Definition of hacking
Hacking is a set of actions to identify and then exploit vulnerabilities in a computer system or network, usually in order to gain unauthorized access to user or company data. Hacking is not always the result of malicious actions, but the term itself has acquired a negative connotation due to its frequent use in the context of cybercrime.
How does hacking happen?
How do hackers commit hacking? They use various methods to achieve their goals. Below are the most common of them.
Social engineering is a method of manipulation based on the use of user errors to gain access to personal information. Hiding behind other people’s names and using various psychological tricks, attackers can be tricked into revealing personal or financial information. Phishing, spam mailings via e-mail or instant messages and fake websites can be used for this.
Attackers use different ways to get passwords. Password matching is a method in which all possible combinations of characters are searched in order to guess the password and gain access. Attackers can also use simple algorithms to generate various combinations of letters, numbers and symbols to select a password. Another method is called dictionary attack. It is a program that substitutes common words in the password field in search of a suitable one.
Infecting devices with malware
Attackers can infiltrate a user’s device and install malware on it. Attacks are most often carried out through email, instant messages, websites with downloadable content or a file sharing network.
Using insecure wireless networks
Instead of using malicious code to infiltrate a user’s computer, attackers can simply use open wireless networks. Not all users protect their routers, which is used by attackers who are constantly searching for open unsecured wireless connections. This process is called wardriving. When connecting to an unsecured network, attackers only need to bypass basic protection to gain access to devices connected to this network.
Attackers develop programs to find unsecured ways to access network systems and computers. For example, they can infect a computer or system with a Trojan created specifically to access and steal important data without the victim’s knowledge.
Attackers can create code that allows them to intercept and read emails. Most modern email programs use encryption. This means that even if the message is intercepted, attackers will not be able to read it.
Some programs allow attackers to track every keystroke by a computer user. After being installed on the victim’s computer, such programs record every keystroke, which provides attackers with all the data necessary to break into the system and steal personal data.
Creating Zombie Computers
A zombie computer or bot is a computer that attackers can use to send spam or perform distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. After the user launches a seemingly harmless code, a connection is established between his computer and the attackers’ system, which allows attackers to control the user’s computer and commit crimes or send spam from this computer without his knowledge.