What Is Hacking?
Hacking involves identifying, exploiting and leveraging vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks and software to gain unauthorized access. Threat actors use these weaknesses for malicious purposes such as financial gain, corporate espionage and causing disruption and damage to targeted organizations or individuals.
Hackers are a diverse group of people that are skilled in coding, problem-solving and system analysis. Some hackers are white hat, ethical and work to help prevent cyberattacks, while others (black hat) break into computers without the owner’s permission for criminal financial gain or other malicious reasons such as pirating software or creating viruses. There are also grey hat hackers, those who act as intermediaries between ethical and black hat hackers, and those who are not hackers at all but simply attempt to exploit known vulnerabilities in hardware or software (script kiddies).
The term hacker first appeared in print in the 1970s but rose to prominence with the 1980 releases of the movies Tron and War Games. The popularity of these films helped to introduce a young generation to hacking as a fun, but dangerous activity that could result in significant loss of personal information or damage to critical network infrastructure.
Hacking is also a way for people to test out their skills and develop their own coding knowledge. Learning to code can be a valuable skill, but it’s important to practice on secure systems before you begin attacking someone else. Be sure to log out of websites when you’re finished and clear your browser history to prevent anyone from accessing your data.