Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Hacking Manifesto

The Conscience of a Hacker (a.k.a. The Hacker Manifesto) is a small essay written January 8, 1986 by a hacker who went by the handle (or pseudonym) of The Mentor (born Loyd Blankenship). It was written after the author's arrest.

It is considered a cornerstone of hacker culture, and it gives some insight into the psychology of early hackers. It is said to have shaped the hacker community's view of itself and its motivations. The Manifesto states that hackers choose to hack because it is a way for them to learn, and because they are often frustrated and bored in school. It also expresses the satori of a hacker realizing his potential in the realm of computers.

To this day, the Manifesto acts as a guideline to hackers across the globe, especially those new to the field. It serves as an ethical foundation for hacking, and asserts that there is a point to hacking that supersedes selfish desires to exploit or harm other people (like black hat crackers/hackers), and that technology should be used to expand our horizons and try to keep the world free.

\/\The Conscience of a Hacker/\/

+++The Mentor+++

Written on 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 techno brain, 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.


  1. very catchy..but in the end, isn't he just trying to glorify something illegal ?

  2. He's not actually.

    What he tries to convey, holds ground in the present scenario. He is talking about making information accessible to all, and that too for free. That is what he is striving for. But some people don't want that happening and hence label him as a Hacker.

    It is interesting to note that there is nothing as an "ethical hacker". It's the cracker who does the unethical things. A Hacker is always ethical.