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The Hacker Manifesto

Posted by Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC on August 6, 2009

Since Black Hat USA(Presentations available here) and Defcon 17 concluded a week ago, I found it fitting to post here the classic, “Hacker Manifesto.” This comes from Phrack Magazine’s Volume One, Issue 7, Phile 3 of 10 originally entitled, “The Conscience of a Hacker” by The Mentor and written on Jan 8, 1986.


The Hacker Manifesto

by
+++The Mentor+++
Written 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.

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3 Responses to “The Hacker Manifesto”

  1. bd said

    FYI, rebarz99 also posted this on his blog several years ago at http://rebarz99.blogspot.com/2005/07/as-time-passes-by.html
    He also included a different version. I’ll post it here. What’s interesting is that you have similar wordings for your into. Perhaps rebz has grown up and found a better outlet for his skills? 😉

    It happened again today. Another one sold out, sacrificing their dreams to the corporate security machine.

    No one believes in a cause anymore.

    Another potential computer genius was relegated to an existence of nothing more than than a 9-5 cubicle-dwelling promotional tool.

    Damn yuppies, putting money before discovery.

    Another kid was sentenced today for searching for a way to understand the world. Convicted and imprisoned, not because of what he did, but because of what others thought he could do.

    Damn Whitehats – Fear keeps them in business.

    The public, believing anything it hears from “reputed experts”. Screaming for blood. Looking for something to blame for their lost hope. Their lost ability to seek out new knowledge. Fear consumes them. They cannot let go of their uncertainty and doubt because there is no meaning. They seek to destroy explorers, outlaws, curiosity seekers because they are told too. They are told these people that seek information are evil. Individuality is evil. Judgment should be made based upon a moral
    standard set in conformity rather than resistance. Lives are ruined in the name of corporate profit and information is hoarded as a commodity.

    I had an awakening. I saw the security industry for what is really is. I saw the corruption, the lies, the deceit, the extortion of protection money in the form of subscription services and snake-oil security consultants.

    I wanted to know, I wanted to understand, I wanted to go further than the rest. I never want to be held down by contracts and agreements.

    You say I should grow up. You say I should find better things to do with my time. You say I should put my talent to better use. You’re saying I should fall in line with the other zombies and forget everything I believe in and shun those with my drive, my curiosity, tell them it’s not worth it, deny them of the greatest journey they will ever experience in their lives.

    I am not a blackhat. The term is insulting, it implies I am the opposite of you. You think i seek to defeat security, when I seek something greater. I will write exploits, travel through networks, explore where you are afraid to go. I will not put myself in the spotlight and release destructive tools to the public to attract business. I will not feed the fear and hysteria created by the security industry to increase stock prices. I can, and will, code and hack and find out everything I can for the same reasons I did years ago.

    I am a Hacker, dont try to understand me, you lost all hope of that when you crossed the line. You fail to see the lies and utter simplicity behind the computer security industry. Once, you may have shared my ideals. You fail to see the fact that security is a maintenance job. Youve given up hope for something better. You fail to see yourself as worthless, fueling an industry whose cumulative result is nothing. I
    dont hate you, I dont even really care about you – If you try to stop me, you will fail, because I do this out of love — you do it for money.

    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 belive it is for our own
    good, yet we’re the ciminals.

    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 can’t stop me, and you
    certainly can’t stop us all.

  2. Jaime Raphael Licauco, CISSP, GSEC said

    Thanks for the post, and I found it uncanny that we both used the word ‘fitting’ for our intro 🙂

  3. ocean said

    so.. much.. hate..

    isn’t there a better way for hackers to exist..?

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