The slight difference between hacking and cracking

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Octavious
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Postby Octavious » Fri Jul 18, 2003 8:23 pm

I am argueing that it should be labeled whatever society feels it should, which at the moment is "hacker". Society currently makes no distinction between "hacker" and "cracker", and where language is concerned society is right. I argue that the discution is moot because there is no distinction. (I actually argue because I like to, but it is nice to pretend there are more important reasons.)
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Fri Jul 18, 2003 8:34 pm

You just made the distinction in your previous post.  Unauthorized access is a crime, programming in C++ isn't.  Sure many people will just use the term 'hacker' to refer to computer criminals, but what should they call this group (that calls themselves "hackers").  If the term "hacker" is to appy only to computer criminals, then there must be a term for this other group.  For the people that care, a "hacker" retains its "original" definition, for the John "I know jack squat about computers" Doe it simply refers to a computer criminal.  That is largely not a problem.

I am also going to point out that a majority of the the world agreed with slavery not too long ago, that now seems to be a very bad institution.  The majority of the world thought the earth was the center of the Universe, again wrong.  If you allow yourself to entirely trust the general public (which is collectively ignorant of a great deal) and let them override the experts then you set yourself up for major problems.  :)
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Postby Liquid Data » Fri Jul 18, 2003 9:19 pm

Here's a nice psychologic analyse of hacker psychology, including a description of four different categories of all those people who are usually called "hackers":

http://tlc.discovery.com/convergence/ha ... psych.html

There's some more interesting stuff about the topic on this site. :)
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Postby Octavious » Fri Jul 18, 2003 9:37 pm

My arguement is about language not any institution of slavery; slavery is not a means of communication. Read back: I based my arguement on language theory, which relates to nothing more than language because of the nature of communication. You may use whatever definition you like, I am not saying you can not, but understand that in order to productively communicate with the rest of us, you should use the same language as the rest of us, and realize the conotations your words invoke. People when they hear "hacker" think cyber-criminal, and regaurdless of what you would like to be true, because that is what people think of, that is what the word "hacker" means. My distinction was not between the words "hacking" and "cracking", quite to the contrary, these two words in our society mean the same thing; My distinction was between legality, and was made in order to clarify my point. If you like to think yourself a hacker, fine, but if it is a label you use to describe yourself, the rest of us will think you a criminal.
As a clarification, modern universe models often describe the universe as infinite, or more accurately finite but unbounded. To simplify things I will use the infinite model: if the universe is infinite then every point is, by definition, the center; the earth therefore is the center of the universe.
If you place your trust in experts rather than the general public, it is called an aristocracy.
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Postby Octavious » Fri Jul 18, 2003 9:45 pm

Quote: from Liquid Data on 9:19 pm on July 18, 2003[br]Here's a nice psychologic analyse of hacker psychology, including a description of four different categories of all those people who are usually called "hackers":

http://tlc.discovery.com/convergence/ha ... psych.html

There's some more interesting stuff about the topic on this site. :)


That first group's disregaurd for personal and information privacy makes them criminals. I assume this was your explanation for why hackers are not criminals. Find something that says they do not brake the law next time; there is enough out there.
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:18 pm

First I am going to point out this little line in the above linked document:

"Rogers and Post have identified some basic behavioral trends for hackers who commit crimes."

It is not about hackers, but hackers who commit crimes.  That also implies that there are hackers that do not commit crimes, as I am arguing.

Second, my point about trusting the general populous was simply a side note.  Aristocracies are exactly what the world is full of.  It is called specialization and is a fundamental part of modern human evolution.  With the advent of agriculture people had time to do things other than simply fight for survival, so some began to produce art, others pots, others tools, etc.  If you want to know how to make a good pot, you ask the potter, you do not take a survey of the whole community.  In modern society people specialize to such a degree that when you survey the whole they are rather ignorant.  This is because while each individual has a great knowledge of one specific niche, he is ignorant of most all of the other niches.  A great doctor may have no clue who his car works for example.  

Third, when you see an Eagle you say there is an Eagle.  But to an ornithologist he says look there is a Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Bald Eagle), or a Aquila chrysaetos (Golden Eagle).  Just because the general populous doesn't generally make that distiction (or know the proper taxonomic name) doesn't mean that the ornathologist is wrong.

When you are talking to a group of computer scientists using the word "hacker" will convey a person good at computer systems.  But when the news broadcast says "hacker" it conveys a cyber criminal.  It depends on the audience.  

You make the distinction about the legality of actions, that is exactly the reason the term "cracker" was devised.  Now that may be lost on the general public, but it is not on most people here (or in the computer science field).  I am not saying that "hacker" and "cracker" should be differentiated between, what I am saying is that for the computer science community they already are.  For CS people they are different things.  I am also arguing that making the differentiation between legal action and illegal action is important and divides the "hacker community" from the "cracker community" whatever words you use.  As of now I am not aware of any synonym for "hacker" if society would like to devise one I would be more than happy to use it (although as most people don't know of the "hacker community" that is unlikely).  There is simply no current way to make the coceptual distiction without making the linguistic distinction.  As that is the case I am forced to continue to use the two terms to denote the seperate and distict groups of people.  :)

(Edited by Stewsburntmonkey at 5:47 pm on July 18, 2003)
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Postby Octavious » Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:46 pm

I have been very careful to call nothing right nor wrong. You can do what you like, I just want people to understand that if they call themselves a "hacker", people will not, and perhaps should not, think them simply good at computers, but a cyber-criminal.
As I have said, I am not a computer scientist; my passions are thoretical math and physics; I also dabble in a hobby of social science. But I have done a certin amount of computer science, and most if not all computer scientists I know use "hacker" to denote cyber-criminal.
Also your ornathologist would not argue that the eagle is not an "eagle", but instead a "cracker". While he may know some taxonomy, he is still expected to use the same definitions as the general public, in this case "eagle".
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Postby Stewsburntmonkey » Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:51 pm

Yes, and in public if one use "hacker" to mean a true hacker (ie not a "cracker") one would have to explain what he meant.  Just as if the ornithologist used the taxonomic nomenclature he would have to do the same.  As you say (and as I say on page one) there is no way to argue over what a word means, only the concepts behind it.  :)
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Postby Liquid Data » Fri Jul 18, 2003 11:16 pm

That first group's disregaurd for personal and information privacy makes them criminals.


No, not really. To have a certain attitude or aversion to something does not necessarly involve to actually take action in a way that may offend or harm those who don't share their views.

If one dislikes information privacy and censorship, there is no reason to perform illegal actions to avoid security measures and such. The ability to express one's own opinion freely is granted by law. You can fight for "information freedom" without even touching anything else than a sheet of paper and something to write on it. Well, in particular, you need nothing more than your very own mouth. :P

So being against the common sense or any aspect of the law is not a crime for itself.

And btw, I totally agree with Stewsburntmonkey (ehm... is there a shortcut for this? ;)). He made a good point - especially (HAH! Finally spelled the damn thing correctly! :D) with his reference to this lovely ornithologist. ^^ Can we say that hackers and crackers (and script kiddies, and virus programmers, and... whatever) are, figuratively spoken, two different kinds of the same species, and that people with a lack of expert knowledge about them are unable to distinguish?

(Edited by Liquid Data at 12:20 am on July 19, 2003)
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Postby Deepsmeg » Sat Jul 19, 2003 12:05 am

Quote: from Octavious on 9:45 pm on July 18, 2003[br]
Quote: from Liquid Data on 9:19 pm on July 18, 2003[br]Here's a nice psychologic analyse of hacker psychology, including a description of four different categories of all those people who are usually called "hackers":

http://tlc.discovery.com/convergence/ha ... psych.html

There's some more interesting stuff about the topic on this site. :)


That first group's disregaurd for personal and information privacy makes them criminals. I assume this was your explanation for why hackers are not criminals. Find something that says they do not brake the law next time; there is enough out there.

Well, bear in mind, we're talking about long ago...
Before the Computer Misuse Act 1990...
Before the DPA 1984...
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Postby Adriac » Sat Jul 19, 2003 12:42 am

As a hacker, I think I should get to define the word myself...

This kind of discussion always annoys me, because it's an opportunity for a bunch of people to get together and shout their own opinions about a wide open topic at each other over and over until it finally cools down enough to be forgotten until some newb thinks he knows everything about hacking and gets the whole argument started again...

I mean, there's not much point really.
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Postby Liquid Data » Sat Jul 19, 2003 12:51 am

Quote: from Adriac on 1:42 am on July 19, 2003[br]As a hacker, I think I should get to define the word myself...

This kind of discussion always annoys me, because it's an opportunity for a bunch of people to get together and shout their own opinions about a wide open topic at each other over and over until it finally cools down enough to be forgotten until some newb thinks he knows everything about hacking and gets the whole argument started again...

I mean, there's not much point really.


I don't think I know everything about hacking - very little, to say the truth (that was one major reason why I started this topic). And as I mentioned in my first post, I tried the search button, but didn't find anything. Of course I didn't meant to offend anybody - what's wrong with discussing the topic anyway? Many different matters happen to get heavily discussed, then forgotton, then warmed up again. If you don't like to talk or read about it, then simply don't do it. :)

Still, no offense.
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Postby Octavious » Sat Jul 19, 2003 5:49 am

Quote: from Adriac on 12:42 am on July 19, 2003[br]As a hacker, I think I should get to define the word myself...

This kind of discussion always annoys me, because it's an opportunity for a bunch of people to get together and shout their own opinions about a wide open topic at each other over and over until it finally cools down enough to be forgotten until some newb thinks he knows everything about hacking and gets the whole argument started again...

I mean, there's not much point really.


I know very little about hacking and computers in general. I do not claim to know much. I just like to argue, and I am having a grand old time argueing with Stewsburntmonkey in a sporting manner. I am not shouting at anyone. THIS WOULD BE SHOUTING. I am having a civil discution with the man, who I actually find myself rather liking; he presents brillant points which I have had a bit of trouble countering; that enthuses me. If the disscution bothers you, DO NOT READ IT.
You, just as the rest of us can make any definition you like for "hacker", but if I present your post to someone, they will more than likely think you a criminal because you think yourself a "hacker". And yes it comes up a lot, but that gives us all time to rethink our position and switch or strengthen, so thank you Liquid Data for starting it up again; we did sort of high-jack your thead though.
The point is in the arguement. I do not want to put words in Stewsburntmonkey's mouth, but as for me, I enjoy the arguement.
Also, in the end I think we have come to an understanding: any word must be taken from the point of view, not some finite definition.
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Postby Adriac » Sat Jul 19, 2003 6:17 am

I realize my semantics could have been better, and I apologize for that if anyone took offense (newb, shouting, etc)... But nevertheless.

To quote Strong Bad, "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens." In an issue such as this- namely the definition of a controversial word -it's basically no more than everyone saying their own opinion over and over in different words and at varying levels of detail. This was fun maybe 8 months ago, but by now I figure most if not all of the +4 Insightfuls are -1 Redundant.

And that annoys me.

[edit]
Ironically enough, this is the same statement as before except with different words and to a greater level of detail.

Oops.
[/edit]

(Edited by Adriac at 1:18 am on July 19, 2003)
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Postby bgreene2001 » Sat Jul 19, 2003 7:17 am

Ooh, he watches Strong Bad email, and reads slashdot.
We have a hardkor haccker here :P

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