How to catch a cracker in the US?

William Herrin bill at
Thu Mar 13 15:08:31 UTC 2014

On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 10:13 AM,  <Valdis.Kletnieks at> wrote:
> On Thu, 13 Mar 2014 13:22:40 -0000, "Sholes, Joshua" said:
>> If one came up in this field with a mentor who was old school, or if one
>> is old school oneself, one tends use the original (as I understand it)
>> definitions--a "cracker" breaks security or obtains data unlawfully, a
>> "hacker" is someone who likes ethically playing (in the "joyful
>> exploration" sense) with complicated systems.
> For the old-schoolers, a "cracker" would violate the CFAA to get into a system.
> A hacker would produce a long list of ways to get in without violating the CFAA.
> Unfortunately, we no longer have a well-established word for the latter
> class of people.

You're all talkin' 1990s redefinitions here. 1980s crackers cracked
the copy protections on software (DRM in modern parlance) while
hackers broke in to online systems. Even that is a redefinition.
Before that, hackers were anyone who jovially pranked a system in a
manner typically unlawful which involved creativity and technical

For example, "hackers" might arrange for live cattle to appear on the
top of the great dome at MIT.

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at  bill at
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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