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Hacking is the practice of bypassing security measures to gain unauthorized access to computers, software, hardware & networks. It is a highly technical skill that requires an insatiable curiosity about computer systems, problem-solving skills & creativity. Hackers often possess a rebellious streak & are often driven by personal financial gain, information extraction or for more malicious purposes such as espionage or cyber attacks against large corporations & government agencies.

Hackers use their technical & programming skills to identify & exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems & hardware. This enables them to gain unauthorised access to private information or compromise computer and financial systems. They can also cause widespread damage by stealing data, launching distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), altering and disabling critical infrastructure & releasing viruses & malware. Hackers are typically motivated by financial gain, but are also fueled by their passion for computer systems & an insatiable desire to break the rules.

The term “hacker” is often used to describe criminal hackers, but it can also refer to white hat hackers who seek to improve security through ethical means. Hackers may be self-employed, work for law enforcement, or form part of a hacktivist collective.

While the traditional view of a hacker is a lone rogue programmer with a roll up keyboard and a macbook, modern hackers are highly sophisticated and utilise a range of stealthy attack methods that go undetected by cybersecurity software & IT teams. In fact, many of the world’s best programmers & IT professionals are hackers at heart – for example, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak pranked the Pope by using the tone he whistled into his Nokia phone to make free long distance calls in Apple’s early days.