Cracker (computing)In general, a cracker in the context of computing is a person who compromises a computer security system without permission of the person operating the system. This can be a person that removes the copy protection code from software (see also software cracking), or a person who uses his or her computing skills to compromise or destroy corporate or private computer files over a network. Crackers' techniques can vary from using advanced programming skills and social engineering to utilizing software developed by others without understanding how the cracking software works. The latter is often referred to as a script kiddie. The term "cracker" seems to have developed in emulation of hacker with an additional connotation of forcible as opposed to clever. They are sometimes described as "black-hat hackers". An alternative term for this meaning is attacker.
See the Jargon File for a view of the history of hacker and hacking.