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Is Your Kid A Hacker?

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UK did a study that showed that one out of every four kids are a hacker. SO I'm curious what do they actually consider hacking? I mean really a hacker is someone who just tweaks a program and its not illegal.

I would like to make something clear, “As opposed to what proprietary companies try to manipulate users into: hacking is *not* crime or evil. Hacking simply means playing, tweaking the system. If you tune the engine of your car to improve efficiency it is hacking the engine. If you tune your computer to increase performance, it is called hacking. Getting into others systems, breaching security is called 'cracking'. But proprietary companies spread the propaganda by using words like hacking to create fear among users. Unfortunately, even authorities have started using the word hacking for cracking. Microsoft hacks its own systems to improve performance. So, the word hack used in this report should be taken as crack and not hack. ”

According to Richard M Stallman, "A hacker is someone who enjoys playful cleverness—not necessarily with computers. The programmers in the old MIT free software community of the 60s and 70s referred to themselves as hackers. Around 1980, journalists who discovered the hacker community mistakenly took the term to mean “security breaker.” Please don't spread this mistake. People who break security are “crackers.”


OK so if that is the case and I agree that hacking is no biggie then I can say all of my kids are hackers. Since my kids like to figure things out. I mean what kid doesn't try out some cheat code on a game? If they did they they are a "hacker". Now its those who are crackers who are the ones to watch. Those are the ones who are trying to get into things that they shouldn't be. Now is this good or a bad thing? I guess if its illegal then its a bad thing but smile at those who "figure it out". I have one kid that is good at "figuring" things out but not in a bad way. I mean he's not breaking into anyone's email or facebook but he is a gamer, nuf said. I dunno future job as a IT or a programmer who knows.

So here is what else the study found:

  • 78% agreeing that it is wrong
  • 47% admitting guilt are girls
  • 27% were doing so from the relatively safe confines of their bedrooms
  • 22% use internet cafe's
  • 21% do it at school
  • 19% use a friends computer
  • 46% do it for fun
  • 21% do it to cause "trouble"
  • 20% thought they could make money off of it
  • 5% switch to the "dark side" as a career
  • 27% are caught (and out of that 82% said it was hard and 70% said it was "uncool")
  • 73% tried to hack before they were 13 yrs old
  • 44% tried to hack before they were 16 yrs old
  • 16% tried to hack before they were a teenager

I'm curious to what they considered these kids as hackers? Again if they were a hacker if they used a game cheat code then all of my kids were hackers prior to becoming teens. With that said I'm taking one of my kids to Defcon this year in Vegas so Laughing does that make me a bad mom? Nah!

So what do you think? Are we raising a generation of hackers and crackers? Oh I thought this was a funny story - it goes with STaRDoGG's new avatar here. Tongue

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missb's picture
missb
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Re: Is Your Kid A Hacker?

My kid has used cheat codes so i guess that makes him a cracker? or is that a hacker? Besides cheat codes, which they can get from gaming magazines or websites, what else would kids want to crack or hack?

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Re: Is Your Kid A Hacker?
missb wrote:

My kid has used cheat codes so i guess that makes him a cracker? or is that a hacker? Besides cheat codes, which they can get from gaming magazines or websites, what else would kids want to crack or hack?

I've seen some for Coke machines. That would be handy. When I was a kid we bypassed the need for money on the arcade version of Donkey Kong using a drinking straw. Just slide it in next to the money slot and move it up and down till it hit the trigger/ sensor thingy and rack up the games. We never paid to play that game. Also there was one I learned from squatter punks that involved a thin coat of glue over a stamp. You could then cut the stamp off the envelope, wipe off the mark from the post office and glue it onto another envelope.

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Re: Is Your Kid A Hacker?
p to the izzle wrote:

using a drinking straw. Just slide it in next to the money slot and move it up and down till it hit the trigger/ sensor thingy and rack up the games. We never paid to play that game.

Zip straps work too and actually better because they are stronger. You can also use them on those stupid candy machines that you put a quarter in to get 5 skittles or a gum ball.

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Re: Is Your Kid A Hacker?

Using cheat codes wouldn't be considered cracking or hacking, because they're built right into the game by the designers. The only way it might be remotely considered hacking is if the codes were never published anywhere that people cold get thier hands on them, and someone "hacked" away at the game until they figured them out on thier own.

The definitions of hacking and cracking are kind of an age old debate and changes depending on who you ask. In my opinion there are different "degrees" of hacking. If you just tinker with something, basically anything, and make it or get it to do something not generally intended, it is a sort of hacking. If I take someone else's php script for example, and "hack in" some of my own code, that's also considered a version of hacking. If I have a DirectTV DSS Satellite reciever with a card with a computer chip on it, and pop it into my own programmer, run some scripts on it (designed by my own trial and error) to alter and allow access to all the channels including PPV for free without them knowing, that's considered both hacking and cracking, since I hacked away at it to figure it out and write a script for it, and cracking since you need to circumvent the protection on it.

There's also the scene version where hacking is almost strictly referring to hacking into websites, people's email, etc., while cracking means they remove, circumvent, (and usually mass distribute the result) the protection on software.

Basically though, no matter who you ask, and whatever their own definitions, it's generally agreed that hacking can be used for both good and bad, while cracking is generally considered bad, to lesser and greater extents.


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Smartmom's picture
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Smartmom
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Re: Is Your Kid A Hacker?

yeah I agree with ya there 100%

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