In computing, the phrase crack is used to mean the act of breaking into a computer system. The term was coined in the mid-80s by hackers who wanted to differentiate themselves from individuals whose sole purpose is to sneak through security systems. Whereas crackers sole aim is to break into secure systems, hackers are more interested in gaining knowledge about computer systems and possibly using this knowledge for playful pranks. Although hackers still argue that there's a big difference between what they do and what crackers do, the mass media has failed to understand the distinction, so the two terms -- hack and crack-- are often used interchangeably.
Crack also means to copy commercial software illegally by breaking (cracking) the various copy-protection and registration techniques being used.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
This chat guide lists more than 1,460 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate today's texting lingo. Read More »SEO Dictionary
From keyword analysis to backlinks and Google search engine algorithm updates, our search engine optimization glossary lists 85 SEO terms you need... Read More »Slideshow: History of Microsoft Operating Systems
Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems for personal computers. In this article we look at the history of Microsoft operating... Read More »
Computer architecture provides an introduction to system design basics for most computer science students. Read More »Network Fundamentals Study Guide
Networking fundamentals teaches the building blocks of modern network design. Learn different types of networks, concepts, architecture and... Read More »Java Basics, Part 1
Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »