The world economic and social order went completely digital.
And so CRIME went digital too.
It is somewhere at the interstices of the new generation of
alienated young hackers (they sometimes refer to themselves as
"cyberpunks") and the world of sometimes-organized crime that we
locate the concept of the cracker. The term is, to some degree, an
attempt by the now-established older-generation hackers to separate
themselves from computer crime. The debate still rages as to what
constitutes the difference between hacking and cracking. Some say
that cracking represents any and all forms of rule-breaking and
illegal activity using a computer. Others would define cracking only
as particularly DESTRUCTIVE criminal acts. Still others would claim
that the early hackers were EXPLICITLY anarchistic and that acts of
willful destruction against "the system" have a place in the hacker
ethos, and that therefore the term cracker is unnecessary and
Following four entries are from Michael Synergy, a MONDO 2000
associate editor, and a legendary ex(?)-cracker.
On Theft of Information
Information can't be stolen. Unless they've come up with
something new, phenomenologically speaking. If I tell someone a
fact, I still know the fact. Property laws were set up to handle
tangible objects. We're dealing with raw data, information, the
stuff of dreams. The whole system to handle "ownership" is obsolete.
In a world where you can copy information, leaving the original
intact, and wind up with the perfect copy, the debate of ownership
I'm an information addict. When I crack into computers, I browse
and read people's mail, papers, notes, programs, etc. I'm an
inquiring mind and I want to know. This is a real issue. I
want to learn and they want to impose "need to know" on
On the Debate over the Terms "Hacker" or "Cracker"
The only difference is that one is employed. Or runs the company.
On Money & Computer Crime
You know who was the most important president? Richard Nixon. You
know why? Because he took us off the gold standard. Once upon a
time, money in the bank had to be related to a real-world object.
But suddenly the governor was removed. Money was just a bunch of
bits and bytes in computers. Money became the first exploration into
cyberspace. This is why the economy is messed up. This is why banks
messed up. This is why computer crime is growing exponentially. This
is why the damage that can be caused electronically is so great. We
stopped using reality as the "acid test" for what was represented in
This comment is from a hacker/cracker who calls himself
Emmanuel Goldstein. He edits 2600, the premier North American hacker journal.
The more digital the society gets, the more we'll be able to
completely change money. We'll be able to change a date on a
document. We'll be able to add a figure to a bank balance. We'll be
able to change a "no" to a "yes". How do you trace things like that?
If you're a good programmer, there are no fingerprints.
- The Hacker Crackdown - Law and disorder on the
- This Bruce
Sterling's classic book highlights the 1990 assault on
hackers, when law-enforcement officials successfully arrested
scores of suspected illicit hackers and other computer-based
[ Top ]