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Hacking is a broad term for the act of breaking into computer systems or networks without authorization. There are several reasons why people hack, including criminal financial gain, to access sensitive information, to launch a denial of service attack or for espionage. Other hackers are motivated by anger or a desire to get revenge on those they feel have wronged them. Many of these hackers are part of organized crime groups.

The term hacker gained popularity in the early 1980s as personal computers became available to the public. It has since morphed into the popular negative definition of someone who uses their programming skills for malicious purposes. Many of the same hacking techniques that were used in the early days of hacking are still in use today.

Some hackers, known as “white hat hackers,” break into computers and networks for ethical purposes. This is referred to as penetration testing or pentesting. This process involves finding vulnerabilities in computer systems, such as open ports or unsecured databases. These hackers often share this information with companies that may hire them to fix the vulnerability.

Hackers can also break into a system by using trial and error to guess passwords or by searching for known exploits on the Internet, such as enumerating open ports and services or looking for a password cracker that will try all possible combinations of letters, numbers and symbols to gain access. In some cases, hackers can even remotely control a victim’s device by “swapping” their SIM card with one of their own and gaining access to calls, texts, social media and more.