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Hacking is the act of gaining unauthorized access to computer systems and networks. It’s typically done for malicious purposes like stealing private information, wreaking havoc on businesses or even taking down entire websites. However, if used ethically and with the proper precautions, hacking can be an effective tool for companies seeking to protect their networks from cyber attacks.

Hackers are known for their creativity and problem-solving skills. They are able to break down seemingly impenetrable systems and find ways to exploit security flaws that would normally be inaccessible to them. Hackers are also known to use various tools and techniques, such as encryption, to mask their activities online and remain anonymous.

Many software designers prefer not to be referred to as hackers because the word has taken on a pejorative connotation since its mainstream popularity in the 1970s. They believe it’s inaccurate to say that the negative definition of hacking is a perversion of the original, positive sense of the term.

One of the first examples of hacking was by Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who discovered that a simple tone whistling into the phone system could allow them to make free long distance calls. Their willingness to explore the limits of technology (and the law) helped to create a culture of hacking that continues today.

Some hackers are merely looking for the next big thing or to make money. They may sell stolen passwords or credit card data, take down websites for profit or spread spam. Other hackers are more malicious, and can be found on forums and marketplaces serving threat actors, hosted on the dark web. These hackers are often referred to as script kiddies because they use pre-designed malicious scripts that are easily available on the internet for anyone with a little bit of technical knowledge to download and use.