One of the biggest labels ever created in our history has the hacker as its main focus. Generally associated with cybercrime, the word means much more than its generalization. Although many hackers have used their knowledge to commit crimes, the origin of the word leads us to another behavior.
What is hacker?
The expression has its origins in the English word “hack”, which means to cut something in a rough or irregular way. In the United States, it was associated with computer programmers, who used tricks and gimmicks to get behavior different from the original.
We can say that a hacker is anyone who provides an innovative solution to an existing system. Imagine that someone discovers a different way to write in Word, or a new way to access the internet? All of them can be considered hackers.
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The first hackers would have initially appeared at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the 1960s and, over time, they have been multiplying in different parts of the world. It is worth noting that they are currently in high demand.
How to be a hacker?
Anyone can be a hacker, but having a background in computer science can make the process easier. Information Technology, Computer Science and Engineering professionals have an easier time becoming a legitimate hacker.
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An expert in discovering system tricks or holes can work in a variety of areas, such as project engineering, risk management, software development, and vulnerability research.
Cracker x Hacker
In the 1990s, the expression “cracker” was created to differentiate it from hackers, who used knowledge for good. You crackers, unlike hackers, can be considered criminals. They use their knowledge to hack into vulnerable systems such as banking systems, websites, databases and computers.
One of the best known was Adrian Lamo, who had a documentary based on his life called Hackers Wanted, narrated by Kevin Spacey. Lamo has gone down in history for hacking into Microsoft, Yahoo! and the New York Times and was found dead in 2018; to this day the cause of his death is unknown.
The first hacker to be arrested for cybercrime in the United States was Jonathan James. The young man was known for hacking into US Department of Defense and NASA systems. At age 15, Jonathan downloaded source codes for systems from the International Space Station (ISS).
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One of the best known hacker groups in the world is Anonymous, formed by unknown people and considered an activist organization. Its main objective is to invade internet pages, take down servers and even leak confidential data as a form of protest.
Recently, the group was branded by releasing a revulsion in video form against the murder of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, United States. In Brazil, Anonymous leaked alleged documents from citizens linked to President Jair Bolsonaro, with information from him, his family and advisers.
It’s not just crimes that the hacker world lives on. An initiative was recently created at the University of São Paulo (USP), with the objective of identifying vulnerabilities and recommending corrections in the institution’s own system. Called “Hackers for Good”, the project has students from the Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at the Institute of Mathematics and Statistics.
There are hackers in the world who use their knowledge for both good and evil. A real digital battle happens all the time, without our knowing it, and we can’t be too careful to avoid a direct impact on our lives.