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Hackers

The term hacker has evolved from its original meaning of someone who applied knowledge to fix some technological problem to someone who uses technology, frequently the Internet, to perform some illegal activity. The terms hacker and cracker have been used interchangeably, and there is strong opinion among techies on what each actually means. This book considers a hacker someone who attempts to gain or does gain unauthorized access to a computer system or network. (Crackers are discussed later.) Access can be through different means, such as phone lines, the Internet, or wireless networks. Telephone hackers are normally referred to as phreakers that break into phone companies and get free telephone calls. Good hackers often know several programming languages and understand why technology works and what is lacking in technology when it comes to security features. Hackers explore the systems searching for misconfigurations, bugs, and holes in the operating systems that would allow them access.

The original hackers were intelligent programmers who could manipulate software to get the results they desired. Today's hackers use software to get what they want, but mostly for illegal purposes. Script kiddies is a term used for unskilled people who use software tools and instructions created by skilled programmers/hackers to take advantage of a system.


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