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cracking: n.

[very common] The act of breaking into a computer system; what a cracker does. Contrary to widespread myth, this does not usually involve some mysterious leap of hackerly brilliance, but rather persistence and the dogged repetition of a handful of fairly well-known tricks that exploit common weaknesses in the security of target systems. Accordingly, most crackers are incompetent as hackers. This entry used to say 'mediocre', but the spread of rootkit and other automated cracking has depressed the average level of skill among crackers.