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What is Hacking?

akhilnaidu profile image Akhil Naidu Originally published at blog.leewardslope.com on ・2 min read

A person who is able to discover a weakness in a system and manages to exploit it is called a hacker and this process is known as Hacking. Hacking is an art. It is the mastery of a system that gives you complete control over it. It is the act of modifying the inner workings of a system, in order to make it do something that it’s original creator never intended.

That’s the gist of it. But as with all things, the devil is in the details. This is what this website is for.


I’m going to make a broad claim here: The only thing you need to become a hacker is interest and dedication. But more than anything else, you need a thirst for knowledge. You should always be willing to learn something new, always open to new ideas. So come with me, follow along these series of tutorials and before long you’ll see for yourself that the claim has been justified.


Before moving on, there’s a couple things that we need to address.

First of all, privacy. Your data is everywhere, a part of you sitting on some servers around the world. Privacy is your right to decide who can use that data and how. The internet as we know it came into being decades ago. At the time, it wasn’t built with privacy in mind. But things have changed now. Not only do we need to protect ourselves against malicious agents but maybe, just maybe, a day may come when we must protect ourselves from those who are meant to be protecting us, our governments. Because of this, hacking no longer means just exploiting or patching up security holes in a system, it is now also a means of protecting a basic human right , the right to privacy.

Secondly, these days the only side of hacking that people hear about is the bad one. Credit card theft, identity theft, ransomware, stolen accounts and data and so on. The mere word_hacking_brings with it an inherently negative vibe. It doesn’t have to be this way. We hear about millions of accounts being leaked, attacks on major websites, attacks on individuals but we near really hear about all the attacks that never occurred.

There is a whole other side to hacking that never quite gets to see the light of day.


For every major hack that makes the news, many more are prevented by security specialists. These people, these whitehat hackers, possess exactly the same skillset as the blackhats, but they choose to use them for good. No software can ever be completely secure and that makes cyber security a cat and mouse game. A race between whitehats and blackhats. A battle of angels and demons, the stakes of which have never been higher than they are today. The global cost of cyber crime is projected to reach $2 trillion by 2019 and today it crossed that limit far ago.

The question is- Which side are you on?


Discussion (13)

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acagastya profile image
Agastya

Hacking is not someone who knows their way around the security flaws. I think you are confusing it with cracking -- those who crack the security system to exploit it. Hacking has never meant to exploit. Hacking is "playful cleverness" which may not even have anything to do with the computers.

You can think of hacking as jugaad, of how you can come up with something clever. Please consider reading the difference between hacker vs cracker, and the "hacker culture".

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akhilnaidu profile image
Akhil Naidu Author • Edited

The word exploit means "to make full use of something". In the above description, I'm trying to make others understand that it is about finding new ways.

You call so-called playful cleverness might look fancy, but it is not how it actually plays in real-life cybersecurity operations. This article is for serious hacking certification seekers, not for movie dreamers.

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acagastya profile image
Agastya

"Hacker", and "hacking" are terms which have been used even before computers existed. "playful cleverness" is not my definition, that is how hacking is defined. However, over the course of years and decades, the people involved in cyber-security came and hijacked the word to use it for something it does not mean.

I am not to judge whom this article is for, but surely, it uses the word "hacking" incorrectly.

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akhilnaidu profile image
Akhil Naidu Author

I still don't get your point. Hacker is actually a word used for computer parts thief; that is the actual truth.

Do you want me to use it?

You are just fawning on one of the many interpretations; ignore the fact you are a smart ass and accept the provisional truth. Don't play the game of words or synonyms.

I'm not here to debate a topic of the Origin of the Word Hacking or Hacker; I'm here to make others understand what textbooks, media, and in general, debates and workshops point out.

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acagastya profile image
Agastya

Hacker is actually a word used for computer parts thief; that is the actual truth.

Yes, it is used that way, because mainstream media and perople involved in cyber security hijacked the word "hacker" to give it a pejorative connotation.

And unfortunately, neither textbook, mainstream media or people involved in cyber-security are interested referring things accurately. It is not a game of words or synonyms. Synonyms would mean two different words have same meaning. That isn't the case here.

What you refer to as hacking is actually cracking. It would be better to use "Security cracker" in this context, and it would be really great if you could also spare a couple of lines highlighting the difference between a hacker and a security cracker.

But again, it is your article, and your decision how you would like to use the words.

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jcubic profile image
Jakub T. Jankiewicz • Edited

Read Wikipedia to learn more about Hackers, popular media describe hackers are those that hack into systems, but real hackers call them crackers. You can also find definition of hacker in Jargon File.

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akhilnaidu profile image
Akhil Naidu Author

Don't try to crave for a more suitable synonym for your needs; as a cybersecurity professional, I know what the connotation of the above definition says.

Why can't you just read under the words? Go and have a try from the links you provided.

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jcubic profile image
Jakub T. Jankiewicz • Edited

Cyber security professional !== hacker, you can work in cyber security and don't be a hacker. The same as you can be a hacker and don't work with cyber security.

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akhilnaidu profile image
Akhil Naidu Author • Edited

Dude, check what your wiki link says. Look at the caution it gives. Please do your research before imposing your thoughts.

Also, I never said a cybersecurity professional == hacker.

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jcubic profile image
Jakub T. Jankiewicz

I've wrote in first sentence:

A person who is able to discover a weakness in a system and manages to
exploit it is called a hacker and this process is known as Hacking.

Hacking is more then exploiting the system and finding weakness. Also I would call your description as the person that work in security (can be a hobby don't need to be paid work).

If you look at Wikipedia it say "security hacker" which probably what you mean. For instance I can hacking Lego and be called Lego hacker. Your description imply that hacker is only for computer systems you don't say that explicitly but you assume what other people will understand.
I know that Lego is the system and you can find the weakness of that system and do what the created never intent to do, but reading your whole article I don't have impression that you mean all the systems and not only computer systems.

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akhilnaidu profile image
Akhil Naidu Author

Yup, now I got the point of whole conversation with you and the others 😅

Anyways, I missed that detail and subconsciously I think I thought it was obvious 🤔

I would like to point out such differences and make my article related to security hacker. Does that seems ok?

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jcubic profile image
Jakub T. Jankiewicz

That would be great. Hacking and Hackers are so much wider terms and writing like Hacking is only about security don't give any favor to Hackers that don't do computer security.

There are great movies about Hackers that I recommend:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackers:_Wiz...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hackers_Are_...

First is old, it feature Steve Woznak and Richard Stallman and second one is about hackers at Def Con conference.

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alimammiya profile image
Alimam Miya

I describe what is hacking and the types of hackers in an easy way.

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