Sunday, September 05, 2010

Hack the Planet... don't crack it

Oh my, I seem to have caused a right little storm with the footnotes of yesterday's post after Iain Dale quoted them. Even might I add, to the point of being indirectly called "weird" by the Editor of the Guardian.

How odd, and all because little old me said that accessing someone's voicemail by using their password wasn't "hacking". I didn't say it wasn't illegal, or unauthorised access of course - but never let that get in the way of clueless indignation.

It led to to the usual suspects passing comment about it naturally, including the ever so intense Tim Ireland of course, who might I add is bloody good photoshop, video and audio hacker himself - he'll no doubt get angry with me for calling him that and suggest it's a "smear" even though it's actually a compliment. You can't please everybody all of the time of course, but I digress.

Anyhow, this said, I draw your attention to early cyberpunk Loyd Blakenship a.k.a The Mentor, author of "The Conscience of a Hacker" a.k.a The Hacker Manifesto, along with an understanding of what a hacker actually is.
  1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.
  2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming.
  3. A person capable of appreciating hack value.
  4. A person who is good at programming quickly.
  5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in `a UNIX hacker'. (Definitions 1 through 5 are correlated, and people who fit them congregate.)
  6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example.
  7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.
  8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence "password hacker", "network hacker". The correct term is cracker.
Number 8 is important, because it is, in fact, people like Alan Rusbridger who are not only wrong, but have weirdly used their position in the media to weirdly create and morph the use of a term in popular culture inaccurately.

Now some might say that I'm "splitting hairs" but au contraire, this is not about splitting hairs, it's about defending those us out here who are not crackers. Those of out here who do not crack into systems but who hack them on a daily basis.

The "phone hacking" was not a hack. Period. No security protocols were hacked, security was not "got round", it was, quite simply, cracked. It was "phone cracking", or more correctly "voicemail cracking". Does this lessen the illegality or criminality of it? No it does not. But never let that get in the way of a weirdly cluevoid Guardian editor.

People like Alan Rusbridger, and his ilk in the media that perpetuate the misuse of the term, along with self-righteous tits like Tim Ireland, give hackers and hacking a bad name because they have an absolute lack of understanding of the sub-culture to which "the hack" belongs.

I believe at this point it's traditional for me tell these people to bugger off. Sunny day ahead apparently so the garden calls.

UPDATE: As expected, Tim Ireland is gibbering on about how I am deceiving my readers and claiming that Iain Dale, in quoting me, is playing semantics, after all he posted a link to wiktionary on his latest post to argue what hacking was. Now, not that I enjoy watching Tim Ireland hoisted on her own petard I wish to hand over to the man himself who said, in January this year, the following.

Liddle has been making vague/one-off comments about his account being compromised. These accusations began as a claim that his account was ‘hacked’. I’ve checked with the site administrators and there’s no evidence of this, but to be fair we can put this down to the poor wording of a layman; later, Liddle made it clear that what he was claiming was that his account was accessed without his permission when someone guessed his password; this is not ‘hacking’ but ‘password cracking’.
How ironic, Tim Ireland posts saying Iain Dale is being inconsistent in his definition of hacking and errrrr so is Tim - I believe the word pwn3d springs to mind. - Tip off to this was from Anna Raccoon

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