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Home > Staying Safe > Hacking Cracking and Jacking

Hacking, Cracking, and LAN Jacking/War Driving

Hackers and Crackers

Originally the term "hacker" was used to describe someone who possessed an expert level of know-how in building, programming, or using computers. The term dates back to the 1950s, when students at MIT were encouraged to become more familiar with computers. The word continued to be used in a positive light through the 1960s and 70s when many computer clubs were formed on the west coast, including those attended by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Whether poking around to learn something new, exploring to find a vulnerability, or deliberately trying to steal information, unauthorized access of a computer network is illegal.

F.S.S. 815.06

While many members" primary interest was still academic, as the Internet grew, some hackers wanted to use their know-how to do damage to networks and other computers, or "crack" their system. The media sensationalized these "crackers" but still used their original title "hackers." Many computer enthusiasts still insist that the correct name for what we commonly refer to as "hackers" is actually "crackers."

CNET's Gregor Freund has written an interesting commentary on the future of hacking.

War Driving or LAN Jacking

With the advent of wireless networking, there has been a rise in a new form of cracking called "WarDriving" or "LanJacking." Crackers will drive around with a laptop computer equipped with a wireless network card in search of unsecured wireless networks. The crackers can then use that network connection to crack outside computer systems and the attacks will be traced back to the wireless network owner, not the WarDriver who is responsible for the attacks.

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