Introduction to Hacking
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Introduction to Hacking
What is hacking?
Hacking refers to activities that seek to compromise digital devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and even entire networks. And while hacking might not always be for malicious purposes, nowadays most references to hacking, and hackers, characterize it/them as unlawful activity by cybercriminals—motivated by financial gain, protest, information gathering (spying), and even just for the “fun” of the challenge.
Many think that “hacker” refers to some self-taught whiz kid or rogue programmer skilled at modifying computer hardware or software so it can be used in ways outside the original developers’ intent. But this is a narrow view that doesn’t begin to encompass the wide range of reasons why someone turns to hacking. (For an in-depth look at hackers, read “Under the hoodie: why money, power, and ego drive hackers to cybercrime” by Wendy Zamora.)
Hacking is typically technical in nature (like creating malvertising that deposits malware in a drive-by attack requiring no user interaction). But hackers can also use psychology to trick the user into clicking on a malicious attachment or providing personal data. These tactics are referred to as “social engineering.”
“Hacking has evolved from teenage mischief into a billion-dollar growth business.”
In fact, it’s accurate to characterize hacking as an over-arching umbrella term for activity behind most if not all of the malware and malicious cyberattacks on the computing public, businesses, and governments. Besides social engineering and malvertising, common hacking techniques include:
- Browser hijacks
- Denial of service (DDoS) attacks
As such, hacking has evolved from teenage mischief into a billion-dollar growth business, whose adherents have established a criminal infrastructure that develops and sells turnkey hacking tools to would-be crooks with less sophisticated technical skills (known as “script kiddies”).
In another example, Windows users are reportedly the target of a wide-spread cybercriminal effort offering remote access to IT systems for just $10 via a dark web hacking store—potentially enabling attackers to steal information, disrupt systems, deploy ransomware, and more. Systems advertised for sale on the forum range from Windows XP through to Windows 10. The storeowners even offer tips for how those using the illicit logins can remain undetected.
History of hacking/hackers
In its current usage, the term dates back to the 1970s. In 1980, an article in Psychology Today used the term “hacker” in its title: “The Hacker Papers,” which discussed the addictive nature of computer use.
Then there’s the 1982 American science fiction film, Tron, in which the protagonist describes his intentions to break into a company’s computer system as hacking into it. The plot of another movie released the next year, WarGames, centered on a teenager’s computer intrusion into the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). It was a fiction that introduced the specter of hackers as a threat to national security.
“A gang of teenage hackers broke into computer systems throughout the United States and Canada.”
Turns out, art was prologue to reality in that same year when a gang of teenage hackers broke into computer systems throughout the United States and Canada, including those of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Security Pacific Bank. Soon afterward, a Newsweek article with a cover shot of one of the young hackers was the first to use the term “hacker” in the pejorative sense in the mainstream media.
Thereafter, Congress got into the act, passing a number of bills concerning computer crime. After that, throughout the rest of the 1980s, any number of hacker groups and publications formed in America and abroad, attracting hacking enthusiasts in pursuit of diverse missions—some benign, others not so much. There were spectacular attacks and break-ins into government and corporate computers, more anti-hacking legislation, and many noteworthy arrests and convictions. All the while, popular culture kept hacking and hackers in the public consciousness with a parade of movies, books, and magazines that are dedicated to the activity.
Types of Hackers
Hackers can be classified into three different categories:
- Black Hat Hacker
- White Hat Hacker
- Grey Hat Hacker
Black Hat Hacker
Black-hat Hackers are also known as an Unethical Hacker or a Security Cracker. These people hack the system illegally to steal money or to achieve their own illegal goals. They find banks or other companies with weak security and steal money or credit card information. They can also modify or destroy the data as well. Black hat hacking is illegal.
White Hat Hacker
White hat Hackers are also known as Ethical Hackers or a Penetration Tester. White hat hackers are the good guys of the hacker world.
These people use the same technique used by the black hat hackers. They also hack the system, but they can only hack the system that they have permission to hack in order to test the security of the system. They focus on security and protecting IT system. White hat hacking is legal.
Gray Hat Hacker
Gray hat Hackers are Hybrid between Black hat Hackers and White hat hackers. They can hack any system even if they don’t have permission to test the security of the system but they will never steal money or damage the system.
In most cases, they tell the administrator of that system. But they are also illegal because they test the security of the system that they do not have permission to test. Grey hat hacking is sometimes acted legally and sometimes not.
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