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Hacking involves gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or network. This is done by exploiting weaknesses in the systems or using software tools to attack them. Ethical hackers use their skills to help companies assess their security posture, find vulnerabilities, and protect against cyber crime.

While many people associate hacking with cyber crime, a good hacker can help protect the privacy of individuals and organizations. Hacking into someone else’s system is illegal and should be done only if it’s for a legitimate purpose and if you have permission from the owner of the system. Hacking into someone else’s system for nefarious purposes may lead to monetary losses, reputational damage, and a loss of consumer confidence.

The first step in a hacker’s process is reconnaissance, which includes identifying the target and discovering its infrastructure. This information helps ethical hackers reduce the amount of public-accessible data that bad actors can exploit and add further security controls to lock down infrastructure and network details that would otherwise be vulnerable.

Once a hacker knows more about the objective, they can start attempting to gain unauthorized access. They do this by utilizing apparatuses like dialers, network mappers, sweepers, port scanners, and weakness scanners. Once a hacker has gained entrance into the framework, they can start to effectively test it with the goal that they can find ways around any limitations that exist.

Some of the most well-known hacks you see in the news aren’t really hacks at all, but rather a form of social engineering. For example, a simple sequence of characters could trick a website into displaying all of its usernames and passwords or even to steal stored credit card information. Other hacks are purely “Denial of Service” attacks where criminals aim to stop websites from working (for fun, or for a ransom).