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Hacking is an illegal activity which involves accessing computers, networks, and systems to steal information or damage them. These activities can be for criminal purposes, a purely fun pastime, or for other motivations.

Hackers usually rely on computer code to explore a system, and they often use their own ingenuity to design programs that exploit weaknesses in an organization’s defenses. These codes can give hackers a lot of power over innocent users and organizations, because once they understand how a system works, they can program it to do something that it wasn’t designed to do.

In this process, hackers first identify the target by observing it and checking its vulnerabilities. During this stage, they use a variety of tools to collect information about the target’s network, IP address, and DNS records.

They also scan for weaknesses in the target’s data and hardware. They then plan their attack, which typically involves using malware to get a foothold in the target’s network and gain unauthorized access.

The results of this hacking can be positive, as professional ethical hackers can test for cybersecurity vulnerabilities and point companies toward where they should improve their defenses to keep malicious actors out. Alternatively, the results can be negative, as malicious hackers can steal passwords, financial information and other sensitive information.