This node will soon be followed by a Hacking How To
, with more practical information. The purpose of this write-up is merely to define
Hacking, aside from its computer denotations, is also known as "Trespassing", "Recreational Trespassing","Breaking and Entering" (or, simply, "B&E"), "Spelunking" (or "Urban Spelunking"), and "Crawling". I'm sure there are as many euphemisms as there are Hacking Crews, but these are ones that appear to be common parlance. "Trespassing" and "B&E" are also legal terms, but are generally used by hackers with a sense of disdain or irony. The activity will be referred to as hacking henceforth.
To hack is to gain clandestine, unauthorised access to public or private property of any sort. Oftentimes, this means buildings, tunnels, bridges, or other such structures common to the urban landscape. It can also mean fenced-in, or otherwise obstructed or off-limits natural areas, although merely strolling into a forbidden zone doesn't really count.
As best as I can tell, the term hacking began at MIT, and that's actually where I got my real start. It was a good place to learn, having a hacking culture in place (from whence I learned hacking ethics and some hacking technique), being somewhat tolerant of the practice, and most importantly, being a huge campus of many, many buildings of varied shapes, sizes, uses, and levels of security, as well as being almost completely interconnected by tunnels.
Hacking by definition is not malicious (hence "B&E" being used ironically by hackers), despite usually being illegal. It is driven by thrill-seeking, curiousity, or simply the desire to surmount obstacles. Plus you feel 31337 as hell when you pull it off. Many hackers are punks, (or punx), anarchists, or another flavor of subversive commie pinko faggot scum for whom fighting against "property" is an attraction as well. However, most are reasonable enough to know that undetected (ideally) clandestine infiltrations by a small number of people who leave no sign behind are not going to smash the state anytime soon, and just say such things for fun.
Hacking can be as simple as an impulsive, solo recon of a fenced alleyway, or as complex as a role-specific multi-member team infiltrating a guarded, alarmed building using ropes, tools, flashlights, subterfuge, and ninja outfits (or preconcealed caches of the same), according to a carefully researched and plotted plan.