In the early days of computing, the word "hacker" meant people that were engrossed with computer technology. Now the word "hacker" means people who break into other peoples computers without permission. Hackers can be good or bad. Hackers may be teenagers, adults, or disgruntled employees. "Cracker", another word for hacker, refers to people who want to destroy the information that you have or own. Hackers can be bad, but there are some good ones. The point is, the current use of the word hacker is "bad." Kevin Mitnik is known as the most notorious hacker. He was convicted of many crimes, and spent most of his life hiding from the authorities. About Kevin Mitnik
Many hacking cases have been prosecuted recently. The jail sentences vary from 6 to 68 months. If you do the crime you will do the time.
If you are interested in learning about computers and how they work that is good, but make sure that what you do is legal. Many programs that crackers use were written to do useful things, but have been misused to do bad things. To learn more about what is considered computer crime visit these sites:
If you feel your computer has been hacked, do not try to retaliate. Your target might be completely innocent and just another victim of the hacker. Here are guides to apprehending hackers.