What’s your definition of a Hacker?

In 2 weeks I’ll be heading to Defcon, For those that don’t know Defcon is:

DEF CON (also written as DEFCON or Defcon) is the world’s largest annual hacker convention, held every year in Las Vegas, Nevada. The first DEFCON took place in June 1993. In 2007, at DEFCON 15, there were over 6,000 people in attendance.

This got me to wondering what others think a Hacker is? I’ve been asked this question by friends and even in newspaper interviews. The news and those that are uninformed think a hacker is the person that steals your bank account, your identity and spends time trying to do evil.

The truth is most of the problems you hear about in the new, the thousands of credit card numbers being stolen from stores, identities stolen and govt agencies being hacked into are mostly foreign govts (can you say China?) and large groups that are paid for what they do.

My definition of a hacker is anyone that takes something, changes it or uses it for some other use that it was never intended to do. I call myself a hacker, but mostly I hack code, consoles (like Xboxes) and people. Yes, People can be hacked, it’s call social engineering. (is that a good name for lying 🙂 )

While I have experimented with hacking into secure wifi networks, my own servers and sniffing data over the networks/airwaves. This is usually done on my own systems and by doing so, I can protect my own networks at home, work and friends better than someone that has never tried it. You could say know your enemy, but I think it’s just knowing the tools that you use daily.

So what is your definition of a hacker? good? bad? while my work knows of my hacker friends and connections with hackerCons, would you ever tell your employer if you were?

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