General Science, Mathematics, and Technology


What is a hacker?

A hacker is a skilled computer user. The term originally denoted a skilled programmer, particularly one skilled in machine code and with a good knowledge of the machine and its operating system. The name arose from the fact that a good programmer could always hack an unsatisfactory system around until it worked.

The term later came to denote a user whose main interest is in defeating secure systems. The term has thus acquired a pejorative sense, with the meaning of one who deliberately and sometimes criminally interferes with data available through telephone lines. The activities of such hackers have led to considerable efforts to tighten security of transmitted data. The “hacker ethic” is that information-sharing is the proper way of human dealing, and, indeed, it is the responsibility of hackers to liberally impart their wisdom to the software world by distributing information. Many hackers are hired by companies to test their Web security.


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