Definition of hacking
Hacking is the illegal or legal act of compromising the security protocols of a digital device, system or network and gaining unauthorized access to the data and information on them.
Hacking involves the use of computers, digital devices or networks to get hold of personal or business data, invade privacy, corrupt a system or network, commit fraudulent acts, etc.
A hacker is someone skilled in computer programming and knows about cybersecurity, thereby using that knowledge to manoeuvre the security of computer systems or networks, rendering them vulnerable enough to be accessed.
Classification of hackers
There are three major classifications of hackers which are denoted using ‘hat colours’. They include the black hat hacker, the white hat hacker and the grey hat hacker.
Black hat hacker
Black hat hackers are unethical hackers or security crackers. They involve in the illegal hacking of systems and networks to fulfil personal illegal goals like stealing money or accessing private information. They penetrate the security protocols of companies and banks to steal money or data, corrupt and destroy data and perform other fraudulent activities.
Black hat hackers are the illegal group of hackers capable of inflicting damage on systems.
White hat hackers
White hat hackers are ethical hackers or network penetration testers. They are the legal group of hackers who utilizes the same skills as the black hat hackers but only for authorized hacking activities like test-running the security of a network by attempting to break into them. This works to prevent the activities of black hat hackers.
The white hat hackers ensure security and protection by fixing potential weaknesses in the system.
Grey hat hackers
Grey hat hackers are hybrid hackers functioning between black hat hackers and white hat hackers. They hack systems with or without authorization but don’t have the intention of stealing money or data, corrupting the system, or exploiting any personal illegal gains. Grey hat hackers can function illegally in the sense that they can test run the security of systems that they don’t have the approval to test run with the intention of revealing the vulnerabilities to the system owners.
The different types of hacking activities
This hacking involves the intention to steal private information from computer users e.g. bank card details, an account password, etc. Example of activity includes the replicating of an original website, thereby tricking users to put their personal information on the duplicate website and stealing the information for malicious purposes. Also, the sending of emails disguised to be from a legitimate company which links to where the users can be defrauded
2. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)
This form of hacking involves taking down a website and making it unavailable for use and unable to render usual services. The server is taken down which leads to response errors.
3. Malware injection devices
Hackers inject malware into a computer with the use of a hardware device. This helps in hacking and gaining access to the information on a computer whenever the malware device (usually a USB drive) is connected to it.
4. Cracking password
A process known as key logging is used in hacking the user’s credentials thereby accessing their personal information.
5. Social engineering
This technique involves the act of manipulating people to give out their personal information by pretending to be a legitimate agent of the company either on social media, SMS or calls and requesting their password or critical information.
6. Virus hacking
This involves the hacking of a website or system and implementing a virus to it thereby corrupting or destroying the data or resources on the website or system.
7. UI redress
This involves the technique of getting a user to click a button on a website that is different from what they intended to click which redirects them to a certain website and asks for credential information or permission to access their system.
8. DNS spoofing
This is a computer security hacking in which users are made to use a fake website disguised to be the original by making slight unnoticeable alterations to the domain name of the website. This works to redirect traffic to the website or collect personal information from users.
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