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What Does Cracker Mean?

A cracker is an individual who performs cracking, or the process of breaking into a computer or a network system. A cracker might be performing cracking for malicious activities, profit, for certain nonprofit intentions or causes, or just for a challenge. Some crackers break into a network system deliberately to point out the flaws involved in that network’s security system. In most cases, crackers aim to gain access to confidential data, get hold of free software applications, or carry out malicious damage to files.


Techopedia Explains Cracker

Bill Landreth, often known as "the Cracker", was a famous cracker and was a part of the Inner Circle, a unique cracking club active during the early 1980s. Landreth identifies five distinct kinds of crackers kinds of crackers:

  • Novice
    These entry-level crackers tend to be only 12 to 14 years old. They usually comprehend cracking as mischievous and fun; in their eyes, it is mainly play.
  • Student
    These crackers follow the practice of 1970s MIT students. They usually have a deep interest in computers and programming. Their desire for illegal computer access is normally fairly harmless.
  • Tourist
    Tourists are yet another kind of relatively harmless cracker and are mainly looking for a challenge. They break into systems to see if they can, then log off. Tourists can certainly be dangerous if they pass details to thieves or malicious crackers about how to crack a specific system.
  • Crasher
    Crashers’ main objective is to satisfy their desire to boast by bringing systems to a crashing halt. This helps them to make their mark among their victims. Crashers usually make themselves known to the victim, although they keep their personal identities secret.
  • Thief
    This type of cracker is the real criminal. The thieves may make use of bribery or blackmail to obtain the required information to gain access to computer systems or networks. Thieves usually do cracking for monetary gain. Thieves tend to be linked to electronic sabotage and espionage. In addition, they are considered the most professional of all the crackers.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.