REUTERS/Dado RuvicAn infamous short essay titled "The Conscience of a Hacker" — better known as the "Hacker Manifesto" — just turned 30 years old.
On Jan. 8, 1986, the essay, written by a hacker known as The Mentor, was published in the hacker zine Phrack.
Today, it's considered one of the most famous written descriptions of the prevailing hacker philosophy.
"This is our world now. The world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud," wrote The Mentor, later identified as Loyd Blankenship. "We explore, and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge, and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias, and you call us criminals."
In his closing, he wrote: "Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for."
You can find the text on plenty of hacking-related websites and in pop culture, to include it being excerpted in the 1995 film "Hackers." It even made an appearance on a poster in Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room in the 2010 film "The Social Network."
At the time, Blankenship was seemingly educating his fellow hackers on who they were, defining their technical curiosity and cementing their outsider status. But they're no longer outsiders, CSO's Steve Ragan wrote last year.
"They're cultural heroes, leaders, and business giants. They're media rock stars, living in the limelight as the world is reminded daily about the serious need for information security, and they're the only ones who can provide it."
You can watch Blankenship read his essay below, or read it in full here.