To Standard Newspapers Editor

Dear Editor,

I refer to your headline article, Nasty cyber wars as Kalonzo website is hackeddated Thursday the 22nd of February 2006. In that article, you have mistakenly misused the terms ‘hacker’ and ‘hacking’. You refer to hackers as intelligent computer programmers or idle, often malicious, people with administrator privileges. In your news story, you give the impression that hacking is wrong, malicious and even criminal. This is simply scandalous!

The terms hacker and hacking have been given a bad name by the media, thus giving all an impression of how little many people know about hacking. This has created a definition controversy worldwide. In actual fact, hacking is not bad or evil at all. It is good and even necessary. Hacking is the desire to fully understand something. A “computer hacker,” then, is someone who lives and breathes computers, who knows all about computers, who can get a computer to do anything. Equally important, though, is the hacker’s attitude. ( Real hackers live by certain hacker ethics. From, these are:

  • the belief that information-sharing is a powerful positive good, and that it is an ethical duty of hackers to share their expertise by writing free software and facilitating access to information and computing resources wherever possible; and/or
  • the belief that system cracking for fun and exploration is ethically acceptable as long as the hacker commits no theft, vandalism, or breach of confidentiality.

Hackers built the Internet. Hackers made the Unix operating system what it is today. Hackers run Usenet. Hackers make the World Wide Web work. The world needs hackers.

There is another group of people who loudly call themselves hackers, but aren’t. These are people (mainly adolescent males) who get a kick out of breaking into computers and phreaking the phone system. Real hackers call these people ‘crackers’ and want nothing to do with them. Real hackers mostly think crackers are lazy, irresponsible, and not very bright, and object that being able to break security doesn’t make you a hacker any more than being able to hotwire cars makes you an automotive engineer. Unfortunately, many journalists and writers have been fooled into using the word ‘hacker’ to describe crackers; this irritates real hackers no end. (

Those who defaced the websites decribed in your news story are not hackers but crackers. Their act was not hacing but cracking!

Additional Resources


  1. I think editors at an established institution like the standard should do their homework!! (also, this is an entry towards that ipod)

  2. I think in all aspects, every word here has been misused much like the article itself.

    I think that article is a clear demonstration of how little Kenyan politicians understand the Internet.

    That article also further demonstrates a poor News Editor or writer who doesn’t or didn’t take time to research on what HACKING or what exactly happened to those websites in order for them to be re-routed

    I see a case of mistaken identity and probably impersonating where someone created a website with a different URL to fool a few and then mis direct.. either way I felt that the article lacked weight…

    HACKERS – In Kenya, sure…. They are there / Programmers / Developers / Coders… But these developers if any who are in Kenya don’t have time to perform any of the proposed acts…

    How about our government or even top officials take time to understand where or what technology really is and where it is headed…

  3. I definitely agree with you a hundred percent, Leo. The Standard did a shobby job.
    Our politicians have websites that they know nothing about, really.
    It’s a real shame.

  4. crazyblackkenyanwizard says:

    Hi there! i totally agree with u about the hacking issue. I think we should all unite(i.e all those underground hackers) and make a front for us to be heard.

  5. That’s a great idea – let’s educate our friendly newspaper editors, and others, on what it really means to be a hacker. 😉


  1. […] course it is not really “hacking” (here’s why) – it is more of “defacement”. Regardless, Idd Salim has a post up that analyses […]

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