Hacking is a term that has several meanings. Both definitions agree that it is getting in the basics of computers or networks to learn more about them.
There is black hat hacking and white hat hacking. Hacking and hacker are terms that have been in computing/information technology for a long time.
White hat hacking is where someone goes in a network or computer merely to learn more about how it works so they can develop a better program or network. This was what traditional hacking and hackers were and they wore the name as a badge of honor
Black hat hacking is when someone breaks in a network or computer and does damage or steals information. Quite often when you hear of hacking or hackers today this is what is mentioned.
I was recently at a security conference in Atlanta and heard the guy who allegedly hacked in the wireless system on a plane a year ago and took control of the engines. He never gave specifics in that case as it is still being investigated. He runs a computer security firm in Colorado and did fly to Atlanta. He told us that there are weaknesses in the wireless systems on planes that could allow someone to do things maliciously. He talked to us about what would happen if someone went in network or computer and fixed security weaknesses and do no damage and left a note saying they had been in and what was fixed and what is still needed fixing. Would a court convict them was his question. There is currently “malware” on the internet that goes in wireless routers and sets more secure settings and sends information to the network about weaknesses. Is it malware or friendly software?