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Hacking is the act of breaking into computer systems without permission. It can be a malicious act or done for fun. Hackers can have a variety of motivations, from affecting political change to helping software companies strengthen their security. Malicious hackers (black hat hackers) use their skills to steal information or cause disruption. For example, they could breach a company’s system and demand payment for access to data or take down a website with Distributed Denial of Service attacks. Ethical hackers (white hat hackers) are hired by companies to help them find and fix vulnerabilities before malicious cybercriminals can exploit them.

Hackers are able to exploit the weaknesses of hardware, software, networks, or personnel. They can access passwords and take over user accounts to gain unauthorized access to private information or disrupt services. They may even damage or destroy data or devices. They can also infect a system with ransomware to hijack computers and systems until the victim pays a fee.

The term hacker originated in the 1960s to describe an individual or group that modified a program to increase its functionality. Later, it came to mean a person with advanced knowledge of computer programming, networking, or hardware. In the 1970s, movies like Tron and WarGames popularized the concept of hacking as a dangerous activity that could threaten national security.

Since then, the threat has grown with increasing sophistication and frequency. Many hackers are now targeting IoT devices such as smart home appliances, security cameras, and even baby monitors. In addition, hackers are able to breach the security of corporate systems and government agencies.