Hacking is… (A definition of Hacking From a Hacker’s Perspective)

“Hacking is satisfying one’s curiosity.

Hacking is discovering a approach to accomplish a purpose, by no means accepting no for a solution, and being extra persistent and affected person than anybody else.

Hacking is pushing expertise to its limits and making expertise extra resilient by means of testing, tinkering, and exploration.

Hacking is a mindset, a tradition, a spirit, and the execution of artistic problem-solving.

Hacking is survival by [self]-learning as information is the important thing to unlocking potentialities most might by no means think about.

Hacking is questioning social norms, by no means accepting issues for what they’re and believing controls are for individuals who observe the principles.

Hacking is the alternative of acceptance of cultural norms and the pure state of “issues”.

Hacking is indiscriminate, has no boundaries and isn’t restricted by intercourse, race, faith, solely by how a lot effort you’re prepared to place into fixing an issue.

Hacking is sweet and those who lack morals or values have given the phrases “hack”, “hacker” and “hacking” a unfavorable connotation as evil people who find themselves labeled “hackers” don’t deserve the moniker.

Hacking is believing in your self and the notion that the unimaginable could also be doable.

Hacking is manipulating guidelines, social norms, and customary beliefs to attain a purpose, most frequently to determine a thief, a cheat, or a lie not beforehand recognized.

Hacking isn’t dishonest. Dishonest lives within the shadows of hacking.

Hacking is believing you don’t should observe the principles the entire time. 

Hacking is freedom.”

– Paul Asadoorian, Founder & CTO, Safety Weekly, Written Could 3, 2019

An In-Depth Dialogue


I suppose that is what actual hackers seem like. A few of my most favourite hackers bought collectively on a podcast and for over 2 hours mentioned hacker tradition and what it means to be a hacker. (Larry Pesce, somebody who embodies the spirit of hacking like no different and retains that spirit alive on the present each week, is seated to my left simply out of body).

On episode #636 (not but launched) of Paul’s Safety Weekly we are going to air the podcast model of the hacker tradition spherical desk dialogue. In the meanwhile you’ll be able to watch the video model that includes 13 hackers discussing hacker tradition that was the final phase recorded on our vacation podcast marathon: 



A pattern of a few of my authentic notes for this essay, and ultimately one of many drivers of the hacker tradition podcast episode.

This quick essay was conceived by placing pen to paper in the midst of the evening throughout a type of “Holy crap, I’ve to put in writing this down!” moments. It has been re-worked a number of occasions, shared with a number of of my buddies for suggestions, and used to drive a few of the dialogue on a latest Safety Weekly podcast. A couple of people approached me after the podcast recording to ask what I used to be studying from in the course of the phase. 


This isn’t what a hacker seems like. Many photographs of “hackers” depict darkish rooms, hoodies, ski masks, and many others… The photographs most frequently depict criminals, not true hackers.

I instructed them it was a brief essay that I had simply scribbled down on a whim in the midst of the evening. My buddies instructed me they thought I’d captured the spirit of hacking, and subsequently I made a decision to publish it for all to learn. I need this to bolster the hacker tradition, as a complete locally and throughout all of our exhibits. Whereas there might be extra technical content material than ever featured on the community, hacking doesn’t essentially pigeon gap itself into extremely technical laptop expertise. Myself and all the Safety Weekly staff wish to discover all totally different types of hacking, from hacking {hardware} to hacking people, and extra (If in case you have options for folk to for us to talk with, use our visitor suggestion type to recommend a hacker that you simply imagine would make an excellent interview).

My purpose is to assist individuals perceive what it means to be a hacker and encourage individuals to enter into careers that use their hacking expertise (similar to info safety!). My utopian purpose is that we reclaim the definition of hacking, nevertheless, I imagine it is going to reside on with two meanings. The primary that means of hacking is the one described within the first a part of this text, the unique that means that traces again to the early MIT hackers (in fact I like this one the very best). The second that means stems largely from the media, portraying hackers as criminals. I don’t imagine we are going to totally reclaim hacking, the very best we are able to do is evangelize each meanings the variations between them.

After I wrote the essay I learn the e-book “Hackers: Heroes of the Laptop Revolution” by Stephen Levy (1986).


Among the first hackers originated from MIT and had been a part of TMRC (The Mannequin Railroad Membership). Their tales are maybe a few of the greatest (and earliest) examples of hacking at its most interesting.

This e-book is superior, giving insights into a few of the first hackers and hacker tradition. It was one of many inspirations for the Safety Historical past dialogue and the Hacker Tradition phase. I can’t say sufficient constructive issues about this e-book; I’ve been immersed in hacker tradition for nearly 20 years and never solely did this e-book precisely describe and seize what hacking actually was and is at present, and I even discovered a couple of issues about hacker tradition alongside the way in which.


As new individuals enter our area I imagine it is necessary they perceive the unique that means of the time period “hacker” (and “hacking”). They have to imagine that it’s okay to be a hacker and that the time period doesn’t doom them to be a felony. The intent of the hacker is without doubt one of the defining traits that can assist individuals differentiate criminals from these with ethics and morals. The podcast phase talked about on this article can be useful to know features of hacker tradition and a information to defining the traits which are usually attributed to somebody who’s a hacker.

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