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Hacking is the process of breaking into a computer system or network without the owner’s permission. It can be done for a number of reasons, from improving the functionality of a computer to exploiting weaknesses for financial or social gain. Hackers often use technical or social weaknesses to breach defenses and install malware or steal sensitive information.

In the early days of Apple, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were considered hackers for their willingness to push the limits of technology. One famous story involves them prank calling the Pope at the Vatican by whistling a tone into a phone that allowed for free long distance calls.

As personal computers became more widely available, hackers started using their skills for illegal purposes, such as pirating software, creating viruses and breaking into systems to steal data. This led to the creation of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1984. Despite this negative connotation, many people who are involved in the development of secure systems prefer to not be called hackers as the pejorative meaning is now prevalent.

Ethical Hacking focuses on testing and assessing security measures in an effort to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities. It can be used by organisations to help ensure compliance with industry and regulatory standards, such as GDPR and PCI DSS. It can also be a great way to reassure customers of the company’s commitment to security, which in turn can lead to increased business and customer trust.