Nature works by feedback loops. Action A causes response B which in turn makes action A modify itself in order to adapt. Hacking serves that same role in our society.
This article — which is almost certainly a “fluff” piece, meaning that it’s either paid for or traded in kind for services or favors — nonetheless captures the public imagination with this scene:
Maiffret, 28, wearing hipster eyeglasses and a black T-shirt, and with one eyebrow pierced, focuses on the Vaio laptop on his desk.
It takes just a few keystrokes to penetrate the auto dealer’s network. Maiffret runs some software. He uses it to locate the dealer’s main computer server and to give himself administrator-level access.
He now has the run of the system.
“That took just 60 seconds,” Maiffret says, grinning. “And there was nothing abnormal about this client’s system. This is how it is in most cases.”
This is what people think of hacking as, although he’s probably using more of what we’d call a “known exploit” probably in a lazy implementation of the off-the-shelf networking software.
What’s good about this is that we see how hacking creates a feedback loop which forces society to adapt to its own technology. And I think we can all agree that more responsible use of technology is a worthy goal in itself.