Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Difference Between Hackers and Crackers

. Thursday, December 31, 2009

When most people think about computer security the word hacker comes to their mind. Another word that is also associated with bad computer behaviour is cracker and most of the time the two words are used interchangeably but they are not the same thing.

A hacker is a person who has a great deal of computing skills and enjoys the challenges of solving technical issues. This includes breaking and infiltrating computers and networks. The aim of hackers is not to cause damage but the technical aspects and how to overcome them fascinates them and they see it as learning and as a status symbol amongst the hacker community.

An individual does not give himself the title hacker but it is left up to the community to bestow that title if the person has demonstrated the required knowledge and proved it. A hacker feels that information should be free so they document how they went about overcoming certain difficulties so others can learn from them. This sharing raises the status of the individual concerned and as a whole the community benefits.

Unlike a hacker the aim of a cracker is to cause mischief and gain some benefit by causing harm to the owner of the computer or network broken into e.g. by stealing credit card details or installing some malicious software.

Hackers see crackers as lowlifes and try very hard to distinguish themselves from them but this is not easy especially when the media insists on calling everybody a hacker.

The difference between a hacker and a cracker might not seem a lot to the average person because after all both of them break into unauthorised computers and networks but in reality there is a big difference because what matters is what the person does after he/she infiltrates a network.


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