Why I’m right to use the word ‘hacker’, and will carry on using it

Uh-oh. I’ve really annoyed Swapnil Bhartiya.

He’s written a blog post at Katonda which, amongst other things, takes me to task for referring to cybercriminals as “hackers”.

Bhartiya’s complaint is one that many in the IT field share – that the media has taken the word “hacker”, which used to mean simply someone who was a computer enthusiast, and now use it to mean someone who breaks into computer systems, writes malware or causes other forms of online mischief.

I have some sympathy with Bhartiya’s pedantry (after all, I’m the chap who blogged at length about how we should all say “Trojan horses” rather than “Trojans”), but he and other zealots for the preservation of the older definition of the word “hacker” are missing one fact.

The world has…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.