Hackermindset Explained

Hackermindset Explained


3 min read

I was researching for a presentation about hacking when I stumbled upon a YouTube video where Mitch Altman explains hacking in a way that just fully resonated with me.

Hacking is mainly associated with exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems, but hacking is so much more!

Although they are often involved, hacking doesn't even have to be about computers!

Hackers are working in a variety of fields, including political, social, and environmental areas. Hacking is about learning and trying new techniques and technologies to build projects and solve problems. It's about having fun and doing what you love.

Overall I'd say hacking is a mindset, a way of living and approaching problems.

Hacking in the Media

Masked man using laptop in dark room points his finger at the camera

Today everything is digital. It's just logical that crimes have become digital too. We used to have names for criminals like thieves and bank robbers. Today they all go by just one word: hacker.

But just because the news calls every criminal using a computer, a hacker doesn't make them that!

Think about it: When somebody cheats in an online game, are they hacking or cheating? Most of them just download an exploit from the internet to ruin the game for everybody else. They didn't hack anything themselves.

Hacker Ethics

Retro Computers

In fact, hacking was never about crime. The following guidelines have been providing a basis for discussion since the 80s, yet they still seem more relevant than ever:

  1. Access to computers - and anything which might teach you something about the way the world really works - should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-On Imperative!
  2. All information should be free.
  3. Mistrust authority - promote decentralization.
  4. Hackers should be judged by their acting, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position.
  5. You can create art and beauty on a computer.
  6. Computers can change your life for the better.
  7. Don't litter other people's data.
  8. Make public data available, protect private data.

Source: https://www.ccc.de/en/hackerethik

Learn more about hacking culture

If this got you interested and you want to learn more about hacking and what hackers really look like, I have a few more videos I recommend you check out:

📺 Inside San Francisco's Anarchist Hackerspace


📺 Hackerspaces Entrepreneurship | Mitch Altman | Talks at Google

📺 All Creatures Welcome EN

And if you want to meet hackers in real life, check out 🔗 hackerspaces.org, where you can find hackerspaces from all around the world!

Video "What Even Is "Hacking"?

As part of my BadUSB hacking course, I made one lesson that also covers this question. You can watch the video here: