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1. a decorated cardboard tube that emits a bang when pulled apart, releasing a toy, a joke, or a paper hat
2. US another word for poor White



a cookie prepared from wheat flour, shortening, and yeast; it has a bubbly surface and a porous, crisp texture. Crackers, depending on the variety, may also contain added chemical looseners, milk, chocolate, sugar, caraway, and other ingredients.


An individual who attempts to gain unauthorised access to a computer system. These individuals are often malicious and have many means at their disposal for breaking into a system. The term was coined ca. 1985 by hackers in defence against journalistic misuse of "hacker". An earlier attempt to establish "worm" in this sense around 1981--82 on Usenet was largely a failure.

Use of both these neologisms reflects a strong revulsion against the theft and vandalism perpetrated by cracking rings. The neologism "cracker" in this sense may have been influenced not so much by the term "safe-cracker" as by the non-jargon term "cracker", which in Middle English meant an obnoxious person (e.g., "What cracker is this same that deafs our ears / With this abundance of superfluous breath?" -- Shakespeare's King John, Act II, Scene I) and in modern colloquial American English survives as a barely gentler synonym for "white trash".

While it is expected that any real hacker will have done some playful cracking and knows many of the basic techniques, anyone past larval stage is expected to have outgrown the desire to do so except for immediate practical reasons (for example, if it's necessary to get around some security in order to get some work done).

Contrary to widespread myth, cracking does not usually involve some mysterious leap of hackerly brilliance, but rather persistence and the dogged repetition of a handful of fairly well-known tricks that exploit common weaknesses in the security of target systems. Accordingly, most crackers are only mediocre hackers.

Thus, there is far less overlap between hackerdom and crackerdom than the mundane reader misled by sensationalistic journalism might expect. Crackers tend to gather in small, tight-knit, very secretive groups that have little overlap with the huge, open hacker poly-culture; though crackers often like to describe *themselves* as hackers, most true hackers consider them a separate and lower form of life, little better than virus writers. Ethical considerations aside, hackers figure that anyone who can't imagine a more interesting way to play with their computers than breaking into someone else's has to be pretty losing.

See also Computer Emergency Response Team, dark-side hacker, hacker ethic, phreaking, samurai, Trojan Horse.


(1) A person who breaks into a computer system without authorization, whose purpose is to do damage (destroy files, steal credit card numbers, plant viruses, etc.). Because a cracker uses low-level hacker skills to do cracking, the terms "cracker" and "hacker" have become synonymous with the latter becoming the most widely used term. See hacker, ECPA, CFA and virus.

(2) A person who reverse engineers software and modifies it for fun. Often applies to game software. See disassembler.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cut crackers in pans when partially baked, then continue baking until brown.
The cookie and cracker manufacturing industry doesn't include companies that make tortilla, potato, or corn chips; fresh-baked cookies, pies, or breads; hard or soft pretzels; or refrigerated flour or dough mixes.
IT'S A CRACKER: 8/10 4 Family Crackers, Poundworld, PS1 Metallic red and white with a snowflake pattern and an acceptable bang.
TH Foods strives to bring innovative, authentic "Better for You" balanced nutrition, rice-based crackers and snacks to North America.
com) ROGER & Gallet have a range of brightly-hued crackers, each containing a nourishing shea butter Creme Sublime Hand & Nail Cream.
SWAI W TROSE Christmas KRAFT ICONS CRACKERS PS15 THE six CRACKERs are made from thick brown paper and come with a large snowflake or reindeer attached.
Until last year, Nitish- brand crackers were sold like hot cakes in Diwali but this time it is Modi all the way," he said.
The crackers are packed in nano-carbon-fiber sturdy boxes that keep the crackers safe from harm.
Rawalpindi Police has arrested 3 persons and recovered fire crackers.
THE CRACKER BOOK: ARTISANAL CRACKERS FOR EVERY OCCASION offers a wide range of recipes for making a variety of healthy, varied crackers-some fifty in all-and is a pick for any culinary collection looking for a narrowed focus on cracker production.
Handfinished Silver Crackers (M&S, 6pk, PS25) WHY didn't the turkey eat any dinner?
The usual sale of firecrackers registered a business of rupees 300 million in the city during the festival every year but shopkeepers, this year, expect to make good profits as there has been a sharp rise the demand of Chinese crackers.