Understanding Hackers & Hacking

What is a hacker, exactly? What does it mean to hack something? With all the ransomware attacks and election meddling in the headlines, it’s easy to paint all hackers with a broad brush as malicious, self-serving computer criminals. And to be clear, many computer criminals are definitely hackers (some aren’t). But the real definition of hacker, the original notion of hacking itself, is something quite different. Nowhere is this more evident than at DEFCON, one of the world’s largest hacking conferences. I’ve been wanting to go to DEFCON for many years, but finally made my pilgrimage to Las Vegas this year for DEFCON 29. My goal was to document first hand, not just the conference, but the culture and the hackers themselves. Because unlike most trade conferences, DEFCON is really about the attendees and the betterment of their craft. Today’s show is a non-technical exploration of what it means to be a hacker and why you might aspire to be one yourself.

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