What does a hacker really do?

SUMMARY: Ed Wilson talks about what hackers really do.

What do hackers really do?

  1. Well, for one thing it kind of depends on what kind of hacker one is talking about. As a writer, it is important to get this type of detail correct. If one is writing about a Script Kiddie don’t have them writing custom code to break into the NSA’s central database. It simply will not happen.
  2. For a second thing, it really depends on the target of the hack. If the object is to score free wireless access while hanging out in the hotel lobby (instead of paying the legalized robbery rate of $25.00 for a calendar day – and not even a 24 hour day) then the technique will be quite different than if the object is a pharmaceutical company web site.  
  3. For a third thing, it depends on the purpose of the hack. If the purpose is to embarrass, or otherwise call attention to something, then stealth may not be an issue. If on the other hand, the purpose is to steal trade secrets, or military secrets, the goal may be to prolong discovery.
  4. For a fourth thing, it depends on intent. Is the purpose of the hack to get in, or to shut down the system, and therefore prevent others from getting in. System shut downs are called Denial Of Service (DOS) attacks. In the past these were pretty easy to do, but most commercial, military and government systems are designed with lots of built in redundancy, and so they are harder to pull off. They are still attempted, as anyone who has ever read a router or firewall log can attest.

Well, I need to go for now. Join me tomorrow when I will talk about specific techniques that hackers employ.  Until then I hope you have a wonderful day.

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