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Hacking is the process of exploiting computer security systems to gain unauthorized access. Hackers can cause digital chaos by stealing information, infecting computers with malware, launching DDoS attacks or exposing personal details to the public. They may also sabotage businesses by stealing confidential data or disrupting systems. Their actions are fueled by malicious intent and can lead to financial losses.

Hackers can be divided into two broad categories: white hat hackers and black hat hackers. White hat hackers are responsible for improving cybersecurity and detecting potential threats. They often share their findings with the community to raise awareness and help prevent future cyberattacks. Black hat hackers, on the other hand, seek financial gains or notoriety through their exploits. They use their skills to wreak havoc online by breaching systems, stealing personal information and even threatening to release sensitive material online (known as a ‘whale’ attack).

There are four key drivers that lead bad actors to hack websites or systems: criminal financial gain, corporate espionage, to gain notoriety or respect for their hacking abilities, and political motivations such as ‘hacktivists’ like Anonymous. In addition, there are ‘grey hat’ hackers who work for companies or the government to improve their own security.

There are also ‘hacker forums’ that allow hacking experts to share their technical knowledge. They often discuss their hacking techniques, tools and tricks of the trade. They also offer a variety of hacking guides with step-by-step instructions on how to break into systems.