Hacker vs. Cracker – Do You Know The Difference?

September 23, 2016 | Views: 19970

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The term hacker has been misunderstood, misused and represented in the press as a malicious person.  The mainstream media uses these terms interchangeably, and this has led to confusion when communicating to others about security issues and techniques.  Unfortunately the misunderstanding and use of the terms in the press  has this  misconception implanted in the minds around the globe, not only by security enthusiasts, but experts as well.

If were to ask you what a Hacker is would you think good guy/gal or bad guy/gal?  I would bet most individuals would  say a “bad guy/gal or a user with malicious intent”.  What you would have just described in reality would be known as a cracker.

In the most simplistic statement of how I differentiate the two are as follows:

Hacker – WhiteHat “Good Guy/Gal” A person with ethics, moral character, and uses knowledge for good intent.

Cracker – BlackHat “Bad Guy/Gal”    A person without ethics, moral character, and uses knowledge for malicious intent.

Official Definitions

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

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.


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

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.


What would you like to be referred as a Hacker or Cracker?

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  1. am not done with hacking yet, still cracking from nuts to soft wares by the time i arrive not even the best out there can stop me.

  2. please don’t mind me if i say i don’t care how people call it black, white or grey HACKER all i know is that some site need to be “HaCkEd”. anyway it may not be for a bad reason, but to help them strengthen up, just like criticism, if you are not afraid of it then you are the BO$$

  3. gray… https://www.eff.org/pages/grey-hat-guide A computer security researcher who has inadvertently violated the law during the course of her investigation faces a dilemma when thinking about whether to notify a company about a problem she discovered in one of the company’s products. By reporting the security flaw, the researcher reveals that she may have committed unlawful activity, which might invite a lawsuit or criminal investigation. On the other hand, withholding information means a potentially serious security flaw may go unremedied.

    • Also hacktivist that are also hackers can also be seens as gray hats because they may break the law for a good reason… not for greed or to steal..

  4. a hacker can be any person with extra computer knowledge with good reason to use the knowledge but remember that white and black hat or gray hat only shows the level of the hacker curiosity.

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