Is there a hacker culture?
This is my first time to this forum so sorry if I sound a bit dull.
I'm not sure if anyone will be able to help me but I'm doing a project on hacker culture. I'm interested to see what hackers think of there being a hacker culture/subculture.
What do you think motivates people to hack?
I’m interested in personal opinions so any comments would be much appreciated.
Re: Is there a hacker culture?
The word hack orignally used as a verb for "messing about" with (e.g. "I hack around with computers")
The meaning of the word changed after years since it first first came into use in a computer context.
Currently, "hacker" is used in two main ways, one pejorative and one complimentary.
it most often refers to computer intruders or criminals, with associated pejorative connotations. (For example, "An Internet 'hacker' broke through state government security systems in March.") In the computing community, the primary meaning is a complimentary description for a particularly brilliant programmer or technical expert. (For example, "Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, is considered by some to be a genius hacker.") A large segment of the technical community insist the latter is the "correct" usage of the word.
Several alternative terms such as "black hat" and "cracker" were coined in an effort to distinguish between those performing criminal activities, and those whose activities were the legal ones referred to more frequently in the historical use of the term "hack". Analogous terms such as "white hats" and "gray hats" developed as a result. However, since network news use of the term pertained primarily to the criminal activities despite this attempt by the technical community to preserve and distinguish the original meaning, the mainstream media and general public continue to describe computer criminals with all levels of technical sophistication as "hackers" and does not generally make use of the word in any of its non-criminal connotations.
"Hacker" can therefore be seen as a shibboleth, identifying those who use the technically-oriented sense (as opposed to the exclusively intrusion-oriented sense) as members of the computing community.
A possible middle ground position has been suggested, based on the observation that "hacking" describes a collection of skills which are used by hackers of both descriptions for differing reasons. The analogy is made to locksmithing, specifically picking locks, which — aside from its being a skill with a fairly high tropism to 'classic' hacking — is a skill which can be used for good or evil. The primary weakness of this analogy is the inclusion of script kiddies in the popular usage of "hacker", despite the lack of an underlying skill and knowledge base.
now what types of hackers are there? there are 3 types
White Hat Hacker
A white hat hacker, also rendered as whitehat or white-hat, is in the realm of information technology, a person who is ethically opposed to the abuse of computer systems. Realizing that the Internet now represents human voices from all around the world makes the defense of its integrity an important pastime for many. A white hat generally focuses on securing IT systems, whereas a black hat (the opposite) would like to break into them but this is a simplification. A black hat will wish to secure his own machine, and a white hat might need to break into a black hat's machine in the course of an investigation. What exactly differentiates white hats and black hats is open to interpretation, but white hats tend to cite altruistic motivations.
Grey or Brown Hat Hacker
A hacker of this type is a skilled hacker who sometimes acts legally and in good will and sometimes not. They are a hybrid between white and black hat hackers. They hack for no personal gain and do not have malicious intentions, but occasionally may or may not commit crimes in their actions. There is no distinction between grey and brown for hackers in this category.
Black Hat Hacker
A black hat or black-hat hacker is a malicious or criminal person whose correct label is "cracker". The term hacker is also commonly used as a synonym for "black hat hacker". However, in computer jargon, the meaning of "hacker" is much more broad. Usually a Black Hat refers to a person that maintains knowledge of the vulnerabilities and exploits they find as secret for private advantage, not revealing them either to the general public or manufacturer for correction. Many Black Hats promote individual freedom and accessibility over privacy and security. Black Hats may seek to expand holes in systems; any attempts made to patch software are generally to prevent others from also compromising a system they have already obtained secure control over. A Black Hat cracker may have access to 0-day exploits (private software that exploits security vulnerabilities; 0-day exploits have not been distributed to the public). In the most extreme cases, Black Hats may work to cause damage maliciously, and/or make threats to do so for blackmail purposes.
The modern, computer-related use of the term is considered likely rooted in the goings on at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the 1960s, long before computers became common; the word "hack" was local slang which had a large number of related meanings. One was a simple, but often inelegant, solution to a problem. It also meant any clever prank perpetrated by MIT students; logically the perpetrator was a hacker. To this day the terms hack and hacker are used in several ways at MIT, without necessarily referring to computers. When MIT students surreptitiously put a fake police car atop the dome on MIT's Building 10, that was a hack, and the students involved were therefore hackers. Another type of hacker — one who explores undocumented or unauthorized areas in buildings — is now called a reality hacker or urban spelunker.
The term was fused with computers when members of the Tech Model Railroad Club started working with a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-1 computer and applied local model railroad slang to computers.
The earliest known use of the term in this manner is from the 20 November 1963 issue of The Tech, the student paper of MIT:
Many telephone services have been curtailed because of so-called hackers, according to Prof. Carlton Tucker, administrator of the Institute phone system. […] The hackers have accomplished such things as tying up all the tie-lines between Harvard and MIT, or making long-distance calls by charging them to a local radar installation. One method involved connecting the PDP-1 computer to the phone system to search the lines until a dial tone, indicating an outside line, was found. […] Because of the 'hacking', the majority of the MIT phones are 'trapped'.
Originally, the term "hack" was applied almost exclusively to programming or electrical engineering, but it has come to be used in some circles for almost any type of clever circumvention, in phrases such as "hack the media", "hack your brain" and "hack your reputation".
Negative usage in engineering
Another meaning of the term "hack", similar to kludge and distinct from both the positive and security-related meanings discussed above, derives from the everyday English sense "to cut or shape by or as if by crude or ruthless strokes" [Merriam-Webster]. In other words to "hack" at an original creation, as if with an axe, is to force-fit it into being usable for a task not intended by the original creator, and a "hacker" would be someone who does this habitually. (The original creator and the hacker may be the same person.)
This usage is common in both programming (as demonstrated by a Google code search for "HACK" ) and engineering. In programming, hacking in this sense appears to be tolerated and seen as a necessary compromise in many situations. In non-software engineering, the culture is less tolerant of unmaintainable solutions, even when intended to be temporary, and describing someone as a "hacker" might imply that they lack professionalism. In this sense, the term has no real positive connotations, except for the idea that the hacker is capable of doing modifications that allow a system to work in the short term, and so has some sort of marketable skills. There is always, however, the understanding that a more skillful, or technical, logician could have produced successful modifications that would not be considered a "hack-job".
The definition is similar to other, non-computer based, uses of the term "hack-job". For instance, a professional modification of a production sports car into a racing machine would not be considered a hack-job, but a cobbled together backyard mechanic's result could be. Even though the outcome of a race of the two machines could not be assumed, a quick inspection would instantly reveal the difference in the level of professionalism of the designers.
then there are Computer security hackers
In computer security, a hacker is someone who focuses on security mechanisms of computer and network systems. While including those who endeavor to strengthen such mechanisms, it is more often used by the mass media and popular culture to refer to those who seek access despite these security measures. That is, the media portrays the 'hacker' as a villain. Nevertheless, parts of the subculture see their aim in correcting security problems and use the word in a positive sense. They operate under a code of the Hacker Ethic, which acknowledges that breaking into other people's computers is bad, but that discovering and exploiting security mechanisms and breaking into computers is still an interesting activity that can be done ethically and legally. Accordingly, the term bears strong connotations that are favorable or pejorative, depending on the context.
The subculture around such hackers is termed network hacker subculture, hacker scene or computer underground. It initially developed in the context of phreaking during the 1960s and the microcomputer BBS scene of the 1980s. It is implicated with 2600: The Hacker Quarterly and the alt.2600 newsgroup.
By 1983, hacking in the sense of breaking computer security had already been in use as computer jargon, but there was no public awareness about such activities. However, the release of the movie WarGames that year raised the public belief that computer security hackers (especially teenagers) could be a threat to national security. This concern became real when a gang of teenage hackers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin known as The 414s broke into computer systems throughout the United States and Canada, including those of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Security Pacific Bank. The case quickly grew media attention, and 17-year-old Neal Patrick emerged as the spokesman for the gang, including a cover story in Newsweek entitled "Beware: Hackers at play", with Patrick's photograph on the cover. The Newsweek article appears to be the first use of the word hacker by the mainstream media in the pejorative sense.
As a result of news coverage, congressman Dan Glickman called for an investigation and new laws about computer hacking. Neal Patrick testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on September 26, 1983 about the dangers of computer hacking, and six bills concerning computer crime were introduced in the House that year. As a result of these laws against computer criminality, white hat, grey hat and black hat hackers try to distinguish themselves from each other, depending on the legality of their activities.
The main basic difference between academic and computer security hackers is their mostly separate historical origin and development. However, the Jargon File reports that considerable overlap existed for the early phreaking at the beginning of the 1970s. An article from MIT's student paper The Tech used the term hacker in this context already in 1963 in its pejorative meaning for someone messing with the phone system. The overlap quickly started to break when people joined in the activity who did it in a less responsible way. This was the case after the publication of an article exposing the activities of Draper and Engressias.
According to Raymond, academic hackers usually work openly and use their real name, while computer security hackers prefer secretive groups and identity-concealing aliases. Also, their activities in practice are largely distinct. The former focus on creating new and improving existing infrastructure (especially the software environment they work with), while the latter primarily and strongly emphasize the general act of circumvention of security measures, with the effective use of the knowledge (which can be to report and help fixing the security bugs, or exploitation for criminal purpose) being only rather secondary. The most visible difference in these views was in the design of the MIT hackers' Incompatible Timesharing System, which deliberately didn't have any security measures.
There are some subtle overlaps, however, since basic knowledge about computer security is also common within the academic hacker community. For example, Ken Thompson noted during his 1983 Turing Award lecture that it is possible to add code to the UNIX "login" command that would accept either the intended encrypted password or a particular known password, allowing a back door into the system with the latter password. He named his invention the "Trojan horse." Furthermore, Thompson argued, the C compiler itself could be modified to automatically generate the rogue code, to make detecting the modification even harder. Because the compiler is itself a program generated from a compiler, the Trojan horse could also be automatically installed in a new compiler program, without any detectable modification to the source of the new compiler. However, Thompson disassociated himself strictly from the computer security hackers: "I would like to criticize the press in its handling of the 'hackers,' the 414 gang, the Dalton gang, etc. The acts performed by these kids are vandalism at best and probably trespass and theft at worst. ... I have watched kids testifying before Congress. It is clear that they are completely unaware of the seriousness of their acts." 
The academic hacker community sees secondary circumvention of security mechanisms as legitimate if it is done to get practical barriers out of the way for doing actual work. In special forms, that can even be an expression of playful cleverness. However, the systematic and primary engagement in such activities is not one of the actual interests of the academic hacker subculture and it doesn't have significance in its actual activities, either. A further difference is that, historically, academic hackers were working at academic institutions and used the computing environment there. In contrast, the prototypical computer security hacker had access exclusively to a home computer and a modem. However since the mid-1990s, with home computers that could run Unix-like operating systems and with inexpensive internet home access being available for the first time, many people from outside of the academic world started to take part in the academic hacking subculture.
Since the mid-1980s, there are some overlaps in ideas and members with the computer security hacking community. The most prominent case is Robert T. Morris, who was a user of MIT-AI, yet wrote the Morris worm. The Jargon File hence calls him "a true hacker who blundered". Nevertheless, members of the academic subculture have a tendency to look down on and disassociate from these overlaps. They commonly refer disparagingly to people in the computer security subculture as crackers, and refuse to accept any definition of hacker that encompasses such activities. The computer security hacking subculture on the other hand tends not to distinguish between the two subcultures as harshly, instead acknowledging that they have much in common including many members, political and social goals, and a love of learning about technology. They restrict the use of the term cracker to their categories of script kiddies and black hat hackers instead.
All three subcultures have relations to hardware modifications. In the early days of network hacking, phreaks were building blue boxes and various variants. The academic hacker culture has stories about several hardware hacks in its folklore, such as a mysterious 'magic' switch attached to a PDP-10 computer in MIT's AI lab, that, when turned off, crashed the computer. The early hobbyist hackers built their home computers themselves, from construction kits. However, all these activities have died out during the 1980s, when the phone network switched to digitally controlled switchboards, causing network hacking to shift to dialing remote computers with modems, when pre-assembled inexpensive home computers were available, and when academic institutions started to give individual mass-produced workstation computers to scientists instead of using a central timesharing system. The only kind of widespread hardware modification nowadays is case modding.
An encounter of the academic and the computer security hacker subculture occurred at the end of the 1980s, when a group of computer security hackers, sympathizing with the Chaos Computer Club (who disclaimed any knowledge in these activities), broke into computers of American military organizations and academic institutions. They sold data from these machines to the Soviet secret service, one of them in order to fund his drug addiction. The case could be solved when Clifford Stoll, a scientist working as a system administrator, found ways to log the attacks and to trace them back (with the help of many others). 23, a German film adaption with fictional elements, shows the events from the attackers' perspective. Stoll described the case in his book The Cuckoo's Egg and in the TV documentary The KGB, the Computer, and Me from the other perspective. According to Eric S. Raymond, it "nicely illustrates the difference between 'hacker' and 'cracker'. Stoll's portrait of himself, his lady Martha, and his friends at Berkeley and on the Internet paints a marvelously vivid picture of how hackers and the people around them like to live and how they think.
btw i would consider myself a greyhat hacker
most people use hacking in a bad way and now what we call it today is considered that but back in the 70s are something we hackers would consider it a art except for those goverment ppl LOL
and out of know where some guys turns it into a meaningful thing and now today we have script kiddies running around messing with programs dont know how they work and start hacking into ppl. which could be very dangerous.
this article was written by me at UAT(univerisity of advancing technology) 3 years ago.
You have the right to show this topic to anyone and reformat it in anyway i do want my name AS IS
with ownership of me creating it.
I hope this helps you
theses rights are entitled to Boobalo Only
Re: Is there a hacker culture?
Dam....thats a nice article! XD
Re: Is there a hacker culture?
Re: Is there a hacker culture?
thanx for your posts
Re: Is there a hacker culture?
This is a great post! I never knew that there are such uncommon things linking to the term 'hacker' that a lot of us are quite confused with. Thanks for the information!
Re: Is there a hacker culture?
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