Three Families of Pirates

One can distinguish three families of pirates:


Hacktivists are groups or individuals who act to defend an upright cause or an ideology such as the free access to information, anti-racism, the Zapatista movement, and so forth. The main idea in Hacktivism revolves around the principle of electronic civil disobedience. Experts agree that it was individuals belonging to this category of pirates who initiated the recent attacks on sites that epitomize the mercantilism of the Internet (Amazon, Yahoo, e-Bay et al.). Another common practice of Hacktivists is to spread viruses in the computer systems of major online commercial or ideological enemies.


Gentlemen are computer geniuses whose aim is to perform amazing feats. This corresponds to the true meaning of a hacker, as real hackers do not have any malicious intentions. They only hack into computer systems to show their skills and enjoy 15 minutes of glory among their peers. Feats of hacker challenge are often signed with a pseudonym. Some hackers, known as the "white hats," even warn their victims of the defect of their systems. Home page hacking is one of the most common challenges among Gentlemen hackers.


Mercenaries are computer pirates who spy, spread viruses, and intercept credit card information. Some act for organizations or government agencies spying on other companies and foreign governments. Other mercenaries work for their own sake, asking for ransom, initiating credit card fraud, or blackmailing. Experts agree that they constitute a minority within the hacker community. They are divided into several categories:

  • Crackers use programs to break into computer systems.
  • Carders hack into computer systems at financial institutions.
  • Phreakers strive to use the phone for free.


Hackers do not like to be considered as crackers. So, beware not to confuse these families. Retaliation after defamation on hackers may dangerously affect your hard drive

Back to top

Guitard, T. (Feb. 10, 2000). Les trois grandes familles de pirates. Libération, Sec. Mutlimedia.

Copyright © 2000 SargassoNet. All rights reserved.
Last revised April 16, 2000