Hacking FAQs

I get a lot of emails about hacking. It’s hard for me to answer each and every question which is asked more frequently. So here I have compiled some of the Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hacking. Hope it helps. Don’t forget to pass your comments.



  • What is Hacking?
  • Who is a Hacker?
  • What is The Hacker Terminology?
  • How Do I Hack?
  • What do I need to be able to hack?
  • How Hackers Work?
  • What is The Hacker Toolbox?
  • How do I secure my computer from being Hacked?
  • Famous Hackers

Computer hacking is the practice of modifying computer hardware and software to accomplish a goal outside of the creator’s original purpose. Hacking is the art of exploiting the flaws/loopholes in a software/module. Since the word “hack” has long been used to describe someone who is incompetent at his/her profession, some hackers claim this term is offensive and fails to give appropriate recognition to their skills.

Most people think that hackers are computer criminals. They fail to recognize the fact that criminals and hackers are two totally different things. Media is responsible for this. Hackers in reality are actually good and extremely intelligent people who by using their knowledge in a constructive manner help organizations, companies, government, etc. to secure documents and secret information on the internet. Hackers like to explore and learn how computer systems work, finding ways to make them do what they do better, or do things they weren’t intended to do.

As hacker terminology changes a lot over time some of the terms here may not still be relevant when they are being used. Despite this, most of the terminology will stay and only change slightly if it does; there is more new terminology than there is editing old terminology.
  • Hacker: A person who modifies something to perform in a way that was different than it was made to do. Not just to do with computer hacking, but in this case it is.
  • Cracker: Crackers are people who break into a computer system for an offensive purpose, for example defacement. A cracker is still a hacker.
  • Ethical Hacker: People who hack into systems for defensive purposes, often people hired by companies to pen-test their network.
  • White hat hacker: Somebody with defensive security intentions, similar to an ethical hacker. White hat hackers existed before ethical hackers.
  • Black hat hacker: A hacker with malicious or offensive intentions
  • Gray hat hacker: A combination between white and black hat hackers. We typically say that a gray hat is a white hat by day and a black hat by night. White hats are technically gray hats because black hat hackers can use the tools that white hats use as well. The chances are all white hats have done some black hat hacking at one point because they must have learned to use the tools that they are using ethically to hack a system otherwise they would have no hacking experience.
  • Script Kiddie: A person who uses tools with no contribution to the hacking community, kiddies don't know how to create their own tools or use advanced tools and constantly use the same tools to hack a server or system, often not effectively. To some degree all hackers are script kiddies, but a good hacker has the ability to make intelligent decisions such as determining false positives from virus scans.
  • Hacktivism: Hactivists perform Hacktivism. Hacktivism is a combination between two works: hacker and activist. Somebody who hacks for a cause; maybe they are environmentalists hacking against companies that they think are destroying the environment
  • Vulnerability: A weakness that could lead to compromised security. It may be discovered accidentally. Somebody may write a script to exploit this vulnerability.
  • Exploit: A defined method of hacking vulnerability.
  • 0Day: An unreported exploit, typically requires some scripting or coding knowledge, this could be virus, malware or spyware. This can be worth a lot of money if sold to a company. Although extremely risky to sell to companies due to the fact that it is illegal.
  • War Drivers: People who take some kind of portable device, for example a USB drive or a laptop and just go to a public location. Then they pick up a wireless signal and possibly see what software it is running and maybe find exploits for that software, but war drivers are not limited to this. They often just use this for free internet in the case they don't have access to it themselves.
  • Black Box Attacks: Security testing with no knowledge of the network infrastructure, for example attacking a company from the internet.
  • White Box Attacks: Security testing with complete knowledge of the network infrastructure.
  • Gray Box Attacks: Internal testing from the perspective of a generic user inside the infrastructure, this user would not be an admin but just a normal user.
  • Reckless Admins: An admin who is careless, for example using the same password for all of the different things in the network. A reckless admin may not use the latest patches even though they are readily available.

There is no easy way how to hack. Google is your best friend.. REMEMBER THAT! Read any information you can find on hacking. Read hacking forums and check out hacking websites. Learn a programming language like C++. Get a book like Hacking for Dummies which will teach you a lot. The best way to start hacking is to teach yourself !!!

Firstly you need to understand how your computers operating system works, networks and protocols works, security settings and general PC knowledge. After you understand how it works you need hacking tools which helps you to hack.

Thanks to the media, the word "hacker" has gotten a bad reputation. The word summons up thoughts of malicious computer users finding new ways to harass people, defraud corporations, steal information and maybe even destroy the economy or start a war by infiltrating military computer systems. While there’s no denying that there are hackers out there with bad intentions, they make up only a small percentage of the hacker community.

The term computer hacker first showed up in the mid-1960s. A hacker was a programmer — someone who hacked out computer code. Hackers were visionaries who could see new ways to use computers, creating programs that no one else could conceive. They were the pioneers of the computer industry, building everything from small applications to operating systems. In this sense, people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were all hackers — they saw the potential of what computers could do and created ways to achieve that potential.

A unifying trait among these hackers was a strong sense of curiosity, sometimes bordering on obsession. These hackers prided themselves on not only their ability to create new programs, but also to learn how other programs and systems worked. When a program had a bug — a section of bad code that prevented the program from working properly — hackers would often create and distribute small sections of code called patches to fix the problem. Some managed to land a job that leveraged their skills, getting paid for what they’d happily do for free.

As computers evolved, computer engineers began to network individual machines together into a system. Soon, the term hacker had a new meaning — a person using computers to explore a network to which he or she didn’t belong. Usually hackers didn’t have any malicious intent. They just wanted to know how computer networks worked and saw any barrier between them and that knowledge as a challenge.

In fact, that’s still the case today. While there are plenty of stories about malicious hackers sabotaging computer systems, infiltrating networks and spreading computer viruses, most hackers are just curious — they want to know all the intricacies of the computer world. Some use their knowledge to help corporations and governments construct better security measures. Others might use their skills for more unethical endeavors.

Here, we’ll explore common techniques hackers use to infiltrate systems. We’ll examine hacker culture and the various kinds of hackers as well as learn about famous hackers, some of whom have run afoul of the law.

The main resource hackers rely upon, apart from their own ingenuity, is computer code. While there is a large community of hackers on the Internet, only a relatively small number of hackers actually program code. Many hackers seek out and download code written by other people. There are thousands of different programs hackers use to explore computers and networks. These programs give hackers a lot of power over innocent users and organizations — once a skilled hacker knows how a system works, he can design programs that exploit it.

Malicious hackers use programs to:
Log keystrokes: Some programs allow hackers to review every keystroke a computer user makes. Once installed on a victim’s computer, the programs record each keystroke, giving the hacker everything he needs to infiltrate a system or even steal someone’s identity.
Hack passwords: There are many ways to hack someone’s password, from educated guesses to simple algorithms that generate combinations of letters, numbers and symbols. The trial and error method of hacking passwords is called a brute force attack, meaning the hacker tries to generate every possible combination to gain access. Another way to hack passwords is to use a dictionary attack, a program that inserts common words into password fields.
Infect a computer or system with a virus: Computer viruses are programs designed to duplicate themselves and cause problems ranging from crashing a computer to wiping out everything on a system’s hard drive. A hacker might install a virus by infiltrating a system, but it’s much more common for hackers to create simple viruses and send them out to potential victims via email, instant messages, Web sites with downloadable content or peer-to-peer networks.
Gain backdoor access: Similar to hacking passwords, some hackers create programs that search for unprotected pathways into network systems and computers. In the early days of the Internet, many computer systems had limited security, making it possible for a hacker to find a pathway into the system without a username or password. Another way a hacker might gain backdoor access is to infect a computer or system with a Trojan horse.
Create zombie computers: A zombie computer, or bot, is a computer that a hacker can use to send spam or commit Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. After a victim executes seemingly innocent code, a connection opens between his computer and the hacker’s system. The hacker can secretly control the victim’s computer, using it to commit crimes or spread spam.
Spy on e-mail: Hackers have created code that lets them intercept and read e-mail messages — the Internet’s equivalent to wiretapping. Today, most e-mail programs use encryption formulas so complex that even if a hacker intercepts the message, he won’t be able to read it.

Having a basic knowledge of computer security and related topics such as Virus, Trojans, spyware, phishing etc. is more than enough to secure your computer. Install a good antivirus and a firewall.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, founders of Apple Computers, are both hackers. Some of their early exploits even resemble the questionable activities of some malicious hackers. However, both Jobs and Wozniak outgrew their malicious behavior and began concentrating on creating computer hardware and software. Their efforts helped usher in the age of the personal computer — before Apple, computer systems remained the property of large corporations, too expensive and cumbersome for average consumers.

Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, is another famous honest hacker. His open source operating system is very popular with other hackers. He has helped promote the concept of open source software, showing that when you open information up to everyone, you can reap amazing benefits.

Richard Stallman, also known as "rms", founded the GNU Project, a free operating system. He promotes the concept of free software and computer access. He works with organizations like the Free Software Foundation and opposes policies like Digital Rights Management.

On the other end of the spectrum are the black hats of the hacking world. At the age of 16, Jonathan James became the first juvenile hacker to get sent to prison. He committed computer intrusions on some very high-profile victims, including NASA and a Defense Threat Reduction Agency server. Online, Jonathan used the nickname (called a handle) “c0mrade.” Originally sentenced to house arrest, James was sent to prison when he violated parole.

Greg Finley/Getty Images
Hacker Kevin Mitnick, newly released from the Federal Correctional Institution in Lompoc, California.

Kevin Mitnick gained notoriety in the 1980s as a hacker who allegedly broke into the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when he was 17 years old. Mitnick’s reputation seemed to grow with every retelling of his exploits, eventually leading to the rumor that Mitnick had made the FBI’s Most Wanted list. In reality, Mitnick was arrested several times for hacking into secure systems, usually to gain access to powerful computer software.

Kevin Poulsen, or Dark Dante, specialized in hacking phone systems. He’s famous for hacking the phones of a radio station called KIIS-FM. Poulsen’s hack allowed only calls originating from his house to make it through to the station, allowing him to win in various radio contests. Since then, he has turned over a new leaf, and now he’s famous for being a senior editor at Wired magazine.

Adrian Lamo hacked into computer systems using computers at libraries and Internet cafes. He would explore high-profile systems for security flaws, exploit the flaws to hack into the system, and then send a message to the corresponding company, letting them know about the security flaw. Unfortunately for Lamo, he was doing this on his own time rather than as a paid consultant — his activities were illegal. He also snooped around a lot, reading sensitive information and giving himself access to confidential material. He was caught after breaking into the computer system belonging to the New York Times.

It’s likely that there are thousands of hackers active online today, but an accurate count is impossible. Many hackers don’t really know what they are doing — they’re just using dangerous tools they don’t completely understand. Others know what they’re doing so well that they can slip in and out of systems without anyone ever knowing. 

Do you have questions, comments, or suggestions? Feel free to post a comment!

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