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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 ?
There have been several incidents of US government websites being hacked by Chinese hackers, as well as Russian hackers.
First, an attack launched by hacker i is directed against the firm, and it does not make sense to consider this attack as somehow also proceeding through hacker j to the firm.
I urge any company manager to view the Associated Press media report and reflect on what can happen if their IT security systems are not up to scratch, after all if this is what can be done to part of the critical national infrastructure which has significant defenses, imagine what damage could be done to the average business, with hackers immobilizing your production line or turning off the power supply to your building.
Hackers are continually honing their techniques and developing new attacks, so your staff needs to stay abreast of the latest security developments.
Currently hackers who invade computer networks to steal money or perpetrate credit-card fraud can be charged with crimes punishable by maximum prison sentences of two years.
Understand, however, there are no foolproof security measures; hackers have cracked some of the most secure Web sites--the U.
All that is known of Mr Hacker is that he was born in Gwent on December 23, 1952.
Verton does a good job of giving readers insight into what it is that makes teenage hackers do their thing.
The enemy they face includes an unknown legion of sophisticated hackers who may try to break into a company's system to steal data or disrupt service or to cause damage just because they can.
Thomas's most important argument is that hacker culture is much more about social relationships than computer tools; it is more concerned with how information is treated by people than the machines they use to manipulate it.
It is rare for a hacker to succeed in tampering with the contents of the Web site of a telecom carrier with expertise in Web technology.
A Bush administration anti-terrorism proposal, which has elements that were included in the Uniting and Strengthening America by Promoting Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001, would affect computer hackers -- commonly referred to as "cyberterrorists" -- by prescribing punishment to anyone who "knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command and, as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization" to an Internet-connected computer.