The term so popular today appeared in the late 1970s. In 1980, the journal Psychology Today published an article “The Hacker Papers” (Hacker’s Notes), which discussed the problem of computer addiction.
In 1982, the American fantasy film “Tron” was released, in which the main character calls himself a hacker and intends to penetrate the company’s computer system. The plot of the film “War Games”, released a year later, is built around an attack by a teenager on the computer network of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). This fantastic tape presented hackers as a threat to national security.
“A group of young hackers infiltrated the computer systems of the United States and Canada.”
It soon turned out that these feature films anticipated real events: in the same year, a group of young hackers penetrated the computer systems of the United States and Canada. Even the networks of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as well as Security Pacific Bank computers were affected. After a while, Newsweek magazine published an article with a photo of one of the group members, and in the text of the article the word “hacker” was used in a negative way, which was the first such case among the leading media.
Then Congress stepped in, passing a number of legislative acts that established penalties for computer crimes. After that, throughout the 1980s, hacker groups began to form in the United States and beyond, joined by computer specialists pursuing a variety of goals – some of these groups were quite harmless, but others were dangerous. They carried out effective attacks, hacked the computers of state institutions and private companies, which led to tougher anti-hacking legislation, high-profile arrests and court sentences. However, the phenomenon of hacking has become an integral part of popular culture and firmly entrenched in the public consciousness, which has been reflected in numerous films, books and articles by journalists.
If you are interested in the detailed history of hacking up to the appearance of terrorist hacker groups and state hackers who are out there these days, please click here.