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Hacking is the act of gaining access to another person’s computer without their permission. It is illegal and can result in criminal penalties.

Hackers typically target businesses and government agencies to get unauthorized access to their systems, which can be used for financial gain, corporate espionage or as part of a nation state hacking campaign. These hackers often use a variety of different methods to break into computers, such as viruses and Trojan horses.

Some of the ways that hackers break into systems include: stealing passwords, credit card information and personal data, holding their victims to ransom or selling these stolen assets on the dark web. They also use phishing and denial of service attacks to disrupt the normal operation of networks.

There are a number of different types of hackers, including white hat and black hat hackers. A white hat hacker is an ethical and well-educated hacker that uses their skills to improve security systems, develop new tools and protocols and follow the legal procedures.

They are also able to find vulnerabilities in software and hardware systems that could be exploited by malicious actors. They are typically hired to find vulnerabilities in an application before it’s released or to test a system before a company buys cybersecurity services.

In addition to finding vulnerabilities, grey hat hackers are also hired to conduct security audits of systems and applications. They can identify security gaps and give cybersecurity professionals advice on how to fix them. These security audits are a critical component of the cybersecurity industry. They also help companies avoid accidentally coding in security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.