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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.






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