Hello DaniWeb members,
I know I'm not the only one who has tried to talk with non-hackers and used the term 'Crackers', to their total confusion. The problem is that the media has always refered to the Black Hat Hackers as just 'hackers', and that has given the REAL (White and maybe Grey Hat) Hackers a bad name. At the same time the term 'Cracker' has a slang meaning that many more people know about.

So, this day I offer you a challenge! Let's see what all of our wit and creativity can come up with! What are your ideas for (hopefully) the new name given to Black Hat Hackers (Crackers)?

(Oh, I'm looking forward to this! :D)


P.S. Black Hat Hackers Need A New Name! was started from a conversation in this thread: http://www.daniweb.com/community-center/geeks-lounge/threads/428179/linux-anyone

So much confusion, you seem to have confused yourself too. Cracker and Black Hat Hacker are not synonymous at all.

The term Hacker (black or white or whatever) refers to someone with the technical skills and ingenuity required to deconstruct systems in order to find weaknesses in them which can be exploited for purposes other than those they were intented for (or normally permit). For hackers, their interests lie in developing the means, not so much the ends.

The term Cracker refers to someone who merely uses tools, codes or methods created by hackers to carry out their mischievous (or political) activities. Crackers are solely interested in their ends (goal), good or bad.

As for alternative names:

For cracker, I like the term lacker, as a combination of "lacking skills" and "wanna be hacker". That is especially appropriate if the person in question brags about being a hacker, then you can tell him, no, you're a lacker.

As for crackers that purely do mischievous acts (hijacking emails, stealing credit card numbers or other info, bricking computers, etc.), what's wrong with just calling them fuckers, assholes, mother fuckers or bastards, or any other term that daniweb's language filter will block.

As for hackers, I never understood the whole "black hat" or "white hat" thing, what's wrong with "good" and "bad", it's much shorter and to the point. Why not call them "good hackers" and "bad hackers"? And, as far as I know, "bad hackers" (not crackers) are so rare that you probably don't even need a term to designate that very rare breed.

commented: yep +0

I often refer to 'crackers' as 'the bad guys' or 'cybercriminals' when writing news stories about them. After all, that's what they are. Black hats are also, to be fair, often in the same category as they use those skills to find vulnerabilities and create exploits that are then implemented by the bad guys.

@mike 2000 17: The only problem I have with your description of it all is, while true, it's complicated. Non-technical people will have difficulty understanding all that. And I think that will make the names given not stick with them. I do like your term 'Lacker' for what you describe it as. I may have to start using that.

@happygeek: Who do you write news stories for? I'd be interested in reading them. I do have some difficulty understanding that last sentence. It sounds like you're saying that Black Hat Hackers find vulerabilities in systems and exploit them; which is, of course, true. Did I misunderstand that?

So, so far we've defined that a 'Hacker' is someone with great skill in computers and their systems. And that a 'Lacker' (it's growing on me) is someone who uses programs written by other people to break into systems and exploit them, but has very little actual knowledge themselves.

Maybe we can keep it as simple as that? Hacker is someone with a lot of technical knowledge (good, bad or ugly), and a Lacker is someone who doesn't but thinks they're all that. What do you guys think? Could it catch on?

Thanks for the replys,


Who do you write news stories for?

For Daniweb (for one), check them out.

Maybe we can keep it as simple as that

Yeah, at least, I think so. As for good or bad, well, they are just good or bad.

I'm an 'Editorial Fellow' at Dennis Publishing in the UK, with roles as Contributing Editor for PC Pro, IT Pro and Cloud Pro magazines. I write for Infosecurity magazine as well at the moment, and of course also contribute editorial in the shape of news stories and product reviews for DaniWeb. For my efforts I have been the UK Information Security Journalist of the Year three times, and last year was given the 'Enigma Award' for a lifetime contribution to infosec journalism.

Lacker is a good word, but I've always referred to these people (right from when I started a couple of decades ago) as 'Script Kiddies' - kids/noobs who use ready-made scripts to hack rather than actually do the hard work themselves.

To clarify, WolfShield, I am saying that a black hat will find vulnerabilities and then write exploits for them which are released onto the DarkWeb before the vendor is informed or has a chance to patch the hole. This is, increasingly, done for profit. Which means that cybercriminal is as good a term for the black hat hacker as anything.

Well, things are getting off to a slow start. Apparently, folks are not actually reading the original post (mine) that inspired WolfShield to start this discussion in the first place. Note that this followed from my previous definition of a "Hacker":

"Hacker" is the most widely misused term in the English language, something largely the fault of a mostly ignorant media. I carefully reserve the use of "Hacker" to its original, and I believe correct, meaning. Specifically, a Hacker is a talented, computer programmer who uses his talents to "Hack" through broken, marginal, obscure or just simply poorly coded programs (much like the classical prince hacking through the tangled forest to rescue the princess). His intent is to solve problems, improve code and fix things. Crackers use these same talents for evil. One might even say that a Cracker is a Hacker who has gone over to the Dark Side! Anyway, I'll quote the original passage here:

"Oddly, I was completely unaware of the Pejorative meaning of "Cracker" until quite recently. Perhaps we should start looking for another term to distinguish these creeps from Hackers. I've been trying to think of some adequate substitutes, but nothing yet seems to have quite the same ring to it. As a joke, I thought that maybe "Bankers" would work, but I thought that was being too hard on the "Hackers Gone Bad". Then, I thought maybe "Crookers", which sums up the intent of some of them, but doesn't quite roll off the tongue so well. "Breakers" also occurred to me, but I didn't like it either because it maligns surf, and the media is just lame enough to mix it up with surfers or the CB radio crowd. Perhaps we should just bite the bullet and always qualify our use of the terms as "Computer Cracker" and "Computer Hacker". Maybe we should start another thread to explore this topic and get suggestions from people more clever than I."

"Lackers" is the first real suggestion for the list. It's OK, but it assumes that all Crackers are more or less "Script Kiddies", which clearly they are not. Some, I believe the most dangerous, are in fact very talented. I also would like to suggest perhaps a little more humor. The idea, as WolfShield indicated, is to assemble a list of potentially more appropriate terms for these jerks. "Lackers" is a really good one for a subset of them, but we still need something a little more hard-hitting for the more skilled/dangerous types. C'mon everyone---Get your brains working. Let's have some fun with this. And, thanks to WolfShield for getting the discussion started.