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Hacking, while officially considered a criminal act in most cases (social terrorism), is not always malicious or harmful. Government agencies and large corporations may hire former hackers to help them protect their networks, intranets, and security systems. Inversely, these same organizations may employ them to hack into these areas of other organizations (corporate espionage).
The government agencies who hire former hackers usually do so in return for the exoneration of the hackers' past crimes.
Hackers are responsible for the creation of the internet, open-source software (such as Linux, and it's applications), run Usenet, and sometimes work as software troubleshooters. Those who hack phone systems and other people's computers are not considered hackers by the hacker community. They are instead called crackers. Crackers are also responsible for software cracking (removal of security features), and the creation of malware (adware, viruses, trojans, etc.).
On Criminal MindsEdit
A/V tech Penelope Garcia is officially labeled by the FBI as the world's most dangerous hacker. Her skills have served the BAU well in almost every episode. She was hired in 2004 in return for exoneration of her previous illegal activities. Other hackers included on the show are:
- Randall Garner ("The Fisher King, part 1" and "The Fisher King, part 2")
- Tobias Hankel ("The Big Game" and "Revelations")
- Kevin Lynch (recurring character since "Penelope")
- Robert Johnson ("The Internet Is Forever")
- Matthew Downs ("Hit" and "Run")
- Phillip Connor ("#6")
- John Curtis ("The Silencer", "The Apprenticeship", "Magnificent Light", "Zugzwang", "Broken", "Carbon Copy", "Brothers Hotchner", and "The Replicator")
- Axel Greiner ("Final Shot")
- Shane Wyeth ("The Black Queen")
- John Nichols ("The Black Queen")
- Sam Russell ("The Black Queen")
- Hayman Vasher ("A Thousand Suns")
- William Pratt ("Hashtag")
- Russ Montgomery ("Beyond Borders")
- Peter Lewis ("Mr. Scratch")
- Steven Levy, the first official hacker and "coiner" of the phrase
- Bill Gates is sometimes referred to as a hacker, as his original operating system was based on code written by Xerox in the early 80s
- Dennis Ritchie, one of the inventors of UNIX, and the creator of the C programming language
- Kevin Poulsen, the notorious '80s black-hat hacker
- Albert Gonzalez
- Vladimir Levin
- Robert Tappan Morris, released a computer worm that infected over 6,000 computer systems
- Michael Calce, MafiaBoy
- David Smith, author of an infamous email virus called Melissa
- Adrian Lamo, The Homeless Hacker
- George Hotz, geohot, hacked into the PlayStation network and stole personal information from over some 77 million users
- Jonathan James
- Gary McKinnon