what is hacking?-all information

What is hacking? 

Hacking is unauthorized use of computer and network resources. (The term "hacker" originally meant a very gifted programmer. In recent years though, with easier access to multiple systems, it now has negative implications.)

Hacking is a felony in the United States and most other countries. When it is done by request and under a contract between an ethical hacker and an organization, it's OK. The key difference is that the ethical hacker has authorization to probe the target.

We work with IBM Consulting and its customers to design and execute thorough evaluations of their computer and network security. Depending on the evaluation they request (ranging from Web server probes to all-out attacks), we gather as much information as we can about the target from publicly available sources. As we learn more about the target, its subsidiaries and network connectivity, we begin to probe for weaknesses.

Examples of weaknesses include poor configuration of Web servers, old or unpatched software, disabled security controls, and poorly chosen or default passwords. As we find and exploit vulnerabilities, we document if and how we gained access, as well as if anyone at the organization noticed. (In nearly all the cases, the Information Syhstems department is not informed of these planned attacks.) Then we work with the customer to address the issues we've discovered.

The number of really gifted hackers in the world is very small, but there are lots of wannabes.... When we do an ethical hack, we could be holding the keys to that company once we gain access. It's too great a risk for our customers to be put in a compromising position. With access to so many systems and so much information, the temptation for a former hacker could be too great -- like a kid in an unattended candy store.


 Hacking is an activity that is engaged in by people who use their knowledge of the internet, computers, firewalls and security preferences to break into other people's computers, allowing them to view private information, alter data and steal files, information or programs. MySpace pages, software applications and email accounts are the most common programs that are hacked into. Hackers typically look for passwords or credit card information. Some will simply hack into these programs in order to change information, such as a screen name, password or other content that is written by the owner.


Hackers are sometimes motivated by greed and steal personal information in order to take on someone's identity for their own gain, or in politics, where they try to exploit, blackmail or otherwise expose someone in power, or even just for entertainment, where hackers simply want to see what they are capable of doing. These types of hackers usually brag about their conquests on message boards or instant messaging programs, competing with fellow hackers as to who is the best among them.


 The first case of hacking occurred in the 1960s when a group of students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) tried to access the school's main computing systems. In the 1970s, "phone phreaks" hacked into telephone networks and made toll-free calls. Mainstream computer hacking as we know it today gained momentum in the 1980s when hackers broke into what would now be considered message boards. Congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1986, which made it illegal for anyone to break into anyone else's computer system. Despite the law, the 1990s saw the invention of the Trojan Horse, which allowed hackers to access any computer that downloaded the program. Many companies were hacked into as well, such as AOL, Yahoo!, Amazon and eBay.


There are at least five main types of hackers. A hacktivist uses his hacker skills in order to broadcast a political message on the Internet. A cyberterrorist commits acts out of a desire to wreak havoc and cause harm to groups who he feels oppose him and his beliefs. A black hat typically breaks into a network in order to obtain information that will allow him to commit fraud or theft. A white hat may commit the same hacking acts as other hackers, but is not motivated by a malicious intent. A script kiddie uses hacking software in order to break into someone else's computer system. This software is usually obtained from another hacker who has figured out how to corrupt that specific program's system.


Most hackers are talented computer programmers. They know how to write software and how to remove the kinks from other programs that are written by the hacking community. The most important feature of someone who hacks, however, is the "hacker mindset," a set of beliefs that the hacker community has established. The core belief is that it is OK to hack into someone else's computer and to obtain, distribute or otherwise exploit any information that may be found in the process. Hackers usually strongly believe in their First Amendment rights and believe that hacking falls under this umbrella.

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