Hacker vs Cracker

Have you ever heard this statement?

“Every cracker is a hacker but every hacker is not a cracker!!”

Well, if you are a computer enthusiast, then probably yes. One of my friends asked me about this statement and I thought I have satisfied him with my answer. I think, this phrase defines the difference between hacker and a cracker and is useful to share here.

Today, most of the writers and people define the term Hacker and Cracker synonymously. However, we are separating both the terms over here. So, let’s first define what a hacker is?

The RFC 1392: Internet Users’ Glossary defines “hacker” as:

“Hacker is a person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular. The term is often misused in a pejorative context, where “cracker” would be the correct term.”

Some other definition defines the term hacker as:

“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.”

So, this means a hacker is a nice guy which penetrates the security flaws for the world’s goodness. Let’s see what a Cracker means than,

A security cracker is someone whose purpose is to circumvent or break security measures. Some security crackers end up using their powers for good, providing penetration testing services or otherwise making efforts on the side of the angels. Many others use their powers for evil, however, as we are all too painfully aware.

Often there are misconceptions about Hacker as it is identical with a computer expert who was evil and damaging people’s computer systems or institutions, but this opinion was not true. Often Hackers are also known as White Hats and Crackers as Black Hats. Today, most of the people term Hackers as Ethical Hackers and Crackers as Hackers.

Hacker is a term for those who provide a useful contribution to the computer network, make a small program and share it with people on the Internet. Those, who have the satisfaction of breaking through computer and communication system, true hackers call these people ‘crackers’ and do not like to hang out with them. True hackers regard crackers as lazy people, not responsible, and not too savvy. Real hackers do not agree to say that the person through the security has become a hacker.

True hackers will always act based on the code of ethics and rules of the game whereas a cracker does not poses any code of ethics. According to the level of experience and skills, the Hacker’s Communities often categorize hackers as: Elite, Semi Elite, Kiddies and Lamer.

Cracker is a term for those who go into other people’s systems and do some destructive works, usually on a computer network, bypasses passwords or licenses a computer program, knowingly against computer security, deface the web home page belonged to someone else, even up to delete the data of others, stealing data and generally do the cracking to his own advantage, malice, or for other reasons as there are challenges.

So, regarding the phrase that we have read in the start of this post, a true hacker is someone who bears knowledge about finding security flaws in the computer and a cracker is someone who also has skills on finding security flaws as well as providing destructive characteristics that is not the case with real hackers. This justifies the statement given above.

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