Welcome to another edition of Privacy Notes.
In this weekend’s Privacy Notes we would be talking about Hacking. I do not mean a “hacking” dry cough or the operation of working over the faces of rough or worn grindstones with a “hack-hammer”. I am referring to an unauthorized attempt to bypass security mechanisms of an information system or network.
Hacking is an attempt to exploit a computer system or a private network inside a computer. It is the unauthorised access to or control over computer network security systems for some illicit purpose. In simple terms, Hacking refers to the misuse of devices like computers, smartphones, tablets, and networks to cause damage to or corrupt systems, gather information on users, steal data and documents, or disrupt data-related activity.
The process of Hacking identifies weaknesses in a computer system or a network to exploit the security to gain access to Personal Data or confidential information. An example of computer hacking can be: using a password cracking algorithm to gain access to a computer system.
According to Britannica, the scale of hacking crimes is among the most difficult to assess because the victims often prefer not to report the crimes—sometimes out of embarrassment or fear of further security breaches. Officials estimate, however, that hacking costs the world economy billions of dollars annually. Hacking is not always an outside job—a related criminal endeavour involves individuals within corporations or government bureaucracies deliberately altering database records for either profit or political objectives.
A few of the most common types of hackers that carry out these activities involve:
- Black Hat Hackers. Black hat hackers are the “bad guys” of the hacking scene. They go out of their way to discover vulnerabilities in computer systems and software to exploit them for financial gain or for more malicious purposes, such as to gain reputation, carry out corporate espionage, or as part of a nation-state hacking campaign. These individuals’ actions can inflict serious damage on both computer users and the organizations they work for. They can steal sensitive personal information, compromise computer and financial systems, and alter or take down the functionality of websites and critical networks.
- White Hat Hackers. White hat hackers can be seen as the “good guys” who attempt to prevent the success of black hat hackers through proactive hacking. They use their technical skills to break into systems to assess and test the level of network security, also known as ethical hacking. This helps expose vulnerabilities in systems before black hat hackers can detect and exploit them. The techniques white hat hackers use is similar to or even identical to those of black hat hackers, but these individuals are hired by organizations to test and discover potential holes in their security defences. These individuals’ actions can inflict serious damage on both computer users and the organizations they work for. They can steal sensitive personal information, compromise computer and financial systems, and alter or take down the functionality of websites and critical networks.
- Grey Hat Hackers. Grey hat hackers sit somewhere between the good and the bad guys. Unlike black hat hackers, they attempt to violate standards and principles but without intending to do harm or gain financially. Their actions are typically carried out for the common good. For example, they may exploit a vulnerability to raise awareness that it exists, but unlike white hat hackers, they do so publicly. This alerts malicious actors to the existence of the vulnerability.
Thank you for reading to this point.
See you in a bit.