In computing, a hacker is any highly skilled computer expert capable of breaking into computer systems and networks using bugs and exploits.
Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating a mathematical sequence of steps known as an algorithm — e.g. through computers.
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Depending on the field of computing it has slightly different meanings, and in some contexts has controversial moral and ethical connotations.
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In its original sense, the term refers to a person in any one of the communities and hacker subcultures:
Subculture, a concept from the academic fields of sociology and cultural studies, is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles.
Hacker culture, an idea derived from a community of enthusiast computer programmers and systems designers, in the 1960s around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Tech Model Railroad Club and MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is a research institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology formed by the 2003 merger of the Laboratory for Computer Science and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
The hacker culture is a subculture of individuals who enjoy the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming limitations of software systems to achieve novel and clever outcomes.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, often cited as one of the world's most prestigious universities.
The hobbyist home computing community, focusing on hardware in the late 1970s and on software in the 1980s/1990s.
Later, this would go on to encompass many new definitions such as art, and Life hacking.
Life hack is any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life.
This primarily concerns unauthorized remote computer break-ins via communication networks such as the Internet, but also includes those who debug or fix security problems, and the morally ambiguous Grey hats.
The term "grey hat", alternatively spelled as "greyhat" or "gray hat", refers to a computer hacker or computer security expert who may sometimes violate laws or typical ethical standards, but does not have the malicious intent typical of a black hat hacker.
Grey hats are hackers who are neither good nor bad, and often include people who hack 'for fun' or to 'troll'.
Black hats are hackers with malicious intentions, and steal, exploit, and sell data.
They are usually motivated by personal gain.
White hats are hackers employed with the efforts of keeping data safe from other hackers by looking for loopholes and hackable areas.
This type of hacker typically gets paid quite well, and receives no jail time due to the consent of the company that hired them.