Hackers are criminals, that’s the image you get when doing a Search with the word “hacker”. Stories about the defamation of companies and destroying the lives of individuals, ransacking databases, emptying bank accounts and releasing malware onto the internet, together with a bunch of images of some guy in a creepy white mask gloating into the camera.
A cyber warrior, so called boogy-man of the digital era. It is with out a doubt people are more afraid of hackers than terrorists and murderers, I myself have recently scared a bunch of teenagers from associating with my younger brother. The teens were involved in gang-related crime around my local area and were not scared of police involvement, but were terrified of “hacker” involvement. It’s fortunate for me that they were not aware that even though I may know a few tricks up my sleeve, I’m bounded by the laws of legality and certain things I may say I am able to do, the reality of tieing a string to a paper cup and the other end to a phone system to invoke a wiretap is just not happening. (Any IT person, or modern day human you would think could generally figure that one out, but seemingly not.)
This general view on hackers is limiting and wrong. It focuses on black hat hackers, which is just a small minority of the hacking community.
There is another side to the story that is hidden by the media agenda to bring fear into peoples minds by focusing on matters relating to malicious or blackhat hacking.
Hacking is a key element to anyone that has based an idea on an existing solution
Developers and programmers all use a hacking approach when learning. They take code, strip it, look inside the source, figure it out, write or rewrite it. Work fast and learn from their mistakes. Hacking is an iterative, exploratory practice.
Entrepreneurs take a hacker approach to developing new business models. Just like computer hackers solve problems by running experiments and learning from them, lean entrepreneurs clear up problems in their business models by pinpointing the assumptions baked into these models and testing them. Entrepreneurs have been called many names in recent years, not all of them flattering. But there is nothing spurious about calling entrepreneurs ‘hackers’. Hacking is what they do.
Companies can learn allot from implementing or taking advantage of that particular mindset. It exists with all skill sets that involve creativity and ingenuity.
I’ve seen hackers within 3rd line departments, low level debuggers in R&D, engineers, coders, programmers, scientists hacking away at a new cure.
One of the child actors from the 1993 Jurassic Park movie actually referenced herself as a hacker. Yet she was not protayed like masked indivdual in the picture above.