Definition of a Hacker

The term “hacker” generally refers to any person who enjoys understanding, modifying, and exploring programmable systems, particularly computers and computer systems. “Hacker” has been used to describe individuals who bypass security measures for malicious purposes or criminal activity; however, most people within the hacker community refer to these individuals as “crackers.” Alternatively, one can refer to crackers as “black hat hackers” and hackers that are paid computer security experts as “white hat hackers.” Hackers consider themselves to be freedom-loving problem-solvers who love sharpening their technical skills and using their intelligence. Hackers gain respect from each other by identifying and solving complex problems and sharing their solutions with other hackers. Hackers also detest repetitive work and endeavor to discover ways to automate as much as possible.

Grey hat hackers are those that fall somewhere in between black and white hats. A good example of grey hat activity is searching the web for systems that have vulnerabilities, exploiting those vulnerabilities, and then informing the owner that the exploit can be repaired for a fee. Script kiddies are non-expert hackers that use other hacker’s pre-packaged automated tools and have little experience or knowledge. Neophyte refers to hackers that are very new and have little to know knowledge. Elite hacker is a term reserved for those with the most skill and experience and is considered a social status in the hacker community.

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