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Socially dysfunctional teenagers, disgruntled employees and even the Russian Mafia have brought the word 'hacker' into disrepute but the application of Buddhism can help turn things around.

That's the view of ex-Buddhist monk turned chief executive of security startup White Hat Technologies, Thubten Comerford.

"The media has turned `hacker' into a negative word," Comerford told his local paper The Denver Business Journal. "Calling all those people who cause problems `hackers' is a misnomer - we're actually the good guys."

Comerford has half a point here. Cracker, rather than hacker, is the proper term for those who break into computers and disrupt systems. However English is a language defined by its usage (unlike French), so we reckon Comerford's attempt to reclaim the word won't get very far.

White Hat Technologies was created by Comerford after he heard about the case of infamous Welsh hacker, Curador (aka Rapheal Gray), who caused chaos by setting up a Web site containing credit card details obtained from insecure sites.

Comerford set up White Hat Technologies to channel the talent and interest of technically skilled youngsters towards testing the security of networks, rather than criminal activity.

Good, but what we hear you say, has Buddhism got to do with 'hacking'?

Comerford is keen to enlighten us. Running his penetration testing business is more about turning a profit - there's also a spiritual element.

"There's a commitment to benefit all beings, for Buddhists. It's important to me that this company provides a beneficial service. We're not selling something that will cause damage; we help companies be more successful," Comerford told the The Denver Business Journal.

"That way, we avoid generating any negative karma," he added.

What next, Feng Shui phreaking? ®

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