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Hacking is the term for wrongful use of computers to steal data, disrupt systems and environments, or disrupt activities related to data. Breaking into a computer system or network for potential personal gain, including access to data and networks is also known as hacking. An example of this could be using a password cracking algorithm. Hacking may happen in a variety of ways. The most common example is the phishing scam. Hackers try to gain system access or introduce malware through viruses by tricking users into clicking on a link or downloading an attached file. The hacking spree of 2017, called Wannacry, began with a phishing scam targeting high-profile technology organizations. There is another potential for breaking in and causing havoc: a code breach. Although less common, hacking computers using simple codes is not unheard of in underground file-sharing sites. These anonymous “hackers” can then hit unguarded files, potentially causing widespread damage to internal systems within a business, as the information technology (IT) department often keeps internal files out of sight from other departments for security purposes. 

Another approach is a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS), in which thousands of computers attack one website only they aren’t all “hacked.” In fact, many of these computers are part of a “botnet” and aren’t even aware they are participating in an attack. The idea is to overload the target download link and take it offline. A more serious form of DDoS is also possible where multiple sources flood the target with malicious traffic simultaneously. Hackers can also use a variety of methods to gain access to an individual’s mobile phone and intercept their voicemails, calls, text messages, and even the phone’s microphone and camera. This includes guessing a victim’s password or security code, tricking the user into installing spyware or malware, or hacking into the network that serves cell phones in the area. Mobile phone hackers may target users for a number of reasons. These may include personal privacy violations, financial gain and so on. 

Who is a hacker?

The first step in understanding hacking is understanding who the hackers are. They may be described as people with a need for discovery, self-thought, curiosity and intelligence. These rules perfectly describe an expert hacker. A hacker refers to an expert computer programmer who discovers security flaws in systems and exploits them. A hacker is also a person who uses computers or computer networks in a way maliciously intended to cause harm. Sometimes, they are not necessarily bad people.

Types of hackers

In the computer world, in the computer world, there are different types of attackers and you need to know how they work. We have;

  • Ethical hacker/White hat professionals: They hack to test their own security systems. An ethical hacker is someone who can solve technical problems and help you prevent or find a solution to problems. They usually have extensive knowledge of technology and hacking. Some of them are employed by organizations and companies to do penetration testing, which is looking for weak spots in order to patch them before criminals can exploit the vulnerabilities and strengthen your security too. A White Hat hacker can be the best ally when you would like to estimate the security of a system or network against cyber attacks.
  • Cracker/ Black hat professionals: They hack for their own gains, i.e. they steal information to use it for their own personal benefit and also to steal or wreak havoc on the system. An example of a cracker is a man identified as Khalil Shreateh, who hacked into Facebook and delivered malware to Mark Zuckerberg’s account.
  • Grey hats: They work in between; they sometimes do good and most times do bad. They are curious people with just enough computer skills to locate loopholes in a network for potential hacking.
  • Script kiddies: A script kiddie is a non-skilled person with no hacking skills who uses already made computer tools to gain access to other people’s computer systems. They are somewhat like amateurs.
  • Hacktivist: Any individual who targets businesses or other entities online to send social, religious, and political messages. Usually done through website hijacking and then leaving messages. Or by stealing user passwords or data, then using that information as a form of protest towards the entity hacked.
  • Phreaker: A hacker who identifies and exploits weaknesses in telephone systems.

Conclusion

Hacking is the illegal manipulation of computer systems and/or computer networks. Being an Ethical Hacker is about finding holes in computer systems. Information is an extremely important asset for any organization. There are many ways to protect and secure this asset, but one of the best ways is to hire ethical hackers who can try and hack into the company’s system. This way, they can discover potential problems before any real damage is done – such as customers’ information leaving the company or money being stolen – which can lead to a loss of business. If you lose information, you lose time and money that could have been spent on building toward your goals.

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Amaka Odozi

Author Amaka Odozi

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