CHAPTER 15 System hacking: a great idea with a bad reputation

The idea of hacking into something immediately conjures up images of crime and illegal activity. It takes us back to 1980’s science-fiction films where young kids hack into government computer systems and gain unauthorised access to nuclear silos that might start World War III. Maybe your mind jumps to someone doing a rather crappy job at something they’re meant to be a professional at: ‘They’re a real hack’. Whenever we hear the term ‘hacking’ being used to describe a person or an activity, our defences spring into action because we’ve been groomed for so long into thinking that hacking is a bad thing. What we should really be focused on is the hack itself and determining in isolation whether the hack is in fact a good one that takes us, collectively, a few steps forward.

Hacking defined

While the word ‘hacking’ could be used to define a number of behaviours, I’m hoping this definition will open your mind to the good side of hacking from the outset.

Based on this definition it’s fair to say that hacking can be used for good, especially if what we’re hacking is an open system accessible to all and it’s been designed without the end user in mind. Given that we’re living in an environment that’s being redesigned for and by the end user, it’s time we understood ...

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