The use of the term hacker used to be derogatory, conjuring up images of someone cackling like a Witch, hunched over a computer as they steal some poor unsuspecting fool’s bank details. This is changing though, and the present use of the word is much broader and less critical.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about Aaron Swartz, and many see him as “a hacker for good”. He was greatly revered and respected in the Internet world and considered a programming genius by many.
Also today many Internet companies offer prizes to hackers who can break their security systems, so that they can then repair the weaknesses, all done more or less in secrecy obviously.