “cracker” were coined in order to keep up with the distinction between “hackers” within the legitimate programmer community and the ones performing computer break-ins. Further terms such as for example “black hat”, “white hat” and “gray hat” developed when laws against breaking into computers arrived to effect, to tell apart criminal activities from those activities that have been legal.