Ethical Hackers- who are these dudes anyway?

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By KD – Indian security expert.Hackers5.

Hackers! Who are these guys? Hacking is not limited to just computers. Infact, it was never for computers. Hacking refers to genetic mutations, phone tapping, etc. But we will stick to discussing the computer hackers who live amongst us.

Types of Hackers

There are many types of hackers…. The one who seeks after knowledge, the one who challenges the system, a rebel with a cause and someone who has mastered the art of deception. However,they appear to others in the guise of a fiend, or a crook, or someone who will try to win your trust and burrow into your life, taking what they need and leaving without a trace.

Hackers are not just computer specialists. Infact, one of the most famous hackers, Kevin Mitnick, was a  master of “social engineering”, which is all about playing mind-games. These types of hackers are like cyber-psychologists, priding themselves on having a clear understanding of how a human mind works and of the different types of people that exist.

“Social engineering” can be seen at work anywhere, even at your local club, a one liner at the right time, to the right person, snapping up the opportunity or creating one, can result in great ride (yep! choose your own definition for ‘ride’)!

Computer enthusiasts aka Hobby Hackers

We will talk about hackers who are mainly ‘hobby hackers’ or ‘computer enthusiasts’, their mentality, what drives them to think differently and how to recognize one.

Hackers are notorious rogue ‘testers’ whose sole motto in life is to ‘bypass’. They achieve their objectives by using their ability to deceive, combined with their technical and analytical skills.

Typically a hobby hacker challenges a “system” which is deemed secured; then releases a full disclosure of the vulnerability.

The security administrator of the system releases the patch work and claims that the  system is now secured. Usually the hacker comes back, tests again and claims that the security administrator is still wrong; that’s when the chase begins.

Upcoming hackers or ‘script kiddies’  as we call them, will use information put up by a hacker on full disclosure, to burrow into systems which haven’t installed their patches and then credit themselves for finally ‘hacking into the system’.

Reasons for hacking

People learn to hack for various reasons. Some claim that they are merely curious, some like to claim patriotism; some claim that they learn how to secure themselves  by testing and implementing such ‘techniques’. Fact is, everyone just wants to learn ‘how to break a lock’.

We humans are against CCTV put up by the government but do not hesitate in installing CCTV as per our first to-do list whilst setting up their new shop! Ironically, we fancy our privacy but do not hesitate in turning to page 3 on daily newspaper and we often widen our eyes when we read celebrity gossip or a racy article about a government minister stuck in a personal life scandal.

Breaking a Lock

The art of breaking any lock is like being the ring bearer from the Lord of the Rings. It’s a trap where only the strong at heart can survive.  Hackers are people who are lured into lock breaking.

The myth of ethical hacking.

Ethical hacking is a myth There is nothing ethical about burrowing into  a system without permission. In fact you wouldn’t be” hacking” into it if you were permitted at all.

Some people makes use of ‘techniques’ to bypass by exploiting security gaps, even if it means that it is for their own good or even if it just means that they wanted to just ‘report’ it. When someone claims that ethical hacking is a process of developing more secured systems then we can further argue that security is a myth too!

Security is a feeling and feelings are not guaranteed, they change. Coming back to our hacker…There are some idiots who deface websites. They are usually just some kid trying to achieve fame. For example, an epic failed hack attempt was the one about an Indian boy who hacked Australian RAAF website in protest to racist attacks and ended up writing his real name along with his ‘message’. A ninja seen is a ninja failed!

Hackers are not underground kids who play counter strike all their life. I would suggest that in some way each one of us are hackers. Hacking is all about knowledge, patience, curiosity and perspective all put together to achieve something.

You clicked on this blog because you were curious, I allured you into reading up to this line by introducing about how to recognize a hacker – you displayed patience.Good hacker qualities. Curiosity,patience and persistence.

And… as a matter of perspective, we need to understand one sublety…hacking and ‘intrusion’ are two different things. We will discuss  ‘intruders’ and who they are in our next installment. Stay tuned.

“The evolution of cyber world, new technologies & latest hacking techniques has introduced great opportunity and significant risk to our lives. Everyone from IT personnel, youth & common users are confronted by complex and critical choices of ethics and responsibility for which they may be little prepared. Hacker5 presents the reality of those choices and their consequences.”