Back in the '80s hackers were the guys who didn't bother to learn how it was done. They were "hacks." The modern equivalent of an '80s hacker was a script kiddie.
My father has been doing networking and computer security since before the advent of Token Ring. His first network existed to read the outputs of Nixie tube sockets and convert them to something a PDP-11 could read. He would routinely design his networks such that there was always an easy backdoor that would lead to a trail of breadcrumbs that would end up in an exciting but worthless and public-domain payload that the hackers could lift and brag about their friends to while completely missing all the actual information.
Man who hack at root soon kill tree
- early sysadmin proverb