By definition a hacker is “a person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.” Using this definition, the Myjive team could be deemed a group hackers, because we are always trying to push the boundaries of the technology at our disposal. Our mentality is “choose to evolve.” If it’s hacking the connect to create gesture based interfaces and experiences or trying to maximize a CMS’s capabilities to better serve our clients, we continually strive to make the experiences we create better. To see a couple of hacks that we have already done please see our projects for Electrosonic or BMW Mini.
However, the mainstream media and notion of a hacker differs quite a bit. Hackers are seen as people who use their computer programming skills to “illegally infiltrate secure systems with the intention of doing harm to the system.” By this definition, groups and hackers like Anonymous and Lulzsec only fit this definition. Unfortunately, these “Black Hat” hackers tend to receive the media attention, even though there are more than just malicious hackers out there. There are also White and grey Hat hackers. White-hat hackers refers to “an ethical hacker, or a computer security expert, who specializes in penetration testing and in other testing methodologies to ensure the security of an organization’s information systems” While a grey-hat hacker is a mixture of the black and white hats. They “sometimes arguably act illegally, though in good will, or to show how they disclose vulnerabilities.”
So in general, are hackers good or bad?
My personal opinion is that hackers are good, even though I don’t like some of their methods. Across the board, hackers show you the weaknesses in computer programs, hardware and networks. They also show you how far a program or piece of hardware can be pushed both creatively and technically. Also, for those companies that are open to their products being hacked, it shows how to make their products more secure or what their customers really want them to produce. We can see an example of this in the case of the Xbox Kinect and all the hacks that have been produced with that piece of hardware. Lastly, they can help protect our rights. For example, Anonymous has stepped up and actively protested the SOPA/PIPA bills in the U.S. Congress and supported Tunisia and Syria in their recent upheavals. Unfortunately, along with showing support in legal protests, they have also resorted to malicious attacks on supporters of these events, which in my personal opinion is unacceptable.