Hacker is a person who is engaged in digital hacking, steals, deletes, or replaces data, disables equipment. In a word, it provides unauthorized access to digital information and electronic systems. Translated from English hack means “hack, shred”.
Hackers before and now: what’s the difference?
Initially, hackers did not break into systems. They simply found bugs in the software and fixed them in some particularly beautiful and elegant way. The hack came from hippie slang.
Today the word “hacker” is most often applied to crackers. These are people who break the law by their actions. They use vulnerabilities in software to bypass security.
Why do hackers steal information
Data is not being stolen out of sports interest. Most often, they can be sold at a high price – especially when it comes to industrial espionage in large corporations. But data from personal mailboxes or social media accounts also come at a price. For example, incriminating photos or correspondence can be used in court when dividing spouses’ property. Some people hunt for intimate photos of celebrities to get a ransom for them or to make money selling to tabloids.
Hackers, like IT professionals in general, have specializations. For example, phishers collect data from accounts (including banking) through forms on fake websites or fake applications. They then take control of the account and, for example, empty the victim’s bank account.
Some hackers brute force (brute force passwords). To speed up the process, they can create entire botnets – networks of computers that work together to solve the same problem. Usually, the owners of such computers are not even aware of this – a virus infects the equipment and uses its resources for their purposes. By the way, virus developers are also hackers.
Lately, hacking has become a disaster. Hackers even trade-in Minecraft and other computer games – they steal resources and game items to sell in the in-game market for real money. Recently, hackers were found deleting code repositories on GitHub and demanding a ransom from developers. They massively hack cryptocurrency wallets or install miners (programs for mining cryptocurrency) on other people’s computers or smartphones.
Hackers can cause disaster
If you penetrate the power supply system, you can de-energize an entire city. If you take over control of the nuclear power plant – arrange a second Chernobyl. Fortunately, this is still more of a theory – strategic objects are well protected, breaking them is at least very expensive.
What hackers ask when they blackmail a victim
Payments for returning data or restoring access, by the way, are increasingly being asked in bitcoins or another cryptocurrency. These payments are more difficult to track.
Some hackers don’t make money by selling stolen data. They often work voluntarily or for a fee originally set by the customer. Ethical hackers can participate in bug bounty programs – when software developers guarantee awards for finding vulnerabilities in a new system.