What is Computer Hacking

Computer hacking is a marvelous piece of art, practiced by prodigies in the field of computers. Read on to know what it actually is.
Techspirited Staff
Last Updated: Aug 1, 2018
A trip to the world of computer hacking, whether ethical or unethical, can be a fascinating experience for any individual. The term is often perceived as glamorous and chic, despite its darker side.
Computer hacking is basically an alteration of hardware or software, in order to accomplish a goal which is outside the creator's original purpose.
A standalone machine is less vulnerable to hacking, as compared to one on a private or public network. In case of standalone machines, it is necessary to get the hands on the machine, whereas, in case of machines on a network, unauthorized access can be gained without actually handling the machine.
The Art of Hacking
Computer hacking is both an art and science, for the people who try to break into protected or unprotected networks. Art, because it involves creativity, which is equivalent to the painting of a beautiful landscape, and science, because of its technical aspects.
People practicing unethical hacking, generally tend to steal personal information, change a corporation's financial data, break security codes to gain unauthorized network access, or conduct other destructive activities.
There are two kinds of people who indulge in hacking, namely those who develop an interest in it out of simple intellectual curiosity, and others with less noble motives. However, the common traits amongst all hackers is that they are tech savvy, are willing to take the risks, and are passionate about various programming languages.
Computer hacking invariably involves some degree of infringement on the privacy of others, breaching the network security, and causing damage to confidential files, web pages or software. It may also involve downloading or altering files through unauthorized access, and the impact from such activities will vary from being simply inquisitive to being illegal.
However, many big companies often hire a team of hackers, in order to probe into their own loopholes. These individuals use their skills to find flaws in the company's security system, and to prevent them from getting discovered by unethical hackers. In most cases, ethical hacking helps to prevent identity theft and other serious crimes.
Types of Hackers
Depending on the domain of their work, there are basically three types of hackers. A white hat hacker is the one who breaks security for non-malicious purposes. These purposes may range from testing the security system, to finding the major loopholes in the network. Such people normally follow the legitimate ways and work within the precincts of cyber laws.
The second category includes the black hat hackers, who generally subvert computer security without authorization, with the help of viruses and various other hacking tools. These hackers use technology for vandalism, credit card fraud, or identity theft.
The third category includes gray hat hackers, whose domain of work lies mid-way between black hat and white hat hackers. They are of ambiguous ethics and work on the borderline of legality.
Skills Required
The best way to learn hacking is to master programming languages like Python, C/C++, Java, Perl, and LISP, because these particular languages teach the programmer a very different approach towards problem solving and algorithms. This in turn provides a stronger hold on the machine and its components.
However, it is not possible to reach the skill level of a hacker, just by accumulating various languages in the knowledge box. It is important to learn the algorithms and working of computers in general. It is also necessary to gain knowledge about the operating system and the various important files which are used by it.
Hacking is an interesting way to discover the myriad of latent aspects of the wonderful world of computers. The more one tries to learn about it, the more one gets inquisitive about the different domains he can probe into. However, one should always try to understand and follow cyber laws, before trying out one's hand at hacking.