Gaining unauthorized access to computer systems to commit a crime, such as digging into the code to make a copy-protected program run and flooding Internet sites, thus denying service to legitimate users. During a cracking exploit, important information can be erased or corrupted. Websites can be deliberately defaced. Unauthorized access is typically done by decrypting a password or bypassing a copy-protection scheme. Around 1985, the term “cracker” was coined by hackers as an attempt to defend themselves against journalistic misuse of the word “hacker.” An attempt around 1981 to establish “worm” in this sense on Usenet was largely a failure.
Schell, B.H. and Martin, C. Contemporary World Issues Series: Cybercrime: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004.