As I was looking at humanstxt.org‘s site, I noticed their illustration describing where the humans.txt would be located, listing an example of a root folder. There below the index.html, robots.txt and humans.txt was hackers.txt.

What is a hackers.txt?

Intrigued by this, I started to wonder what it could be, would it be a record or all the successful hacking attempts at the site? Was it instructions to hackers as to how they could inform the site owner about its vulnerabilities?

So I decided to do what I do so often, I “googled” it. Amongst the sites I came accross, one of the most interesting was an article from the March 1990 edition of Harper’s Magazine titled “IS COMPUTER HACKING A CRIME?”

It opened with the following:

The image of the computer hacker drifted into public awareness in the middle Seventies, when reports of Chinese-food-consuming geniuses working compulsively at keyboards began to issue from MIT. Over time, several of these impresarios entered commerce, and the public’s impression of hackers changed: They were no longer nerds but young, millionaire entrepreneurs.

The most recent news reports have given the term a more felonious connotation. Early this year, a graduate student named Robert Morris Jr. went on trial for releasing a computer program known as a worm into the vast Internet system, halting more than 6,000 computers.

Wow – this seems so humorous in contrast to the kind of “attacks” that are prevalent in this day and age.

One of the things I really like is how it distinguishes between hackers and crackers


Originally, a compulsive computer programmer. The word has evolved in meaning over the years. Among computer users, hacker carries a positive connotation, meaning anyone who creatively explores the operations of computer systems. Recently, it has taken on a negative connotation, primarily through confusion with cracker.


A hacker who breaks illegally into computer systems and creates mischief; often used pejoratively. The original meaning of cracker was narrower, describing those who decoded copyright-protection schemes on commercial software products or to modify them; sometimes known as a software pirate.

Even though “Hacker” or “hacking” carries such a negative connotation these days, I would describe myself as a hacker. Not a malicious hacker by any means, yet in contrast to the true hackers out there, I’m still a novice :)

What about the “hackers.txt”?

Sorry, I got sidetracked. I haven’t been able to find any standard for a hackers.txt file – but I really like the idea of having it like a graffiti wall where hackers can sign their name… An unusual guest book I suppose. Any thoughts?



my hackers.txt