Gates occupies a special place in the history of hacking. Most consider him one of the best coders ever. His first version of Basic, written so efficiently that it could run in the 4-KB memory space of the Altair, was a marvel. Yes, that's 4 kilo bytes, not mega, giga, or today's darling, tera. When people picture a computer geek, they typically think of someone like the young Gates. And yet Gates, along with several other subjects of my book, went on to transcend his hacker roots.
This group helped turn hacking from an obscure vocation into a global economic and cultural force and then reaped the rewards of that transition: money, influence, and even fame. This wouldn't have happened if Gates had been just another hacker. Indeed, it was only by discarding key aspects of the hacker ethic that he was able to embrace computing's commercial potential and bring it to the masses. Pure hackers encouraged anyone to copy, examine, and improve any piece of code. But Gates insisted that software was no different from other intellectual property and that copying a digital product was just as illegal as swiping a shirt from Kmart.
In , he wrote an open letter to computer hobbyists who copied his software, accusing them of theft. His missive was considered blasphemous by some hackers, who believed that Gates was polluting their avocation by introducing commercial restrictions that would stifle knowledge and creativity. Gates found these arguments ludicrous — this was a business, after all. That conflict continues to rage.
Gates puts the argument in perspective by pointing out that centuries ago, European publishers printed American writers' works without compensation. Today, journalists are trying to figure out how to sustain their business when their product can be copied and distributed so easily — it's the same dynamic.
Gates seems to take some satisfaction in this turn of events. Who knows? Gates had to stray from the hackers' rigid moral code to become a mainstream success. All Steve Wozniak had to do was don a pair of dancing shoes : While Woz is a hacker legend, best known for designing the original Apple computer, he has become an unlikely pop culture icon, turning up last year on Dancing With the Stars. When I met up with him, he had just reunited with the other contestants for the season finale. His early elimination in no way dampened his spirits. Very little dampens Woz's spirits, even the fact that reality TV celebrity is overshadowing his genuine accomplishments in technology: "People come up to me and say, 'Omigod, I saw you on Dancing With the Stars!
Casual fans can be forgiven for overlooking Woz's tech cred. These days, he's more likely to get attention for his unique hobbies Segway polo, anyone? Snarky Web sites have mercilessly mocked Woz's celebrity-mag turns and frequent appearances in an Apple store's first-day lines as indications of sad irrelevance. But Woz shrugs off the ribbing. He recalls the instruction he gave to Griffin a few years ago: "Hey, you can embarrass me, you can abuse me, you can ridicule me as much as you want — if it makes people laugh it's worth it.
Now he is a confident and widely loved mascot for hacking culture at large. From time to time, Woz still appears in the news as a force behind a startup with potentially groundbreaking technology. CL 9 was going to devise superpowerful remote controls. Wheels of Zeus promised to let users track their possessions through wireless technology. But the first never lived up to expectations, and the second never released a product.
Now he works as chief scientist for a storage company called Fusion-io. But even Woz doesn't expect to create another Apple II. In , his greatest contribution is as a role model. His universal renown is a continuing reminder that brains and creativity can trump traditional notions of coolness. He's the nerd in the computer room whose stature — and happiness — far eclipses that of aging prom kings. And that's an inspiration for nerds everywhere. Hertzfeld wasn't a major figure in my book, but as one of Apple's early employees and a designer of the Macintosh operating system, he could have been.
Today he's at Google, where his most visible contribution thus far is a feature that creates chronologies for Google News queries, so users can see how a story has developed over time. But hacking in your fifties isn't as easy as it is in your twenties. It's not just the passage of years that has changed Hertzfeld's experience. He has also had to adapt his individualistic approach to serve the geek-industrial complex that is Google. On one hand, Google is a hacker mecca.
It values engineers as its most important assets. And the company supports open source software. But Hertzfeld can't duck the fact that Google is also a big company with rigid standards and processes for designing products, which makes the experience more formal and less fun. And at Google, he adds, "I can't exercise my creativity in a way that gives me joy, which is my basic approach. But while he has lost some personal control, he has gained an unprecedented ability to make a mark on the world. Someone at Google can affect the lives of millions with a few lines of code. And that makes for a different kind of thrill than Hertzfeld experienced during Apple's early days, when the potential of every product was unknown and limitless.
Google, the iPhone — these move the culture more than the Beatles did in the '60s. It's shaping the human race. Richard Greenblatt tells me he has a rant to deliver. In my book, I described how his fellow MIT hackers, appalled at his hygiene, used the term milliblatts to gauge olfactory unpleasantness. It wasn't exactly flattering. Was he finally going to unload on me after all these years? To my relief, Greenblatt is more concerned with what he views as the decrepit state of computing.
But coding is just the beginning. The real problem, Greenblatt says, is that business interests have intruded on a culture that was founded on the ideals of openness and creativity. In Greenblatt's heyday, he and his friends shared code freely, devoting themselves purely to the goal of building better products. Greenblatt is not one of those people. He belongs in a different group: the true believers, who still cling to their original motivations — the joy of discovery, the free exchange of ideas — even as their passion has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. Despite their brilliance and importance, they never launched million-dollar products or became icons.
They just kept hacking. I am surrounded by similar idealists here at the 25th Hackers' Conference, an annual gathering that celebrates the thrill of building something really cool. It has been a few years since I last attended, but it's just as I remember it: 48 hours of hackers meeting deep into the night at a Northern California resort, discussing everything from economic theory to data storage. The crowd is somewhat long in the tooth, despite an overdue effort to bring in more attendees under age The tech industry may be filled with young geniuses, but the old guys are still going at it, even if most of their efforts remain blithely obscure.
Greenblatt is a regular here, a link to the Mesopotamia of hacker culture: MIT. He arrived at the school just after the members of its Tech Model Railroad Club gained access to a rare interactive computer. Greenblatt became one of the best, a brilliant coder whose accomplishments include a sophisticated LISP compiler and one of the first autonomous computer chess programs. At MIT, he was known as a hacker's hacker. But unlike Gates, Wozniak, or Hertzfeld, Greenblatt's work never went mainstream.
In the s, he started a company to build LISP machines. It didn't pan out. He wasn't much of a businessperson. These days, he describes himself as an independent researcher. He moved into his mother's house in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to take care of her and has lived there alone since she died in It's not something that works today, but it's something.
When Greenblatt looks at the current state of hacking, he sees a fallen world. Even the word itself has lost its meaning. Greenblatt is far from alone in his wistful invocation of the past. Even then he was bemoaning the sad decline of hacker culture and felt that the commercialization of software was a crime. When I spoke to him that year, as the computer industry was soaring, he looked me in the eye and said, "I don't believe that software can be owned. Was I ever wrong. Stallman's crusade for free software has continued to inform the ongoing struggles over intellectual property and won him a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant.
More important, perhaps, is that Stallman provided the intellectual framework that led to the open source movement , a critical element of modern software and the Internet itself. If the software world had saints, Stallman would have been beatified long ago. Yet he is almost as famous for his unyielding personality. I know him well enough to know he is a hard man to like. Time has not softened him. In our original interview, Stallman said, "I'm the last survivor of a dead culture. And I don't really belong in the world anymore.
And in some ways I feel I ought to be dead. And so I guess, if I could go back in time and prevent my birth, I wouldn't do it. But I sure wish I hadn't had so much pain. That pain came in part from loneliness, once a common complaint among the tiny and obsessive cadre of computer fans.
A commentary by Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo implied that hackers were antisocial losers who turned to computers to avoid human contact. But as hacker culture has spread, so has its social acceptability. Today, computer geeks are seen not as losers but as moguls in the making. They tend not to suffer the intense isolation that once plagued Stallman — thanks, ironically, to the commercialization he so bemoans.
As much now as 25 years ago, Stallman is a fundamentalist, a Hutterite of hackerism. His personal Web site is a grab bag of appeals for people to boycott various enemies of the cause, from Blu-ray to J. He even feuds with his former allies, including Torvalds. He has particular contempt for Apple, with its closed systems and digital rights software. He refers to their products using Mad-magazine-style puns. The music player is an iScrod. Its mobile device is an iGroan. The new tablet computer is the iBad. And he is an equal-opportunity kvetcher. When I tell him that Hackers will soon be available for the Kindle — which Stallman, predictably, calls a Swindle — his dour demeanor evaporates as he energetically encourages me to resist the e-reader's onerous DRM.
Despite his disillusionment, the fire still burns within him. Photo: Carlos Serrao. Lee Felsenstein is keeping the flame alive as well. Felsenstein was the subversive moderator of the Homebrew Computer Club , the PC industry launchpad whose members — including Woz — were the target of Gates' letter.
A veteran of the Berkeley free speech protests, Felsenstein thought that putting cheap computers in the hands of "the people" would allow everyone to take information, manipulate it to better reflect the truth, and distribute it widely. He was right about the rise of the PC, but he says he's still waiting for its democratizing effect. He was celebrated for the Osborne 1 computer, but the company went bust. So did Interval Research, where Felsenstein worked for eight years. Feel free to network with me via Skype: nickbervivo. I don't know his name but he did hacked while there was G.
Bush He hacked into his security system in sitting a garden via his lappy. He wasn't founded then. Or how about pheonix and electron for WANK among other things I dont know why any form of media doesnt seem to get this, but hacking a computer system in general is extremely easy. It can and will be hacked if someone wants in. The age old saw of "locks are to keep honest people honest" applies doubly so to PC's. Their are just too many holes to keep someone that is determined to get in out.
If you do even basic research you will easily find out just how horribly insecure our govermnets PC's are. Anyway just to prove im not full of it some links for yah :P. You would think that people would learn after all these years. But then again, this sort of technology has only been around for a couple of decades at the most, so security still has a long ways to go.
I wonder why governments don't use closed networks? It would be impossible to hack into a network that's disconnected from the Internet unless you had physical access to the actual network, no? Way to go to give someone notoriety!! Tsutomu Shimomura - Caught Kevin Mitnick, hacked early cell phones to tap anyone he wanted.
Loyd Blankenship - created the Hacker Manifesto and John Draper - Aka Cap 'n crunch, figured out how to hack phone PBX's by blowing a whitsle found in a box of cap 'n crunch cereal that generated the tone. How do you explain a person who can hit u with energy from your phone and burn u wit it how do u catch someone like that without police involment.
I've come across some info about th3j35t3r and he seems very white hat.. These are the people world is looking for Not to forget the initial hacking forays of Julian Assange whose early attempts to 'liberate' classified documents culminated in the mass scale dissemination of sensitive information otherwise know as Wiki Leaks. Conspiracy theorist suggest that government only made it look that he committed suicide, the truth is they hired him. Everything is possible in the world but running on it is important don't feeling bad always think happy than you will secsess in your ame.
It's more of an informative, "Did You Know" sort of post. I found it interesting as I was researching and I'm sure others found it just as interesting.
No preaching was done. They government does not want us to find out what they are really doing. You would be surprised Phiber Optik, and Terminus , both members of the Legion of Doom hacker group back in the 's i think. The one that contaminate the world with his " I Love You" Virus.
If im not mistaken it was Onyl de guzman That's Oniel de Guzman, and he was no hacker -- he was just a script kiddie who couldn't hack his way out of a paper bag. If the Love Letter virus which I prefer to call it was a success in the virus sense of the word, it was because of social engineering.
Like, who wouldn't be at least curious about a love letter addressed to you? As another aside, I did receive the attachment but, being suspicious, I viewed it with a text editor bypassed Windows scripting or whatever it used to infect the systems then forwarded it to our sysad. Just some thoughts. Okay, maybe a lot. Do take with a grain of salt, as some are certainly perspective and are also possibly different depending on semantics. But I also touch upon some other things that maybe are of interest to some. No offence meant, but these are - maybe one to two exceptions - not even that well known cases.
I'll elaborate as cleary some are. But maybe it'll be more clear what I'm saying, in a minute. Mitnick was all over the news and that's not suprising since his arrest in the 90s was not his first arrest or time in jail see below. McKinnon I would hardly call black hat. That's not to say that these aren't cases known, but at the same time, most aren't as high profile. Maybe I'm further in the past, as when I was into the scenes, it was years ago over a decade.. There's also semantics but, I do think this list - well there's certainly many more known cases, more than likely more known than these again, less some exceptions.
Re semantics, depends on definition of hacker, too: malware writers in the past had some pretty ingenious ideas say, the idea of piggybacking antiviruses by Dark Avenger. As an aside - antisocial is probably the wrong word there in your Hollywood remark. See 'asocial' and 'antisocial' - the interesting thing is that antisocial people are actually very charismatic and sociable. As for Mitnick, while he certainly was a criminal and some might say he still is, see further below , I don't know if hacker is even the right term for him.
He actually, in many cases, did his deeds through social engineering. He's a pathological liar. Interestingly, while I don't think what the government did keeping him away from evidence etc was fair, he actually kind of has himself to blame, considering he was fleeing and it wasn't his first time for being wanted for such things he was arrested in the late 80s, too. Regardless, its a certainly well known case, so I can't say its a bad choice in the end.
He didn't dodge anything - he simply is fighting it. I don't think he should be charged, as traditionally governments and media do make things sensational and worse than it really is, but I hardly call him black hat in any case. If they don't have backups, either, then shame on them and why they were on the Internet is another story. I haven't looked yet, but if you do have a 'white hat' version, I sure hope Loyd Blakenship is there! Again, maybe you would consider him 'bad', but having corresponded with him, I have to say he's quite a nice fellow. Also his ethics and ideas are very well known yes, indeed, known as The Mentor.
Re Morris: It actually was more like the most well known first worm though it is considered the first, and signifcant especially. Probably the case is, its known because of the way he prevented deletion of the file s was very similar to a fork bomb because of a logical missight on his part , hence taking down the systems.
He also masked the source origin so that it appeared to come from another location. Can't recall exactly where, but it was while in universiry and some other university. According to citations, that is the case even. Thinking about it, the fact he obscured the source makes me think the prostitute remark is absolutely incorrect. In hindsight, I'm not even sure he could be considered black hat either again, interpretations may vary.
The fact that rsh and finger have many risks, as well does the old idea of 'trust relationship' ie hosts files in unix Then again, as they say: all good comes with bad and the reverse is true, too. The dude that created the conficker worm gave alot of people a good april fools joke. He suffers from Asperger's Syndrome and the constant pressure from the US government has driven him suicidal.
Not only that but he is actually Scottish not just "of Scottish descent", and the reason he "was able to dodge the American government " is because American law is not adhered to worldwide YEP Mr. This is how People runs the world Seems that was all McKinnon was doing. Rather unfair to put him with the obvious criminals, even if his exploits might have caused some financial losses.
IBM has the right idea. If you can hack then they give you a very well paid job. I m not a Computer geek bt i m Tech-savvy person who loves gadgets and read out things on it So as a HR you can select well those guys who have skills not by marks. Nahshon Even-Chaim a. Before This guy Australia had no digital crime laws and the Australian federal Police had to learn how to hack just to be able to catch him and the group he belonged to.
What's up with all you people saying these theives should get hired or get a raise. Crime is a crime, would say the same thing about someone that broke into your house and stole all the jewelry? Because according to you, he helped find a point of break-in into your house and should be rewarded. You make a good point. However, with these people, it wasn't just everyday systems that they were breaking into. It'd be like if someone managed to break into a bank's vault or a king's treasury--systems that people assume are unbreakable. Still, should they be acknowledged?
Should they be rewarded? Probably not, especially if they did it with malicious intent. I agree. A crime is a crime. Even more so if it is breaking into a tight vault. You can "thank" the intruder for pointing out the flaws, but still the criminal should be prosecuted. These hackers must be thanked for providing such useful information which was unnoticed by everyone.
They must have been offered high salary with good incentives too,so that they'll remain honest as well as serve to these industries. As this article clearly states that if they're given a chance for their skills they can be a very useful asset. So this is how it should b done I want make me hacker but i don't know how to hacking anything. I m from India and I m middle class family.
They combine Ethical Hacking with Social Engineering to test the physical and information security of a company. A real shame for NASA too They should have praised him for detecting their network's security hole They should have offered him a job Man he looks so young Looks like I was wrong. All of these hacker did something so rong why tell ppl about them tell the reporters and arest them for good.
Omg thx so much now im so interested in Anonymous. Time to make some research! I want to know whole about hacking Richard Stallman Barnaby jack YOU don't XD or go to to your mum and beg like hell and get slap by yout mum. How can i connect with a hacker or a hacker community. I can hack into your brain and I don't even need Internet c0nnection to do it. I think Kevin Mitnick should be on this list. Snowden is not a hacker. The famous hacker that should be in this hall of infamy is Anonymous.
Narc city usa is hiring duhhhh. We need one to hack our bank that is robbing us with all their fees. I have hidden messages before such as this. First go with a windows program amateurs Hello brother i want to learn how to hack on here.
Full text of "New Hacker's Dictionary, The"
Yes bro i want to learn hacking. Yevgeniy Bogachev with nickname "slavik". I am so interested in hacking One name I have to say Adrian Lamo. So the Mckinnons went into hiding as Muggles and eventually one went into hacking. How ironic. Where is Hamza Bendellaj The Best. Regards, A well wisher. Seriously ansage is missing ZeroCool I believe he now goes by the name Crash Override.
Can't believe he's not on the list.
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This are hacker other can do this are best in computer. Hello Saad raza please give me your email address. I will do any to become the most wanted hacker on earth!!! Fell free to get my location!!! Oh come on how about John Draper? How do you leave off Captain Crunch from this list? First do good things don't you want to be a hacker. I was actually amazed it's amazing. Bryan Grey Yambao should be on the 6th spot.