Hackers warn of 'crackers'

Tuesday, 9 July 2002, 1:13 PM EST

Meet Mack and Jack ­ not their real names. They are hackers or whiz kids of the computer. Mack, 17, is a student, Jack, 29, is in business. Neither wants his name used, nor to be identified.

Blame it, they say, on media paranoia about crashed network systems, looted bank accounts and violations of privacy.

None of that stuff is done by hackers, they say. Crackers do those evil things. It's not their fault people don't know the difference.

"Hackers find and build things, crackers break them," said Mack, defining the difference between a hacker and a cracker as white hat/black hat.

He explained that hackers who discovered system bugs and flaws and then reported them to network administrators ended up getting blamed for them. They credit hackers' bad reputation to the embarrassment caused a supposed professional when a hacker finds flaws.

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