What Is A “Hack”?

Rick Reilly. (Sorry, that’s *who* is a hack.) But, Adam Penenberg has a great article at Fast Company about the increasingly amorphous definition of “hacking”: it can cover everything from social engineering to Denial of Service attacks to SQL injection attacks to cyberweapons. Penenberg doesn’t have much in the way of alternative definition, but he nicely documents the problems with lumping disparate computer disruptions under the same moniker. (I have the same objection to the term cybersecurity.) My own flip definition has two parts:

  1. Did you write new code?
  2. Did you use this code to get unauthorized access on someone else’s system?

If the answer to both is “Yes,” it’s hacking. If not, you’re probably a script kiddie, or tech support.

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