Monday, October 05, 2009

In 2002, there was a television show released by CBS called Hack. I had never heard of it before, and when I saw on the guide that a show dramatizing hacking was playing, I got excited. Unfortunately, the show has nothing to do with infosec. After watching it for a while, waiting patiently to see some media portrayed hacking, I couldn't figure out what it was about at all. Wikipedia finally clued me in. The show is about a hack, meaning a taxi driver.

I had never heard anyone call a taxi driver a "hack." It turns out that "hack" or "hacking" has quite a few different meanings. In the definition I was hoping to see, "To alter a computer program," was indeed there, but it seems to be missing something. It also means "To mutilate," "To train a falcon," and "To rent a horse by the hour." And surely we hope that the word doesn't just mean "an artist who exploits his or her talents to produce mediocre work for money."

If hacking is the cornerstone of our industry, shouldn't there be a better word for it? Or maybe just better tv shows.


kurt wismer said...

there is a better word - cracking.

Brad said...

Yes, in New York, "Hack" actually means a licensed cab/driver. The license is often referred to as a Hack license, which gives them the privilege to pick up fares anywhere in NYC. One theory is that it derived from the London Hackney Carriage....