"‘hacking’ often refers to unauthorized intrusions into a device or a network"
Hacking is a set of activities performed by a group, or an individual that compromises the information within a digital decide or ecosystem like a website, a smartphone, or an organizational intranet. Hacking can also be defined as identifying potential weaknesses in computer systems and networks to exploit and gain access to information. For example, using a password crack algorithm to gain access to someone’s social profile.
While the term ‘hacking’ often refers to unauthorized intrusions into a device or a network, sometimes the act of ‘hacking’ can be done non-maliciously by individuals or organizations to find potential weaknesses in their security structures.
Common Types of Hacking Attacks
Hackers have a host of techniques and tools that they use for hacking. Here are some of the most common ones.
Vulnerability Scanner: Hackers use this to check on devices and networks for known weaknesses
Password Cracking: This refers to gathering passwords from data stored illegally using password cracking algorithms and programs
Packet Sniffer: Packet sniffers capture data packets to gain access to data and passwords
Spoofing Attack: Spoofing constitutes hackers tricking their victims by mimicking legitimate sites that help them gain trust from unsuspecting users
Root Kit: This kind of hacking attack involves a set of programs which that take away control of an operating system from its legitimate users
Trojan Horse: Trojan attacks build a back door for entrance for a hacker into a user’s computer system
Virus: Viruses are fairly common unfortunately. You’ve probably heard of or came across some yourself too. These are self-replicating programs that mutate your system by duplicating and insert copies of themselves into other executable files and documents
Key Loggers: These record every keystroke on the affected user’s system and allow the hacker access to victim’s passwords, etc.
Other kinds of hacking include ‘ethical hacking’ where companies may employ hackers as part of their support staff to find flaws in the organization’s security system. By simulating attacks from within, it helps strengthen weaknesses against real hackers.
Who is a Hacker? What are the Different Types of Hackers?
A Hacker is a person who discovers and exploits weaknesses in devices or networks to gain access to their data illegally. Hackers are usually skilled in multiple computer programming languages and have expert authority and knowledge of computer security systems and firewalls.
The Various Kinds of Hackers
Hackers are often classified based on their intent of actions. They are listed as below.
Ethical Hacker (White Hat Hacker): An ethical hacker is a hacker that gains access to systems usually with written permission of the party involved. An ethical hacker hacks into his system with a view to fix the identified weaknesses and perform activities like penetration testing and vulnerability assessments.
Cracker (Black Hat Hacker): The Joker to the Batman of Ethical hacking, a cracker is a hacker that gains unauthorized access illegally to devices and systems for personal gain or vengeance. Crackers are often used to steal corporate data, leak privacy pictures, transfer funds, etc.
Script Kiddies: These are amateur hackers with no real programming skills. They gain access to systems using ready-made tools.
Hacktivist: An activist that uses hacking mechanisms to send social, religious, or political messages. This might be done by hijacking websites or enemy social profiles and displaying custom messages.
Phreaker: Phreaking is a slang terms used to describe a hacker’s activity who identifies and exploits weaknesses in phones instead of computer systems. Read another helpful article? Try!
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