Hacker vs. Cracker – Do You Know The Difference?

September 23, 2016 | Views: 19779

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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. Hacker:smart genius,tech whiz for a good cause…the list goes on & on.Cracker:late in a hurry,scared to get caught…he list goes on & on

  2. It’s startling to know that Hacker has positive connotations and good to know the real definitions as its common to use the term hacker for a bad guy. Then why to use the modifier ethical with hacker when the Guy/Girl is not doing any unethical in the first place?

  3. Hackers are totally different from the way the useless media presents it.

  4. As someone posted before; crackers are guys who reverse-engineer software in order to have it for free. Keygens, patches, reg files, are amongst the ones that crackers use to circumvent protection in software.

  5. I see no difference b/w a black hat and a white hat because a white hat can in-return decide to become a black hat.

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