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5 hacker myths squashed in 5 mins or less

2015-01-17 01:40

Not a myth!

Today, the Blackhat movie hit theaters with its surprisingly realistic portrayal of hacking (save for the shanking and guns). But while we’re impressed with it’s accuracy, we know there are plenty of hacker myths that need to be aired.

In the past year, hacking stepped into the mainstream spotlight. Adversaries breached major household brand names, privacy continued to be front and center in the headlines, and now Hollywood is even jumping in on the culture.

But real hackers are often just normal people. Here are five hacker myths debunked:

All hackers are criminals

Not the case. If you want to categorize them, there are three major terms used to describe hackers:

  1. White hat: These are the guys “hacking for good,” using their talents to protect the Internet, infrastructure, and users.
  2. Black hat: These are the “bad” guys, who use a variety of tactics to break into privileged systems, steal data, or wreak havoc.
  3. Grey hat: These are the guys that fall in the middle. They might have good intentions, but aren’t using the most, let’s say, legitimate means to achieve their goals.

But the reality is, the term hacker was first used to describe a person who saw a system being used for one purpose and was able to manipulate it to be used for another. In some cases they break things to make them better. They’re MacGyvers, in a way, and aren’t always looking to use systems for malicious means.

All hackers listen to techno and code in their mom’s basements

Sorry, they might listen to techno, they might live in their mom’s basement, they might also have a dog and a family or a house in the Hollywood hills. And no, they don’t all have neckbeards.

All hackers break into your stuff all the time

As it comes to black hats, actually, you oftentimes are just giving them your information. It’s called phishing and it’s a social engineering trick used to compel you to hand over your personal information and login credentials. Bad guys oftentimes find it easier to just ask you for your information than to break into your account.

All hackers are male

No, not everyone who considers themselves a hacker is also a man. Just look on forums like Hacker News and you’ll find plenty of women who consider themselves hackers. Indeed, step into one of the largest hacker conferences in the world, Def Con, and you’ll see a rising number of female attendees.

All hackers know Anonymous or are a part of Anonymous

Not every breach or black hat hacker is associated with Anonymous. Those who actually fall under the umbrella of Anonymous oftentimes reference themselves as “hacktivists” or activist hackers. Oftentimes when a hack is reported, many people are quick to suggest that Anonymous could be behind it, but that’s not normally the case. There are many hackers, individuals, and groups around the world who hack for reconnaissance, espionage, oh, and to improve systems and make them stronger.

So, are you a hacker in the true sense of the word? Do you love to solve problems creatively by breaking and using systems in ways their creators never intended? Join us at Lookout.

Hacker image via Alexandre Dulaunoy/Flickr

Source: /shtym-rekcah/61/10/5102/golb/moc.tuokool.golb

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