Hacking: To or not to

Hacking: To or not to

Hacking is a subject mostly attracting people’s attention when it comes to gadgets and online activities more so when they feel their privacy is at risk of exposure. Who does not have skeletons in the cabinet Kikiki!! Fascinating thing though is people know little about the merits and de-merits of hacking. You can bet that every time for the first time you tell someone you are an IT professional they are bound to ask you one or two questions about hacking. Not mentioning the myriad of times when spouses are willing to pay substantive amounts of money to access information on their better halves’ mobile devices or emails. Let us lay bare what hacking is all about.

But what is hacking?

Point tutorials define hacking as … “Hacking is the act of finding the possible entry points that exist in a computer system or a computer network and finally entering into them. Hacking is usually done to gain unauthorized access to a computer system or a computer network, either to harm the systems or to steal sensitive information available on the computer”. With this kind of definition we are bound to ask on  whether hacking is legal or illegal? This is aptly answered here: Hacking is usually legal as long as it is being done to find weaknesses in a computer or network system for testing purpose. Underline the word testing being synonymous with the legality of hacking. Let us move on and delve into the types of hacking. Remember the person who practice the art of hacking is called hacker (who seek knowledge, to understand how systems operate, how they are designed, and then attempt to play with these systems) and the first incident of hacking officially recorded happened in 1960 at MIT.

Common Exanmples of Hacking

Some common hackings are: 

  • website hacking- where unauthorised control of the web server and its associated software such as databases and interface is taken.
  • Network hacking, gathering information about a network in order to harm or hamper its operation.
  • Email hacking, getting unauthorised access to email accounts without the owner’s consent.
  • Password Hacking, this is the process of recovering secret passwords from data that has been stored in or transmitted by a computer system.
  • Computer Hacking, this is the process of stealing computer ID and password by applying hacking methods and getting unauthorized access to a computer system.

As technology continue to evolve new security is put in place but also more hacking tools are invented and sharpened.

Ethical Hacking

The last part of this article looks at one branch of hacking called ethical hacking and other branches of hacking. Let us find out if the name justifies the practise. They are classified according to their intent of hacking a system. White Hackers: Also known as ethical hackers, their intention is not to harm the system but to find weaknesses in a computer or network system so as to penetrate for testing and vulnerability assessment. Ethical hacking is not illegal and people make careers as ethical hackers. Black Hat Hackers: Also known as crackers, they hack to get unauthorised entry and harm its operations (criminal elements around hacking!!) or steal sensitive information. They are illegal, can jam the system and shut out authorised users. Grey Hat Hackers: They are a bland of black and white hackers, they hack for fun, exploit security weaknesses of systems. Red Hat Hackers: Still a blend of black and white but have got a special mission different from Mr Grey Hat. Their main target are government agencies, top-secret information hubs and anything that fall under sensitive information. You can surely come up with examples for this. Blue Hat Hackers: These are outside computer security consulting firms who are used to bug-test a system before its launch to look for loopholes that can by exploited by … yes Black Hat Hackers. 
We also have Kiddies, Neophyte, Hacktivist and such hackers. The cream among hackers are called Elite Hackers. For a layman’s grasp of this subject, suffice to say you better off now. So next time you take a discussion on hacker-tology (of course my own invention!) be sure to use this information for relevance.