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krishnan t s
April 11th, 2014, 11:33 AM
Sorry if this has been asked already.. Please feel free to change the post to a different forum if necessary
I want to know the exact difference between hacking and cracking.. Which of it is legal?

slickymaster
April 11th, 2014, 11:38 AM
The term "hacking" was originally used to describe ways to create, alter or improve software and hardware - a "hacker" was an extremely proficient programmer that could do in 5 lines of code what would take others several modules.

"Cracking" is the illegal version of hacking, where existing software is reverse-engineered to remove restrictions like trial periods.

PartisanEntity
April 11th, 2014, 11:38 AM
My opinion, based on so much I have that I have read about the topic over the years boils down to this: it depends what you understand under those terms.

Some people refer to hacking as "modifying beyond default". Other mean "penetrating a system without authorization". Yet others mean something entirely different.

My personal opinion is that it all depends on the context and the relevant "understanding" of those terms. Basically what I am trying to say is "It depends".

Iowan
April 11th, 2014, 11:39 AM
Hacking describes an inelegant fix - cracking describes breaking and entering. :)

Lars Noodén
April 11th, 2014, 11:43 AM
cracking (http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/C/cracking.html) is generally illegal. hacking (http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/H/hack.html) is generally legal. RMS, Linus Torvalds, Theo de Raadt and Bunnie Huang are some famous hackers. Kevin Mitnick is a famous cracker.

bashiergui
April 12th, 2014, 08:55 PM
The terms have been hopelessly muddled and mis-defined in general. You asked for legal advice on a forum (LOL BTW)... In the US malicious hacking has been successfully defined as pretty much any interaction with a computer. If there's any doubt about what you're going to do, don't. And especially don't if you don't know how to cover your tracks or how to shut up.

Habitual
April 12th, 2014, 10:50 PM
The terms have been hopelessly muddled and mis-defined in general.Lately, this has been the case.
Back in "the day" (1996) hacking was breaking into computer systems and cracking was breaking software protection.

There are few real hackers left, IMO. Most of the hacking going on is just script-fed kiddies running someone else's work via script and finding vulnerable targets.
I don't know about some of my former cracker colleagues, but I'm sure the "scene" isn't what it used to be either.
Everyone involved seems intent on notoriety rather than real accomplishment.

Phrozen4Life

buzzingrobot
April 12th, 2014, 11:16 PM
People today think setting up an Excel spreadsheet is programming. If you told them to AND the accumulator, or just recognize the 6502 code that made things like the Apple II and Commodore 64 possible, they'd be clueless.

Old_Grey_Wolf
April 12th, 2014, 11:17 PM
Sorry if this has been asked already.. Please feel free to change the post to a different forum if necessary
I want to know the exact difference between hacking and cracking.. Which of it is legal?

From the 6 replays you have gotten, I think you know that there is no definitive definition of those two terms. The explanation by PartisanEntity (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2216304&p=12984181&viewfull=1#post12984181) above is probably a good explanation.

RadicaX
April 12th, 2014, 11:28 PM
From the Wikipedia "
Currently, "hacker" is used in two main conflicting ways


as someone who is able to subvert computer security; if doing so for malicious purposes, the person can also be called a cracker (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracker_%28person%29).
a member of the Unix (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix) or the free and open source software (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_and_open_source_software) programming subcultures, or one who uses such a style of software or hardware development."

In other words anyone that uses anything other than Windows would be a hacker (lol). Sorry you Mac Users, that includes you.

Honestly, as you can see, the term is pretty loose, how I always heard it, was a hacker is anyone that modifies something. Be it a person painting their truck to a color which the manufacturer does not offer, or be it someone adding or changing things around in their own computer.

While a Cracker as I have heard it, has always been the kind of person that hacks past security, the people that find faults in computers. But that is how I have heard it, and really I find the answers above quite good.

HermanAB
April 13th, 2014, 10:23 AM
The question is what you do, not how you label it:

Hacking wood with an axe is legal.

Hacking someone's head with an axe is illegal.

Cracking an egg is legal.

Cracking someone's skull is illegal.

bashiergui
April 13th, 2014, 04:46 PM
The question is what you do, not how you label it:

Hacking wood with an axe is legal.

Hacking someone's head with an axe is illegal.

Cracking an egg is legal.

Cracking someone's skull is illegal.No. Hacking wood with an axe is illegal if you do it with a stolen axe or on stolen wood or in an area designated to prohibit axe cutting. Cracking an egg is illegal if you're cracking a bald eagle's egg (or some other listed endangered species).

It's pretty difficult to make a definitive statement about the legality of anything, especially when it's not specific to any jurisdiction.

HermanAB
April 16th, 2014, 04:54 PM
Whoosh...

tux3do
April 16th, 2014, 08:53 PM
Terminology is really mixed up these days.
Traditionally a hacker has been someone who enjoys playing with technology.

23dornot23d
April 16th, 2014, 09:37 PM
Kevin David Mitnick is an American - computer security consultant - see wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Mitnick

So if you hear the words "computer security consultant"

You know exactly what they are doing ..........

Hacking is for others that are not "computer security consultants" they are just making things better for all
often using - other peoples code.

Sort of think in terms of the wheel ........ nowadays ....... using that idea and trying to put it on anything else would be a copyright infringment.

The wheel was hacked .... ie ... used on planes - trains - automobiles ...... no one got sued or fined for doing it ........ odd world.

But in computing .... if a hacker should find code that is useful to them ....... and it has a open source GPL ... then it is free to use and share.

But in computing .... if a hacker should find code that Microsoft or Apple produced and then uses it - then it could be a jail sentence or a fine.

Hackers are ok in the Linux / OSS World ....... not so sure in Legal circles as to how they are seen ........ maybe innovation and hacking is dead.

Lets just hope the more important things get introduced through Linux ........ otherwise they may probably die off before they ever get a chance to develop.

The most useful and notorious Hacker was ?

Modern day Robin Hood - or - Richard >>> note >>>> **** Turpin type characters ...... does someone always lose out ........ or do people sometimes gain from their use of code.

Depends who writes the stories and which of these were Hackers and Crackers ...... or just purely "computer security consultants" doing the job for free ........

http://listverse.com/2012/05/08/top-10-notorious-black-hat-hackers/

tux3do
April 16th, 2014, 09:45 PM
Come to think of it, the terms are a bit vague nowadays as to what real life activity they describe. Movies like to display an exciting security trick gaining the hacker tons of money and a police chase. The software community likes to use the term as a creative playful person. We can give an activity 1000 names, but still we would know nothing about what this activity really means.
But on a more abstract level, all definitions I have seen, say a hacker is a creative person with technical skills.

plurworldinc
April 16th, 2014, 10:27 PM
When it comes to pop culture Hackers are the evil doers behind the computer screen the haunts the world at night. Crackers on the other hand are not as socially known, but generally does all the problematic things we attribute to hackers. Whenever there is a news story about cyber crimes the word Hacker is soon to follow. There is an unfair stigma linked to term, which is personally saddening.

buzzingrobot
April 16th, 2014, 10:28 PM
Sort of think in terms of the wheel ........ nowadays ....... using that idea and trying to put it on anything else would be a copyright infringment.


People who create something have the right to determine how it's copied and distributed.

Use of hacking versus cracking is a distinction without a meaning for most people. For them, a hacker is the guy who hacked into their PC, or their office network, or their bank. Therefore, hacking is what a hacker does.

Trying to be Dictionary Police and enforce a use of hacking versus cracking that's in keeping with the wishes of some small number of people is pointless. It's not like there is anyone making rules for this sort of thing.

And media will keep on using the word they think their readers/listeners/viewers will understand.

Old_Grey_Wolf
April 16th, 2014, 10:46 PM
...
And media will keep on using the word they think their readers/listeners/viewers will understand.

I agree. I think the media will use the word hacking because they think most readers//listeners/viewers have never heard of cracking. I think they may be right. Some in the media may not know the difference either.

buzzingrobot
April 16th, 2014, 10:53 PM
I agree. I think the media will use the word hacking because they think most readers//listeners/viewers have never heard of cracking. I think they may be right. Some in the media may not know the difference either.

Well, it's a difference that only a small clique of folks knows and cares about. They'd be better off coming up with a new word rather than trying to win this.

lisati
April 16th, 2014, 10:55 PM
I agree. I think the media will use the word hacking because they think most readers//listeners/viewers have never heard of cracking. I think they may be right. Some in the media may not know the difference either.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of the mystique and confusion dates from the days when the typical computer filled a decent size room (or building), had lots of suppporting infrastructure (such as artificial floors, air conditioning, halon-based fire extinguishers, and possibly even water cooling), was locked away and inaccessible to the general public, and had less horsepower than the laptops of today.

Neither would I be surprised if some in the media didn't care about some of the finer points of distinction between hacking and cracking that have been discussed in this thread.

drmrgd
April 17th, 2014, 11:34 AM
I've found the writeup in the Jargon File to be the most informative and definitive answer. However, these to me are dictionary definitions, and we all know that in speech words are often stretched well beyond their dictionary definitions. Anyway, check these two sections out for the distinction between hacker and cracker, along with a little more of an explanation about what a hack and hackers are - from hackers!

http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/crackers.html
http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/meaning-of-hack.html
http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/appendixc.html

I recommend reading through the whole Jargon File sometime. Great stuff in there!