Things have changed a little since the 80s and 90s.
And that very much includes the Internet which is more than a little different than it is today.
Even though the Internet is still considered a very open space, it is nothing like how it was, even ten years ago.
It was hard for big business to take the online world seriously.
They saw that it could help their business, but only by a little percentage point spread in their margins.
They had no idea that it would become the behemoth that it is today.
Since there was a huge gap of interest left by the major corporations, groups of unified hackers took up the slack.
They were able to learn the ins and outs of network security by continually pushing the legal limits.
Now these same people are part of the infrastructure that they use to rebel against.
Life changes when you get older and start to gather different responsibilities.
When you meet a girl that you like and then you start to have children, your sense of rebelliousness starts to fall to the wayside.
All night sessions trying to break into some web site on the other side of the world, start to be replaced by all night coding sessions of some business app that your boss ordered you to do.
Elite Hacker Begat Code Monkey
You turn from an elite hacker to a code monkey.
This is not the case for everyone from the scene.
Some hackers decided that they could turn their passion into profits.
They would either form their own businesses or go to work for someone in the information security field.
This way, they could have the best of both worlds.
Not only do they still get to hack but they are also getting paid for it as well.
Who could ask for anything more?
Now you don’t have to hide in the shadows when you are doing what you like to do.
If you are lucky, you will hopefully get paid to speak at conferences and if you are good enough, you start to gain a following of people who are interested in your works.
Other hackers decided to go another route all together and continue their illegal lifestyle.
This use of their computer ability to commit crime and profit off of them led to the word hacker having a negative connotation to it.
They turned something that was, most of the time, just harmless fun and perverted it.
Now when people hear the words “hacker”, they think of criminals trying to steal their money and personal identity.
The hackers of yesteryear have taken decidedly different paths.
It will be interesting to see how the newer generation of hackers that grew up with a commercialized Internet turn out.