BE A HACKER?
Even a mouse has an opinion on what a "Hacker" is and "what it is that they do". Good or bad. Here's our take on the subject...
IS IT LEGAL TO BE A HACKER AND TO HACK?
Contrary to what appears on the surface to be illegal, knowledge of how something operates is by itself, quite lawful. It is not illegal to have, sell, give away, communicate or otherwise transmit such knowledge, unless specifically prohibited by law and/or with the express intent to use such knowledge in an unlawful manner. It is not unlawful to be a "hacker", contrary to what the press, Janet Reno, and Hollywood would have you believe. Do some hackers break the law? I think so, yes. Do hackers seem to get all the "bad press"? Yes. Aren't all hackers the same? No. There are both 'good and bad' hackers.
The distinction between the two being lost by those proclaiming that "all hackers are bad, and are breaking the law". Read the definition of a "real hacker" further down this page for a better understanding of just what makes a hacker and why.
Schools teach knowledge all the time. Some of the things taught can be used improperly. TV shows how to "kill people" all the time. Knowledge by itself in not immoral or otherwise illegal. Mere possession of knowledge, is not an indicator that the person possessing the knowledge will commit a crime using it. Promoting or advocating the unlawful use of any knowledge is generally illegal, however.
Consider the person who purchases a gun. The purchase is legal. The ownership is legal. The use (firing), within the law, is legal. Now have this same legal person shoot the guy next door. This is illegal. The gun isn't at fault. The seller of the gun is not held liable, the manufacturer of the gun is not involved, even though he designed and manufactured the weapon. Only the person actually committing the crime is held liable. And only for the action of killing another, and not for the ownership of a weapon.
And so it goes with information, books, chips, knowledge, etc. It is in the application of the knowledge that determines whether or not the person(s) involved are committing a crime.
We strongly advocate using all the knowledge and hardware/software we sell or make available in a legal fashion to benefit or educate the user(s) and not to the detriment of some cable operator, Sysop or other company or entity.
Is hacking legal? Yes, if done lawfully.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE ME TO BECOME A HACKER?
A minimum of 2-3 lifetimes, or maybe, slightly less. Some have done in only one lifetime, but there is much to learn. Hacking requires the application of one's "raw brain power" combined with knowledge gained through exploring and experiencing. No hacker is ever complete, one just evolves. Hacking is therefore a commitment to learning. If you dislike school, hacking can be a way to increase your knowledge and better yourself. As Teddy once said:
"Hackers lead the way...Others follow. Be a Hacker."
Teddy addressing U.S. Congress, 1992,
or was it Pedro's Bar and Grill?...
DEFINITION FROM THE NEW HACKERS DICTIONARY:
[originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] 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 for this sense is 'cracker'.
The term `hacker' also tends to connote membership in the global community defined by the net (see network, and the Internet address). It also implies that the person described is seen to subscribe to some version of the hacker ethic (see hacker ethic).
It is better to be described as a hacker by others than to describe oneself that way. Hackers consider themselves something of an elite (a meritocracy based on ability), though one to which new members are gladly welcome. There is thus a certain ego satisfaction to be had in identifying yourself as a hacker (but if you claim to be one and are not, you'll quickly be labeled bogus).