Hacking is NOT a Crime is a non-profit organization seeking to raise awareness about the pejorative use of the terms "hacker" and "hacking" throughout the media and popular culture. Specifically, the negative connotation in which the terms are so often associated. Hackers are often vilified and portrayed as evil, menacing, and even threatening individuals.

Because of this, many hackers refrain from publicly disclosing physical and information security vulnerabilities they discover due to fear of legal retaliation. Subsequently, this is creating an increasingly hostile digital frontier due to compromises perpetrated by cybercriminals and threat actors. We therefore advocate state and federal legal reform which provides a safeguard for hackers conducting security research.


Our vision is to become a trusted source of information throughout the global hacker community. Our primary focus is the organizing of advocacy and engagement to support our mission statement.


The hacker culture is one which promotes inclusivity regardless of ability, age, ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. We believe diversity is the best means through which personal growth is achieved and that open-mindedness fosters critical thinking and innovation. We believe order is created through chaos and balance is created through coexistence.


Over the past several decades, the media and popular culture has been using the term "hacker" to describe physical and information security enthusiasts who commit unlawful acts. This is unfortunate, but understandable. Given the esoteric nature of physical and information security, and the profound impact it now has on our everyday lives, it's easy to use the terms synonymously.

Contrary to popular misconception, being a hacker is a lifestyle and mindset. It is not a fashion statement or a movie character. A hacker is simply a curious, outside-the-box thinker who creates unorthodox solutions for everyday problems. The actions and methods by which these problems are solved is called "hacking".

A criminal is one who engages in illegal activities. The actions and methods by which these laws are broken is called "lawbreaking". Regardless of the context or subject matter, once a law is broken the perpetrator is a criminal. Hackers don't engage in unauthorized or unethical activities, cyber criminals do. It is not the knowledge or profession which determines how personas are labeled. It is the means, motive, opportunity, and most importantly the actions, that do. Hacking therefore, is not and cannot be, a crime. It is merely an ethical endeavor of exploration and problem solving.


Join us at these upcoming conference events:                   


Join us at these upcoming virtual events:

» Hacking is NOT a Crime
» DEFCON Ethics Village
» The Many Hats Club


All official HINAC Advocates and HINAC Volunteers are required to review and agree to the following HINAC Core Values:

I believe hacking is not a criminal activity. We don’t go out-of-scope and exploit. I believe hacking is a lifestyle and a state of mind. It is my professional responsibility to represent Information Security in a positive way and conduct hacking with permission at all times. 

I believe the current federal legislation is outdated and requires significant reform. I understand that we work to support and raise awareness to organizations that are redefining and protecting the rights of hackers.

I agree to avoid claiming authority to speak on behalf of HINAC when asked for commentary by external sources. Shall the occasion arise, I will consult with HINAC Leadership before providing a response.

HINAC Advocates must present themselves in a meaningful way. In the event that I would like to engage with an external entity, I will get assistance from at least one other representative of HINAC.

I understand that we work with a wide array of media outlets to change the narrative that is presented and attacking the media is prohibited; all commentary on any issues must be presented in a meaningful, and educational light. I agree to communicate with the press, legislators, or other organizations only when given permission.

I will avoid being disrespectful, especially when representing HINAC. I will be empathetic and attempt to maintain a neutral standpoint when participating in the active resolution of presented issues. Supporting HINAC's mission requires continuous awareness of mislabeling.

I have read the Hacker Manifesto and Hacker Ethic. I agree to and follow the I am the Cavalry's position on disclosure.

If I am employed by a company that does not have a Vulnerability Disclosure Program (VDP), I will recommend Disclose.io as an example of how to get started with vulnerability disclosure policies.

I understand that the usage of "white hat" and "black hat" are not appropriate. As a replacement, I support the following naming alternatives to be used instead to describe these personas:

White Hat

» Hacker
» Ethical hacker
» Professional hacker
» Security researcher

Black Hat

» Attacker
» Criminal
» Cybercriminal
» Malicious actor

I agree that any form of discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated. If a determination is made that I have violated HINAC Core Values and/or misrepresented the HINAC community, I will be removed from HINAC and disassociate any and all titles, badges, etc.


You can support our cause by purchasing swag from our Redbubble shop. All financial proceeds fund our operational expenses which cover administrative, hosting, and sponsorship fees among others. Transparency reports will be provided in accordance with regulatory requirements.

No funds? No problem, spread the word instead!

We suggest our supporters politely encourage authors and speakers who use the term "hacker" in a negative connotation to use the term "cyber criminal" instead. Since "cyber" and "criminal" are descriptive of the illegal activities and are ubiquitous terms with which many are already familiar, it tends to resonate well with the majority of people.  The terms "adversary", "attacker", and "threat actor" also work to a lesser extent. Kindly use the hashtag #HackingIsNotACrime when encountering these situations on social media to raise awareness.


» Step 1: Sign and share our Petition
» Step 2: Tell the Press
»Step 3: Encourage organizations to partner and campaign with us
» Step 4: Contact your representatives to update legislation
» Step 5: Support one or more of our affiliates and partners


We encourage everyone to consider donating their time, knowledge, and/or funds to other non-profit organizations in their local communities.


Are you interested in becoming an official HINAC advocate or volunteer? Contact us and let us know how you can help!


Questions? Comments? Interests?

We would be delighted to hear from you!

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