Hackers on Planet Earth
The Hackers on Planet Earth conference series is a hacker convention sponsored by the security hacker magazine 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, held at Hotel Pennsylvania, in Manhattan, New York City. Occurring biennially in the summer, there have been twelve conferences to date with the most recent occurring 20–23 July 2018. HOPE features talks, demonstrations and movie screenings. HOPE was inspired by the quadrennial Hack-Tic events in the Netherlands which inspired the annual Chaos Communication Congress held in Germany. Summercon was an influential predecessor. HOPE has been held at Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City every time except once since 1994; the event is always structured in a similar way. It consists of three days and three nights of activities, including talks and performances, it features hackerspace villages, a film festival, lock picking villages, a wide variety of vendors, art installations, live video, vintage computers, robots, an amateur/ham radio station, electronics workshops, book signings.
The closing ceremony is a regular part of the event, celebrating the event, the organizers, volunteers, but features performances. Since 2006, monochrom's Johannes Grenzfurthner is a regular performer at the closing ceremony. Held 13–14 August 1994 at the Hotel Pennsylvania, the first HOPE conference marked 2600: The Hacker Quarterly's 10th anniversary. Over 1,000 people attended, including speakers from around the world. Access to a 28.8 kbit/s local network was provided. This conference was visited and covered in the second episode of the "Your Radio Playhouse" show renamed This American Life; the 8–10 August 1997 Beyond HOPE conference was held at the Puck Building, in Manhattan, New York City. Attendance doubled, with 2,000 attendees. Bell Technology Group helped to support the hackers. A TAP reunion and a recorded live broadcast of Off the Hook took place. A 10 Mbit/s local network was provided to attendees; the 14–15 July 2000 HOPE returned to the Hotel Pennsylvania, where subsequent conferences have been held.
The conference ran 24 hours a day. Jello Biafra gave a keynote speech. In a cultural exchange between the punk rock icon/free speech activist and the hacker community, Jello drew connections between the two communities, despite his lack of computer experience; the EFF raised thousands of dollars. The conference provided a T1 link to the internet. H2K2, 12–14 July 2002, had a theme focused on U. S. Homeland Security Advisory System. H2K2 included two tracks of scheduled speakers, with a third track reserved for last-minute and self-scheduled speakers, a movie room, musical performances, a State of the World Address by Jello Biafra, keynotes by Aaron McGruder and Siva Vaidhyanathan and discussions on the DMCA and DeCSS. Freedom Downtime premiered on Friday evening; the conference provided wireless 802.11b coverage and wired Ethernet, an open computer area for access to a 24-hour link to the Internet at "T-1ish" speeds, made available by the DataHaven Project and an internal network. The Fifth HOPE, 9–11 July 2004, had a theme on propaganda, commemorated the anniversaries of both the H.
O. P. E. Conferences and Off the Hook. Keynotes speakers were Kevin Mitnick, Steve Wozniak, Jello Biafra. There was a presentation by "members" of the Phone Losers of America who celebrated their tenth anniversary; the Cult of the Dead Cow hacker collective celebrated its twentieth anniversary at the conference. The conference provided access to a four-layer public network with two T1 lines, plus backup links to the internet via a public terminal cluster, various wired connections, a WiFi network on three floors and a video network. HOPE Number Six, 21 -- 23 July 2006, included talks from Jello Biafra. Kevin Mitnick was scheduled to be at the conference but was unable to appear: while on vacation in Colombia an illness prevented his timely return to the U. S. Hope Number Six had a 100-megabit Internet connection. S. hacker conference. The event's theme was based on The Prisoner. Notable occurrences: Steve Rambam, a private investigator heading Pallorium, Inc. an online investigative service, was scheduled to lead a panel discussion titled "Privacy is Dead...
Get Over It." A few minutes before the start of the panel, Rambam was arrested by the FBI on charges that he unlawfully interfered with an ongoing case Federal prosecutors filed against Albert Santoro, a former Brooklyn assistant New York district attorney indicted in January 2003 on a count of money-laundering. The charges were dropped and the talk was subsequently held in November 2006, long after the conference. Jello Biafra began his talk by referring to the arrest of Steve Rambam, noting the convention had been more "spook heavy" than usual, he announced a "special message" to "any Federal agents that may be in the audience", mooned the convention. The "Last HOPE" took place 18–20 July 2008 at the Hotel Pennsylvania. A change from past years was the use of an Internet forum to facilitate community participation in the planning of the event; the conference name referred to the expectation that this would be the final H. O. P. E. Conference due to the scheduled demolition of its venue, the Hotel Pennsylvania.
The Save Hotel Pennsylvania Foundation was created to work toward keeping the building from being demolished by its then-new owner, Vornado Realty Trust. The "Next HOPE" was scheduled for Summer 2010. At the closing ceremony it was revealed that the use of the wor
Ransomware is a type of malicious software from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system in a way, not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion, in which it encrypts the victim's files, making them inaccessible, demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as Ukash and cryptocurrency are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult. Ransomware attacks are carried out using a Trojan, disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high-profile example, the "WannaCry worm", traveled automatically between computers without user interaction.
Starting from around 2012 the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally. There were 181.5 million ransomware attacks in the first six months of 2018. This marks a 229% increase over this same time frame in 2017. In June 2013, vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected more than double the number of samples of ransomware that quarter than it had in the same quarter of the previous year. CryptoLocker was successful, procuring an estimated US $3 million before it was taken down by authorities, CryptoWall was estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to have accrued over US $18m by June 2015; the concept of file encrypting ransomware was invented and implemented by Young and Yung at Columbia University and was presented at the 1996 IEEE Security & Privacy conference. It is called cryptoviral extortion and it was inspired by the fictional facehugger in the movie Alien. Cryptoviral extortion is the following three-round protocol carried out between the attacker and the victim.
The attacker places the corresponding public key in the malware. The malware is released. To carry out the cryptoviral extortion attack, the malware generates a random symmetric key and encrypts the victim's data with it, it uses the public key in the malware to encrypt the symmetric key. This is known as hybrid encryption and it results in a small asymmetric ciphertext as well as the symmetric ciphertext of the victim's data, it zeroizes the original plaintext data to prevent recovery. It puts up a message to the user how to pay the ransom; the victim sends the asymmetric e-money to the attacker. The attacker receives the payment, deciphers the asymmetric ciphertext with the attacker's private key, sends the symmetric key to the victim; the victim deciphers the encrypted data with the needed symmetric key thereby completing the cryptovirology attack. The symmetric key will not assist other victims. At no point is the attacker's private key exposed to victims and the victim need only send a small ciphertext to the attacker.
Ransomware attacks are carried out using a Trojan, entering a system through, for example, a malicious attachment, embedded link in a Phishing email, or a vulnerability in a network service. The program runs a payload, which locks the system in some fashion, or claims to lock the system but does not. Payloads may display a fake warning purportedly by an entity such as a law enforcement agency, falsely claiming that the system has been used for illegal activities, contains content such as pornography and "pirated" media; some payloads consist of an application designed to lock or restrict the system until payment is made by setting the Windows Shell to itself, or modifying the master boot record and/or partition table to prevent the operating system from booting until it is repaired. The most sophisticated payloads encrypt files, with many using strong encryption to encrypt the victim's files in such a way that only the malware author has the needed decryption key. Payment is always the goal, the victim is coerced into paying for the ransomware to be removed—which may or may not occur—either by supplying a program that can decrypt the files, or by sending an unlock code that undoes the payload's changes.
A key element in making ransomware work for the attacker is a convenient payment system, hard to trace. A range of such payment methods have been used, including wire transfers, premium-rate text messages, pre-paid voucher services such as paysafecard, the digital currency bitcoin. A 2016 survey commissioned by Citrix claimed that larger businesses are holding bitcoin as contingency plans; the first known malware extortion attack, the "AIDS Trojan" written by Joseph Popp in 1989, had a design failure so severe it was not necessary to pay the extortionist at all. Its payload hid the files on the hard drive and encrypted only their names, displayed a message claiming that the user's license to use a certain piece of software had expired; the user was asked to pay US$189 to "PC Cyborg Corporation" in order to obtain a repair tool though the decryption key could be extracted from the code of the Trojan. The Trojan was known as "PC Cyborg". Popp was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for his actions, but he promised to donate the profits from the malware to fund AIDS research.
The idea of abusing anonymous cash systems to safely collect ransom from human kidnapping was introduced in 1992 by Sebastiaan von Solms and David Naccache. This electronic money collec
Keystroke logging referred to as keylogging or keyboard capturing, is the action of recording the keys struck on a keyboard covertly, so that person using the keyboard is unaware that their actions are being monitored. Data can be retrieved by the person operating the logging program. A keylogger can be either hardware. While the programs themselves are legal, with many of them being designed to allow employers to oversee the use of their computers, keyloggers are most used for the purpose of stealing passwords and other confidential information. Keylogging can be used to study human–computer interaction. Numerous keylogging methods exist: they range from hardware and software-based approaches to acoustic analysis. Software-based keyloggers are computer programs designed to work on the target computer's software. Keyloggers are used in IT organizations to troubleshoot technical problems with computers and business networks. Families and business people use keyloggers to monitor network usage without their users' direct knowledge.
Microsoft publicly admitted that Windows 10 operation system has a built-in keylogger in its final version “to improve typing and writing services”. However, malicious individuals can use keyloggers on public computers to steal passwords or credit card information. Most keyloggers are not stopped by HTTPS encryption because that only protects data in transit between computers, thus the threat being from the user's computer. From a technical perspective there are several categories: Hypervisor-based: The keylogger can theoretically reside in a malware hypervisor running underneath the operating system, which thus remains untouched, it becomes a virtual machine. Blue Pill is a conceptual example. Kernel-based: A program on the machine obtains root access to hide itself in the OS and intercepts keystrokes that pass through the kernel; this method is difficult both to combat. Such keyloggers reside at the kernel level, which makes them difficult to detect for user-mode applications that don't have root access.
They are implemented as rootkits that subvert the operating system kernel to gain unauthorized access to the hardware. This makes them powerful. A keylogger using this method can act as a keyboard device driver, for example, thus gain access to any information typed on the keyboard as it goes to the operating system. API-based: These keyloggers hook keyboard APIs inside a running application; the keylogger registers keystroke events, as if it was a normal piece of the application instead of malware. The keylogger releases a key; the keylogger records it. Windows APIs such as GetAsyncKeyState, GetForegroundWindow, etc. are used to poll the state of the keyboard or to subscribe to keyboard events. A more recent example polls the BIOS for pre-boot authentication PINs that have not been cleared from memory. Form grabbing based: Form grabbing-based keyloggers log web form submissions by recording the web browsing on submit events; this happens when the user completes a form and submits it by clicking a button or hitting enter.
Data is wirelessly transmitted by means of an attached hardware system. The software enables a remote login to the local machine from the Internet or the local network, for data logs stored on the target machine. Keystroke logging is now an established research method for the study of writing processes. Different programs have been developed to collect online process data of writing activities, including Inputlog and Translog. Keystroke logging is legitimately used as a suitable research instrument in a number of writing contexts; these include studies on cognitive writing processes, which include descriptions of writing strategies. Keystroke logging can be used to research writing, specifically, it can be integrated in educational domains for second language learning, programming skills, typing skills. Software keyloggers may be augmented with features that capture user information without relying on keyboard key presses as the sole input; some of these features include: Clipboard logging. Anything, copied to the clipboard can be captured by the program.
Screen logging. Screenshots are taken to capture graphics-based information. Applications with screen logging abilities may take screenshots of the whole screen, of just one application, or just around the mouse cursor, they may take these screenshot
Phreaking is a slang term coined to describe the activity of a culture of people who study, experiment with, or explore telecommunication systems, such as equipment and systems connected to public telephone networks. The term phreak is a sensational spelling of the word freak with the ph- from phone, may refer to the use of various audio frequencies to manipulate a phone system. Phreak, phreaker, or phone phreak are names used for and by individuals who participate in phreaking; the term first referred to groups who had reverse engineered the system of tones used to route long-distance calls. By re-creating these tones, phreaks could switch calls from the phone handset, allowing free calls to be made around the world. To ease the creation of these tones, electronic tone generators known as blue boxes became a staple of the phreaker community, a group of people that included future Apple Inc. cofounders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The blue box era came to an end with the ever-increasing use of computerized phone systems, which sent dialing information on a separate, inaccessible channel.
By the 1980s, much of the system in the US and Western Europe had been converted. Phreaking has since become linked with computer hacking; this is sometimes called the H/P culture. Phone phreaking got its start in the late 1950s in the United States, its golden age was the late 1960s and early 1970s. Phone phreaks spent a lot of time dialing around the telephone network to understand how the phone system worked, engaging in activities such as listening to the pattern of tones to figure out how calls were routed, reading obscure telephone company technical journals, learning how to impersonate operators and other telephone company personnel, digging through telephone company trash bins to find "secret" documents, sneaking into telephone company buildings at night and wiring up their own telephones, building electronic devices called blue boxes, black boxes, red boxes to help them explore the network and make free phone calls, hanging out on early conference call circuits and "loop arounds" to communicate with one another and writing their own newsletters to spread information.
Before 1984, long-distance telephone calls were a premium item in the United States, with strict regulations. In some locations, calling across the street counted as long distance. To report that a phone call was long distance meant an elevated importance universally accepted because the calling party is paying by the minute to speak to the called party. Phreaking consisted of techniques to evade the long-distance charges; this evasion was illegal. In 1990, the pager cloning technique was used by law enforcement. In the UK the situation was rather different due to the difference in technology between the American and British systems, the main difference being the absence of tone dialing and signalling in the 1950s and 1960s; the tone system in the United States has been replaced, but in some countries, in addition to new systems, the tone system is still available, for example in Italy. One of the first phreaking methods was switch-hooking, which allows placing calls from a phone where the rotary dial or keypad has been disabled by a key lock or other means to prevent unauthorized calls from that phone.
It is done by pressing and releasing the switch hook to open and close the subscriber circuit, simulating the pulses generated by the rotary dial. Most current telephone exchanges support this method, as they need to be backward compatible with old subscriber hardware. By clicking the hook for a variable number of times at 5 to 10 clicks per second, separated by intervals of one second, the caller can dial numbers as if they were using the rotary dial; the pulse counter in the exchange counts the pulses or clicks and interprets them in two possible ways. Depending on continent and country, one click with a following interval can be either "one" or "zero" and subsequent clicks before the interval are additively counted; this renders ten consecutive clicks being either "zero" or "nine", respectively. Some exchanges allow using additional clicks for special controls, but numbers 0-9 now fall in one of these two standards. One special code, "flash", is a short single click, possible but hard to simulate.
Back in the day of rotary dial often technically identical phone sets were marketed in multiple areas of the world, only with plugs matched by country and the dials being bezeled with the local standard numbers. Such key-locked telephones, if wired to a modern DTMF capable exchange, can be exploited by a tone dialer that generates the DTMF tones used by modern keypad units; these signals are now uniformly standardized worldwide, along with rotary dialing, they are all, left of in-band signaling. It is notable that the two methods can be combined: Even if the exchange does not support DTMF, the key lock can be circumvented by switch-hooking, the tone dialer can be used to operate automated DTMF controlled services that can't be used with rotary dial; because the UK network as run by the Post Office was reliant on Strowger switches, the techniques used in the UK were different. The exchanges worked on pulses received from each subscriber's phone, so tone signaling was of no use; the techniques relied on the quirks of the exchange wiring, or facilities put in by the engineering staff.
Some typical tricks used between the 1950s and 1970s included: 9-1-11. By dialing an exchange local to the caller's phone, dialing 9-1-10 at the right moment tapping the phone rest to add an extra pulse, this could give irregular STD Subscriber Trunk Dialling acc
A rootkit is a collection of computer software malicious, designed to enable access to a computer or an area of its software, not otherwise allowed and masks its existence or the existence of other software. The term rootkit is a concatenation of "root" and the word "kit"; the term "rootkit" has negative connotations through its association with malware. Rootkit installation can be automated, or an attacker can install it after having obtained root or Administrator access. Obtaining this access is a result of direct attack on a system, i.e. exploiting a known vulnerability or a password. Once installed, it becomes possible to hide the intrusion as well as to maintain privileged access; the key is the administrator access. Full control over a system means that existing software can be modified, including software that might otherwise be used to detect or circumvent it. Rootkit detection is difficult because a rootkit may be able to subvert the software, intended to find it. Detection methods include using an alternative and trusted operating system, behavioral-based methods, signature scanning, difference scanning, memory dump analysis.
Removal can be complicated or impossible in cases where the rootkit resides in the kernel. When dealing with firmware rootkits, removal may require hardware replacement, or specialized equipment; the term rootkit or root kit referred to a maliciously modified set of administrative tools for a Unix-like operating system that granted "root" access. If an intruder could replace the standard administrative tools on a system with a rootkit, the intruder could obtain root access over the system whilst concealing these activities from the legitimate system administrator; these first-generation rootkits were trivial to detect by using tools such as Tripwire that had not been compromised to access the same information. Lane Davis and Steven Dake wrote the earliest known rootkit in 1990 for Sun Microsystems' SunOS UNIX operating system. In the lecture he gave upon receiving the Turing award in 1983, Ken Thompson of Bell Labs, one of the creators of Unix, theorized about subverting the C compiler in a Unix distribution and discussed the exploit.
The modified compiler would detect attempts to compile the Unix login command and generate altered code that would accept not only the user's correct password, but an additional "backdoor" password known to the attacker. Additionally, the compiler would detect attempts to compile a new version of the compiler, would insert the same exploits into the new compiler. A review of the source code for the login command or the updated compiler would not reveal any malicious code; this exploit. The first documented computer virus to target the personal computer, discovered in 1986, used cloaking techniques to hide itself: the Brain virus intercepted attempts to read the boot sector, redirected these to elsewhere on the disk, where a copy of the original boot sector was kept. Over time, DOS-virus cloaking methods became more sophisticated, with advanced techniques including the hooking of low-level disk INT 13H BIOS interrupt calls to hide unauthorized modifications to files; the first malicious rootkit for the Windows NT operating system appeared in 1999: a trojan called NTRootkit created by Greg Hoglund.
It was followed by HackerDefender in 2003. The first rootkit targeting Mac OS X appeared in 2009, while the Stuxnet worm was the first to target programmable logic controllers. In 2005, Sony BMG published CDs with copy protection and digital rights management software called Extended Copy Protection, created by software company First 4 Internet; the software included a music player but silently installed a rootkit which limited the user's ability to access the CD. Software engineer Mark Russinovich, who created the rootkit detection tool RootkitRevealer, discovered the rootkit on one of his computers; the ensuing scandal raised the public's awareness of rootkits. To cloak itself, the rootkit hid from the user any file starting with "$sys$". Soon after Russinovich's report, malware appeared which took advantage of that vulnerability of affected systems. One BBC analyst called it a "public relations nightmare." Sony BMG released patches to uninstall the rootkit, but it exposed users to an more serious vulnerability.
The company recalled the CDs. In the United States, a class-action lawsuit was brought against Sony BMG; the Greek wiretapping case of 2004-05 referred to as Greek Watergate, involved the illegal telephone tapping of more than 100 mobile phones on the Vodafone Greece network belonging to members of the Greek government and top-ranking civil servants. The taps began sometime near the beginning of August 2004 and were removed in March 2005 without discovering the identity of the perpetrators; the intruders installed a rootkit targeting Ericsson's AXE telephone exchange. According to IEEE Spectrum, this was "the first time a rootkit has been observed on a special-purpose system, in this case an Ericsson telephone switch." The rootkit was designed to patch the memory of the exchange while it was running, enable wiretapping while disabling audit logs, patch the commands that list active processes and active data blocks, modify the data block checksum verification command. A "backdoor" allowed an operator with sysadmin status to deactivate the exchange's transaction log and access commands r
A computer virus is a type of malicious software that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. When this replication succeeds, the affected areas are said to be "infected" with a computer virus. Virus writers use social engineering deceptions and exploit detailed knowledge of security vulnerabilities to infect systems and to spread the virus; the vast majority of viruses target systems running Microsoft Windows, employing a variety of mechanisms to infect new hosts, using complex anti-detection/stealth strategies to evade antivirus software. Motives for creating viruses can include seeking profit, desire to send a political message, personal amusement, to demonstrate that a vulnerability exists in software, for sabotage and denial of service, or because they wish to explore cybersecurity issues, artificial life and evolutionary algorithms. Computer viruses cause billions of dollars' worth of economic damage each year, due to causing system failure, wasting computer resources, corrupting data, increasing maintenance costs, etc.
In response, open-source antivirus tools have been developed, an industry of antivirus software has cropped up, selling or distributing virus protection to users of various operating systems. As of 2005 though no existing antivirus software was able to uncover all computer viruses, computer security researchers are searching for new ways to enable antivirus solutions to more detect emerging viruses, before they have become distributed; the term "virus" is misused by extension to refer to other types of malware. "Malware" encompasses computer viruses along with many other forms of malicious software, such as computer "worms", spyware, trojan horses, rootkits, malicious Browser Helper Object, other malicious software. The majority of active malware threats are trojan horse programs or computer worms rather than computer viruses; the term computer virus, coined by Fred Cohen in 1985, is a misnomer. Viruses perform some type of harmful activity on infected host computers, such as acquisition of hard disk space or central processing unit time, accessing private information, corrupting data, displaying political or humorous messages on the user's screen, spamming their e-mail contacts, logging their keystrokes, or rendering the computer useless.
However, not all viruses carry a destructive "payload" and attempt to hide themselves—the defining characteristic of viruses is that they are self-replicating computer programs which modify other software without user consent. The first academic work on the theory of self-replicating computer programs was done in 1949 by John von Neumann who gave lectures at the University of Illinois about the "Theory and Organization of Complicated Automata"; the work of von Neumann was published as the "Theory of self-reproducing automata". In his essay von Neumann described. Von Neumann's design for a self-reproducing computer program is considered the world's first computer virus, he is considered to be the theoretical "father" of computer virology. In 1972, Veith Risak directly building on von Neumann's work on self-replication, published his article "Selbstreproduzierende Automaten mit minimaler Informationsübertragung"; the article describes a functional virus written in assembler programming language for a SIEMENS 4004/35 computer system.
In 1980 Jürgen Kraus wrote his diplom thesis "Selbstreproduktion bei Programmen" at the University of Dortmund. In his work Kraus postulated that computer programs can behave in a way similar to biological viruses; the first known description of a self-reproducing program in a short story occurs in a 1970 story by Gregory Benford which describes a computer program called VIRUS which, when installed on a computer with telephone modem dialling capability, randomly dials phone numbers until it hit a modem, answered by another computer. It attempts to program the answering computer with its own program, so that the second computer will begin dialling random numbers, in search of yet another computer to program; the program spreads exponentially through susceptible computers and can only be countered by a second program called VACCINE. The idea was explored further in two 1972 novels, When HARLIE Was One by David Gerrold and The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton, became a major theme of the 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner.
The 1973 Michael Crichton sci-fi movie Westworld made an early mention of the concept of a computer virus, being a central plot theme that causes androids to run amok. Alan Oppenheimer's character summarizes the problem by stating that "...there's a clear pattern here which suggests an analogy to an infectious disease process, spreading from one...area to the next." To which the replies are stated: "Perhaps there are superficial similarities to disease" and, "I must confess I find it difficult to believe in a disease of machinery." The Creeper virus was first detected on the forerunner of the Internet, in the early 1970s. Creeper was an experimental self-replicating program written by Bob Thomas at BBN Technologies in 1971. Creeper used the ARPANET to infect DEC PDP-10 computers running the TENEX operating system. Creeper gained access via the ARPANET and copied itself to the remote system where the message, "I'm the creeper, catch me if you can!" was displayed. The Reaper program was created to delete Creeper.
In 1982, a program called "Elk Cloner" was
The hacker culture is a subculture of individuals who enjoy the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming limitations of software systems to achieve novel and clever outcomes. The act of engaging in activities in a spirit of playfulness and exploration is termed "hacking". However, the defining characteristic of a hacker is not the activities performed themselves, but the manner in which it is done and whether it is something exciting and meaningful. Activities of playful cleverness can be said to have "hack value" and therefore the term "hacks" came about, with early examples including pranks at MIT done by students to demonstrate their technical aptitude and cleverness. Therefore, the hacker culture emerged in academia in the 1960s around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Tech Model Railroad Club and MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Hacking involved entering restricted areas in a clever way without causing any major damages; some famous hacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were placing of a campus police cruiser on the roof of the Great Dome and converting the Great Dome into R2-D2.
Richard Stallman explains about hackers who program: What they had in common was love of excellence and programming. They wanted to make their programs, they wanted to make them do neat things. They wanted to be able to do something in a more exciting way than anyone believed possible and show "Look how wonderful this is. I bet you didn't believe this could be done." Hackers from this subculture tend to emphatically differentiate themselves from what they pejoratively call "crackers". The Jargon File, an influential but not universally accepted compendium of hacker slang, defines hacker as "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." The Request for Comments 1392, the Internet Users' Glossary, amplifies this meaning as "A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system and computer networks in particular."As documented in the Jargon File, these hackers are disappointed by the mass media and general public's usage of the word hacker to refer to security breakers, calling them "crackers" instead.
This includes both "good" crackers who use their computer security related skills and knowledge to learn more about how systems and networks work and to help to discover and fix security holes, as well as those more "evil" crackers who use the same skills to author harmful software and illegally infiltrate secure systems with the intention of doing harm to the system. The programmer subculture of hackers, in contrast to the cracker community sees computer security related activities as contrary to the ideals of the original and true meaning of the hacker term that instead related to playful cleverness; the word "hacker" derives from the seventeenth-century word of a "lusty laborer" who harvested fields by dogged and rough swings of his hoe. Although the idea of "hacking" has existed long before the term "hacker"—with the most notable example of Lightning Ellsworth, it was not a word that the first programmers used to describe themselves. In fact, many of the first programmers were from physics backgrounds.
There was a growing awareness of a style of programming different from the cut and dried methods employed at first, but it was not until the 1960s that the term hackers began to be used to describe proficient computer programmers. Therefore, the fundamental characteristic that links all who identify themselves as hackers are ones who enjoy "…the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming and circumventing limitations of programming systems and who tries to extend their capabilities". With this definition in mind, it can be clear where the negative implications of the word "hacker" and the subculture of "hackers" came from; some common nicknames among this culture include "crackers" who are unskilled thieves who rely on luck. Others include "phreak"—which refers to a type of skilled crackers and "warez d00dz"—which is a kind of cracker that acquires reproductions of copyrighted software. Within all hackers are tiers of hackers such as the "samurai" who are hackers that hire themselves out for legal electronic locksmith work.
Furthermore, there are other hackers who are hired to test security, they are called "sneakers" or "tiger teams". Before communications between computers and computer users were as networked as they are now, there were multiple independent and parallel hacker subcultures unaware or only aware of each other's existence. All of these had certain important traits in common: Creating software and sharing it with each other Placing a high value on freedom of inquiry Hostility to secrecy Information-sharing as both an ideal and a practical strategy Upholding the right to fork Emphasis on rationality Distaste for authority Playful cleverness, taking the serious humorously and humor These sorts of subcultures were found at academic settings such as college campuses; the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the University of California and Carnegie Mellon University were well-known hotbeds of early hacker culture. They evolved in parallel, unconsciously, until the Internet, where a legendary PDP-10 machine at MIT, called