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Definition: Traditionally, a computer enthusiast who enjoys learning everything about a computer system or network and pushing the system to its highest possible level of performance through clever programming. Hackers do not necessarily engage in unauthorized computer access (cracking) or other illegal activities. In the press and popular usage, hackers are often equated with computer criminals, to the consternation of hackers and those with some knowledge of the computer’s history.
Source: Pfaffenberger, Bryan. Webster's new world computer dictionary. London: Wiley, 2003. Print.