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Idaho State University

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Hackers (and Unauthorized Users)
  • Originally, "hacker" referred to a computer enthusiast who spends significant time learning the functions of a computer without the benefit of formal training, and often without the technical manuals, by trying combinations of commands at random to determine their effect. Common usage today is from the press, which uses the word to describe "people who break into" computers for various purposes. (Source: NISTIR 4659). An unauthorized user is anyone (or a process acting on someone's) behalf who attempts to gain access or perform an operation on an information technology system that has not been formally granted access to do so. (Source: Panel of Experts, July 1994)