The Conscience of a Hacker (also known as The Hacker Manifesto) is a small essay written January 8, 1986 by a hacker who went by the handle (or pseudonym) of The Mentor (born Loyd Blankenship). It was written after the author’s arrest, and first published in the underground hacker ezine Phrack in Volume One .
The Hacker’s Manifesto
Written almost 15 years ago by The Mentor, this should be taped up next to everyone’s monitor to remind them who we are, this rang true with Hackers, but it now rings truth to the internet generation. So here goes.
The following was written shortly after my arrest…
\/\The Conscience of a Hacker/\/
Written on January 8, 1986
Another one got caught today, it’s all over the papers. “Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal”, “Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering”…
Damn kids. They’re all alike.
But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950’s technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?
I am a hacker, enter my world…
Mine is a world that begins with school… I’m smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me…
Damn underachiever. They’re all alike.
I’m in junior high or high school. I’ve listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. “No, Ms. Smith, I didn’t show my work. I did it in my head…”
Damn kid. Probably copied it. They’re all alike.
I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me…
Or feels threatened by me…
Or thinks I’m a smart ass…
Or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here…
Damn kid. All he does is play games. They’re all alike.
And then it happened… a door opened to a world… rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict’s veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought… a board is found. “This is it… this is where I belong…”
I know everyone here… even if I’ve never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again… I know you all…
Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They’re all alike…
You bet your ass we’re all alike… we’ve been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak… the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We’ve been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.
This is our world now… the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals.
We explore… and you call us criminals.
We seek after knowledge… and you call us criminals.
We exist without skin color, without nationality, without
religious bias… and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.
Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.
I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.
~~~~~ Mentor ~~~~~
The Ethics of Hacking
written by Dissident
I went up to a college this summer to look around, see if it was where I wanted to go and whatnot. The guide asked me about my interests, and when I said computers, he started asking me about what systems I had, etc. And when all that was done, the first thing he asked me was “Are you a hacker?”
Well, that question has been bugging me ever since. Just what exactly is a hacker? A REAL hacker? For those who don’t know better, the news media (and even comic strips) have blown it way out of proportion… A hacker, by wrong-definition, can be anything from a computer-user to someone who destroys everything they can get their evil terminals into. And the idiotic schmucks of the world who get a Commodore Vic-20 and a 300 baud modem (heh, and a tape drive!) for Christmas haven’t helped hackers’ reputations a damn bit. They somehow get access to a really cool system and find some files on hacking… Or maybe a friendly but not-too-cautious hacker helps the loser out, gives him a few numbers, etc. The schmuck gets onto a system somewhere, lucks up and gets in to some really cool information or programs, and deletes them. Or some of the more greedy ones capture it, delete it, and try to sell it to Libya or something. Who gets the blame?
The true hackers…that’s who. So what is a true hacker? Firstly, some people may not think I am entirely qualified to say, mainly because I don’t consider myself a hacker yet. I’m still learning the ropes about it, but I think I have a pretty damn good idea of what a true hacker is. If I’m wrong, let one correct me…
True hackers are intelligent, they have to be. Either they do really great in school because they have nothing better to do, or they don’t do so good because school is terribly boring. And the ones who are bored aren’t that way because they don’t give a shit about learning anything. A true hacker wants to know everything. They’re bored because schools teach the same dull things over and over and over, nothing new, nothing challenging. True hackers are curious and patient. If you aren’t, how can you work so very hard hacking away at a single system for even one small PEEK at what may be on it? A true hacker DOESN’T get into the system to kill everything or to sell what he gets to someone else. True hackers want to learn, or want to satisfy their curiosity, that’s why they get into the system. To search around inside of a place they’ve never been, to explore all the little nooks and crannies of a world so unlike the boring cess-pool we live in. Why destroy something and take away the pleasure you had from someone else? Why bring down the whole world on the few true hackers who aren’t cruising the phone lines with malicious intent? True hackers are disgusted at the way things are in this world. All the wonderful technology of the world costs three arms and four legs to get these days. It costs a fortune to call up a board in an adjoining state! So why pay for it? To borrow something from a file I will name later, why pay for what could be “dirt cheap if it wasn’t run by profiteering gluttons”? Why be forced, due to lack of the hellacious cash flow it would require to call all the great places, to stay around a bunch of schmuck losers in your home town? Calling out and entering a system you’ve never seen before are two of the most exhilarating experiences known to man, but it is a pleasure that could not be enjoyed were it not for the ability to phreak…
True hackers are quiet. I don’t mean they talk at about .5 dB, I mean they keep their mouths shut and don’t brag. The number one killer of those the media would have us call hackers is bragging. You tell a friend, or you run your mouth on a board, and sooner or later people in power will find out what you did, who you are, and you’re gone…I honestly don’t know what purpose this file will serve, maybe someone somewhere will read it, and know the truth about hackers. Not the lies that the ignorant spread. To the true hackers out there, I hope I am portraying what you are in this file… If I am not, then I at least am saying what I think a true hacker should be. And to those wanna-be’s out there who like the label of “HACKER” being tacked onto them, grow up, would ya?