Contest Directions: We all hate viruses, and many wonder what kind of people create them. This is your chance to show the world what you think hacker and virus author look like. If we can't give names to Microsoft, let's at least help them with the pictures of the evil hacker writing those viruses. The best picture will get 5 million... , we mean, 100 credits.
Register to post comments and participate in contests.
This contest is fueled by the following news: Specific types of computer experts are called hackers. Sometimes this term is applied to denote any type of experts in general which, in turn, says that they possess exceptional knowledge in some topics or they have enough unconventional and seminal intellect.
From the moment of its advent, this word turned into a computer term (which happened in the 1960’s), and got new and often different meanings.
Hacker (initially –the one who makes furniture with an axe):
1. A person who loves studying programming systems in detail, studies up-grading the system is in contrary to the majority of users who prefer to be limited to the study of the essentials. RFC 1392 redoubles this definition by the following way: “A pPerson taking delight in the thorough understanding of the internal operations of systems, computers and computer networks in particular”.
2. Whosoever is programming with enthusiasm (even obsessive) or a love programming, and not just the theoretical part of programming.
3. A person who is able to appreciate and understand hacker’s values.
4. A person who is strong in quick programming.
5. An expert of a certain computer programming or anybody who works very often with it; for instance, a hacker of UNIX.
6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. For instance, anybody can be a “hacker of astronomy”.
7. A person who likes intellectual tests comprising of creatively overcoming or detouring restrictions.
Nowadays the word "hacker” has a common definition- the network breakers and other network criminals like carders, crackers, script-kiddy and network pirates.
Despite the historical inaccuracy noted by the File of Jargon, at present the often used word is in the later meaning – a computer trespasser. More over, a hacker in movies is a horseback man who is able to “crack” any system, but actually this is not possible in principle. For instance, in the movie “Swordfish”, a computer hacker (played by Hugh Jackman) cracks Vernam's code – a unique system among all current encrypting systems, which has theoretically proven cryptographic capability.
Among hackers, it is conventional to value the time of their own and others (so as “not to reinvent the bicycle”), which in particular warrants the need to create free programs and share their achievements.
Generally, information and knowledge should be accessible to everyone. Really valuable is the ability to understand that information and the using of it which, in fact, is the ability to think logically.
The characters of hackers are considerably widespread in science fiction, particularly in the cyberpunk genre. In this context, hackers are usually heroes who fight with oppressive systems (predominantly multinational corporations). The struggle goes on for freedom and access to information. Often heard in that struggle are communist or anarchist slogans.
Bruce Stirling in his work “Hunting hackers” elevates the hacker movement to the telephone phreaker movement, which took shape around the American journal “TAP”. This journal initially belonged to the youth party YIP (Youth International Party) which obviously supported communists. The TAP journal provided technical Assistance Programs to Abbie Hoffman’s party which helped the so called unofficial youth organizations freely converse on inter-city telephone calls and carry out political changes in their country which were sometimes not authorized by authorities.
Historical reasons for the differences in the meaning of the word “hackers”:
The meaning of the word “hacker” in its initial understanding probably came up within the walls of MIT in the 1960’s, long before computers had become widely popular. Then it was a part of local slang, and could mean a simple and crude solution of some problem or a cunning prank of students (usually the author was called a hacker). Till that time, the words “hack” and hacker” were used on different occasions but absolutely not in connection with computer systems.
Initially there was the slang word “to hack” (chop, mangle). It meant the process of incorporating changes into the other’s programming on-the-fly (predicted that there were original texts of programming). The verbal noun of “hack” meant the results of such change. The most useful and dignified job was not just informing the writer of the program about a mistake in it, but offering him such a hack which would rectify that. Precisely the word “hacker” originated initially from this.
The hacker however not always had the aim of rectifying mistakes – he could change the way of the behavior against the will of the program writer. In particular such shocking cases, essentially, became known to the public, but the understanding of hacking as feed-back to the program writers and users was never interesting to the journalists. Then came the secret program code, so original programs had become inaccessible, and the positive role of hacking diminished. The huge time consumption for hacking the secret codes of programming can be justified by only a strong motivation or to get into a scandalous limelight.
In result, appeared a new, contorted word “hacker”; which means a criminal, using extensive computer knowledge for carrying out unauthorized, sometimes deleterious, acts in a computer. The word “hacker” in this meaning first was used by Clifford Stoll in his book the “Cuckoo’s Egg”. In such computer slang words “to hack" and “hacking”, usually relate to the cracking of computer security networks, web-servers and all that.
Several individuals known as advocates of free and open program software, for instance Richard Stallman, appeal for using the word “hacker” only in its initial meaning.
More detailed explanations of the term in its original meaning, was brought up in Eric Raymond’s article “How to be a hacker”. Also Eric Raymond suggested in October 2003, an emblem for the hacker community – the symbol of a glider from the computer game “Life”.
As the community of hackers does not have any joint headquarters or formal setup, the suggested symbol can not be considered as the official symbol of hackers. Due to the same reasons, it is impossible to judge the popularity of the symbol among hackers.
Microsoft teamed up with the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, and Interpol, to catch the hackers responsible for the Blaster worm and the Sobig virus, which cost billions of dollars in damage to businesses this year. The first rewards, set for the information leading to the hackers authors of Blaster and Sobig pegged at $250,000 each, are part of the new $5 million long-term reward fund created by Microsoft for the information leading to the capture of those hackers responsible for the worm and virus outbreaks.