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Slang a computer fanatic, esp one who through a personal computer breaks into the computer system of a company, government, etc.


(computer science)
A person who uses a computer system without a specific, constructive purpose or without proper authorization.


(person, jargon)
(Originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe) 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.

2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming.

3. A person capable of appreciating hack value.

4. A person who is good at programming quickly.

5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in "a Unix hacker". (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.)

6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example.

7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.

8. (Deprecated) A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence "password hacker", "network hacker". The correct term is cracker.

The term "hacker" also tends to connote membership in the global community defined by the net (see The Network and Internet address). It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic.

It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly welcome. Thus while it is gratifying to be called a hacker, false claimants to the title are quickly labelled as "bogus" or a "wannabee".

9. (University of Maryland, rare) A programmer who does not understand proper programming techniques and principles and doesn't have a Computer Science degree. Someone who just bangs on the keyboard until something happens. For example, "This program is nothing but spaghetti code. It must have been written by a hacker".


A person who writes programs in assembly language or in system-level languages, such as C. The term often refers to any programmer, but its true meaning is someone with a strong technical background who is "hacking away" at the bits and bytes.

Hackers Have a Bad Name
During the 1990s, the term "hacker" became synonymous with "cracker," which is a person who performs some form of computer sabotage. The association is understandable. In order to be an effective cracker, you had to be a good hacker, thus the terms got intertwined, and hacker won out as the "bad guy" in the popular press (see hack).

However, sometimes, hackers are not worthy of the original meaning of the term. Today, a lot of malicious acts are performed by people with limited knowledge who gain unauthorized entrance into computers to steal data or perform mischief (see script kiddie). See cracker, white hat hacker, samurai and Anonymous.

Hackers Targeted the Internet
By the time this article appeared in 2000, hacker was a negative term to most people. This was a huge denial of service (DOS) attack on Yahoo, eBay, Amazon.com and other websites. (Article headline courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer.)

Friendly Competition
In 2012, RadioShack challenged "HackerSpace" groups from the East and West coasts to build something "awesome" with RadioShack's Arduino single-board computer. See Arduino.
References in periodicals archive ?
These were the respective punishments handed out to Darren Martyn and Mustafa Al-Bassam, two computer hackers charged with political attacks on various corporate and government websites, or as we call it here in the UK, "conspiracy to commit computer misuse with intent to disrupt or impair the operation of a computer or computer(s).
In Hacker Cracker, Ejovi Nuwere (with coauthor David Chanoff) shares his unlikely life story, that of a kid from a poor Brooklyn neighborhood who becomes an expert computer hacker and later a computer security specialist.
After serving five years in prison for stealing software and altering data from high-profile companies such as Motorola and Novell, computer hacker Kevin Mitnick has written a book entitled 'The Art of Deception'.
SAN FRANCISCO- Shrugging off light attendance and an invasion by a computer hacker, the San Francisco Mart reported a typical edition of the summer show.
During that travel, the e-mail can be captured by the proverbial pimple-faced 13-year-old computer hacker testing his or her skills.
Enter the modern-day alchemist, the shadowy figure who makes us feel even stupider than we usually do, the diabolical master of an arcane discipline we barely understand: the malevolent computer hacker.
But DISA can also enable a computer hacker to open your PBX up to long-distance abusers.
Part V Privacy and Surveillance: Are computer hacker break-ins ethical?
COMPUTER hacker Gary McKinnon could be sent to the US within weeks after the Home Secretary refused to block his extradition.
THE mother of computer hacker Gary McKinnon has accused the Government of "throwing their people to the dogs".
Laptop computers at an Adult Protective Services office in Burbank were stolen over the weekend, the laptop of a community and senior services employee was stolen two months ago and earlier this month a computer hacker in Germany broke into the Community Development Commission's computer system in Monterey Park, officials said.
Now years later, Keyz, a teenage computer hacker, is in trouble with the same man.

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