When you think of hacking, maybe you envision someone malicious in a dark room, breaking into government or corporate websites to expose private information to the world. You might think of common code-focused hacks, hacktivist groups like Anonymous (NSFW), or maybe even the 414s from back in the 1980s. These images aren’t incorrect; however, they are just one side of the hacking world.
To quote Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “the word ‘hacker’ has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers. In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done.”
Hacking is neither malevolent nor mischievous at its core. You could argue any creative-type thinking on his or her feet is a hacker. We hear about “life hacks” all of the time. It’s even been argued that Ben Franklin was one of the greatest hackers in American history. These aren’t scary ideas. Hacking computer code doesn’t have to be either.
The Hacker Way
So the next time you hear the word “hacker,” there’s really no reason to squirm. Yes, you need to be thoughtful about secure checkouts and where you share your private information online—just as you should be anywhere else. Yes, there are “black hat” hackers out there doing things we don’t even want to think about. However, not all hackers are the evil-intentioned kind.
Some hackers might just be out to save the world—or at least their tiny slice of it.