Cracker N. One Who Breaks Security On A System.

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cracker n.

One who breaks security on a system. Coined
ca. 1985 by hackers in defense against journalistic misuse of
hacker (q.v., sense 8). An earlier attempt to establish
`worm' in this sense around 1981-82 on Usenet was largely a

Use of both these neologisms reflects a strong revulsion against
the theft and vandalism perpetrated by cracking rings. While it is
expected that any real hacker will have done some playful cracking
and knows many of the basic techniques, anyone past larval stage is expected to have out
immediate, benign, practical reasons (for example, if it's
necessary to get around some security in order to get some work

Thus, there is far less overlap between hackerdom and crackerdom
than the mundane reader misled by sensationalistic journalism
might expect. Crackers tend to gather in small, tight-knit, very
secretive groups that have little overlap with the huge, open
poly-culture this lexicon describes; though crackers often like to
describe themselves as hackers, most true hackers consider
them a separate and lower form of life.

Ethical considerations aside, hackers figure that anyone who can't
imagine a more interesting way to play with their computers than
breaking into someone else's has to be pretty losing. Some
other reasons crackers are looked down on are discussed in the
entries on cracking and phreaking. See also
samurai, dark-side hacker, and
warez d00dz.