The word 'hacker' is used in two different but associated
ways: for some, a hacker is merely a computer enthusiast of any kind,
who loves working with the beasties for their own sake, as opposed to
operating them in order to enrich a company or research project --or
to play games.
This book uses the word in a more restricted sense: hacking is a
recreational and educational sport. It consists of attempting to make
unauthorised entry into computers and to explore what is there. The
sport's aims and purposes have been widely misunderstood; most
hackers are not interested in perpetrating massive frauds, modifying
their personal banking, taxation and employee records, or inducing
one world super-power into inadvertently commencing Armageddon in the
mistaken belief that another super-power is about to attack it. Every
hacker I have ever come across has been quite clear about where the
fun lies: it is in developing an understanding of a system and
finally producing the skills and tools to defeat it. In the vast
majority of cases, the process of 'getting in' is much more
satisfying than what is discovered in the protected computer files.
In this respect, the hacker is the direct descendant of the phone
phreaks of fifteen years ago. Phone phreaking became interesting as
intra-nation and international subscriber trunk dialling was
introduced, but when the London-based phreak finally chained his way
through to Hawaii, he usually had no one there to speak to except the
local weather service or American Express office, to confirm that the
desired target had indeed been hit. One of the earliest of the
present generation of hackers, Susan Headley, only 17 when she began
her exploits in California in 1977, chose as her target the local
phone company and, with the information extracted from her hacks, ran
all over the telephone network. She 'retired' four years later, when... [continues]
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