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Hacking is a term used to describe unauthorized tampering with computer software or hardware. Most people think of hackers as a lone rogue programmer in a bedroom who creates and sells malware, but this narrow view doesn’t fully capture the complexity of modern hacking. Hackers have grown increasingly sophisticated, using stealthy attack methods that go unnoticed by cybersecurity software and IT teams.

Hackers can be motivated by a variety of things, including financial gain (stealing credit card information or holding computers for ransom) and espionage (stealing valuable company or military data). State actors sometimes hack to temporarily damage the infrastructure of other countries. Hackers also use the dark web to trade and sell their tools and services on forums and marketplaces.

One of the most common types of hacking is called Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS). This technique involves overwhelming a website with login attempts, data requests and other repetitive tasks that exceed its capacity to handle them. It is popular among malicious hackers who want to take down large websites and services. The US Department of Defense and the International Space Station have fallen victim to DDOS attacks.

Other types of hacking include ClickJacking, a method in which hackers hide the clickable link on a webpage. When an internet user clicks on it, the hacker redirects them to a site where they can collect personal information or install malware. The hacker then uses this information to exploit the victim. This type of hacking is particularly dangerous because many of the devices we use – like smart TVs, home security cameras and refrigerators – connect to the internet.