Public Works and Government Services Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links

Search TERMIUM Plus®
To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

hacker, cracker

Originally, the term hacker referred simply to a skilled and inventive computer user with an extensive knowledge of computer operating systems.

  • It seems that the best hackers come from the University of Waterloo and go straight into highly paid jobs in the high-tech sector.

However, for many years hacker has been used in the mainstream press to refer to someone who uses advanced computer skills to break into computers or networks without permission.

  • The hackers were caught after they discussed their attacks in online forums.

The preferred term in computer circles for a malicious hacker is cracker. A cracker is a hacker who breaks (or cracks) the security of computer systems in order to access, steal or destroy sensitive information.

  • Not only are crackers a nuisance, they can be a danger to the worldwide economy.