How can we define a hacker

Hackers: technology specialists or cyber criminals?

In the media, they are often portrayed wearing black hooded sweaters. They sit in front of a computer in dark rooms and penetrate foreign computer networks a. While incomprehensible columns of characters flicker across the monitor, a hack takes place.

Hacker means in everyday language a person who is using a computer Access to closed networks procured in order to steal or damage data there. But how do you hack? What exactly is Hacking and is it always illegal?

Hacking has a special meaning in Germany. The reason for this is Chaos Computer Club, a group of hackers. The registered association has been with the Opportunities for humanity busy who are stuck in computer technology. In the following guide you will learn what consequences a hacker attack can have and how Hacking programs work and what hackers have already done for society.

FAQ: Hackers

What exactly does hacking mean?

Here you can find out how the term hacking is defined and which circumstance hackers use for their deeds.

At which points do hackers try to gain access?

An overview of the accesses that hackers can use to gain access to your data can be found here.

How are hackers punished?

You can read about the legal situation for punishing a hacker in Germany here.

Hacking - A Definition

When hackers are portrayed on television, one thing becomes clear above all else: Hacking is complicated and most of the time it's about cybercrime. To that principle To understand how a WLAN is taken over by a hack, for example, it must first be assumed that any application on data processing devices, from word processing to password requests written program is.

Programs tend to be many lines of machine code with if-then functions. One or the other may appear in all of these lines of text Bug sneak in without restricting the functionality of the program. So there is also in the end no indication that a bug exists.

However, some errors cause programs to begin producing unexpected results under certain circumstances. Finding these unexpected results is a hacker's goal.

How is a hack prepared?

To one effective bug (exploit) To find an account with which, for example, an account can be hacked, a hacker must read the source code of the program read and understandwhich concept the developer used to develop the code. After familiarization, an experimentation phase begins. The program comes with different Lined inputs and pushed to its limits.

If an unexpected result can be found that keeps coming up with the same input, the hacker has found a bug. If this bug then also a effective effect it is also an exploit. This effect could be that one Skipped password query or data records are output that should not be visible.

What are the dangers of a hacker attack?

If a hacker or a group of hackers is aware of an exploit, different things can happen to it.

  • confidentiality: Some hackers look for bugs and exploits just for fun. They want to measure themselves against the developers and get to know the concepts of other programmers.
  • distribution: Some hackers disseminate their findings in special forums. There they exchange ideas with like-minded people and, for example, provide access to paid libraries online.
  • publication: Responsible hackers publish the bugs they find. This allows the errors to be eliminated and the statuses in the developer industry become visible. In the past, there have been spectacular discoveries, especially in software that is used by government agencies.
  • sale: The modern market has already reacted to the hackers and exposed so-called bug bounties. These bounties on mistakes are used by IT companies and also by secret services in order to have a head start in the competition for the most secure network and the best encryption. While the companies use the information to correct errors, the secret services use it specifically to gain access to protected networks.

With these possibilities it becomes clear that the damage potentialthat is in a hack is enormous. On the other hand, however, there is also the possible Benefit to society at least as great as the dangers.

Possible access points for hackers

In everyday language, the term hack is used to refer to many different types of attack. This overview is intended to briefly explain different ways of hacking.

  • Hack cellphone or phone - Access to memory, data and telephone connections of a landline or smartphone; comparable to police surveillance
  • Hack password - Gaining access through a brute force attack against a password-protected system
  • Hack computer or pc - Unlawful access to someone else's computer; usually bypassing an access restriction (password protection)
  • Hack website - Intrusion into a server system with the aim of changing a website stored there or copying a data store
  • Hack email - Reading or intercepting an email connection; Change of content or metadata (sender, time of sending, etc.)
  • Hack account - Taking over a single user account with a provider (YouTube, Twitter, etc.); mostly through insecure passwords or brute force programs
  • Hack router - Gaining access to a third-party router; In the past there have been many security gaps that were only closed after an incident
  • Hack server - Access to a foreign computer; comparable to hacking a PC
  • Hack network - intrusion into a network made up of several computers; Control over the data connections in the network

But besides hacking the computer, there is still other forms of hackingthat are often forgotten in the shadow of software. In the following part you will learn more about other forms of hacking, which can be just as damaging as a system failure caused by hacking.

Alternative hacking methods

The term hacking originally referred to the Using a device for a different purpose than the developer thought. The computer activist Wau Holland once said:

"A hacker is someone who tries to find a way to make toast with a coffee maker"

Nowadays the term hacker can be used meaningfully in almost any environment. Anywhere a man-made system works, a hacker can attack to gain access. The system doesn't even have to be electronic. In "social engineering", a hacker attacks a social system and uses so-called Life hacks, everyday life can be simplified for everyone.

Social engineering

The easiest option Hack password is to ask the owner for it. All too often people are willing to pass on access data. Since access security mostly perceived as annoying and the concept is not sufficiently clear, it has often been possible to hack passwords by asking for them. Is the owner of the password convinced that the questioner a good reason the key is often given out.

Social engineering becomes easier the more anonymous the group of people who can have a credible reason to need the password from the example or some other form of key. Often times, hackers use it to do this social networksin which the victims only too willingly publish private information, with whom then staged a common social basis becomes. In this way, against the background of a common past, the hacker can learn things that only insiders should be aware of.

Spotting - Strangers in the Office? They are definitely technicians

Another technique to get passwords and access is classic spying. Spotting and digging attacks have already fallen victim to many forms. Spotting in particular amazes those affected again and again, as many are not familiar with the Level of audacity calculate that is necessary for this. In this form of hacking, the hacker disguises himself as a supplier, technician or another stranger who is in the company for understandable reasons.

Once in the company's offices, they try to memorize as much of what they see. Spotters also pick up on this Cameras and other technical equipment back. Because of looser security regulations and the fact that mistakes happen, so can Passwords and other access data tapped become. This makes it easy to hack an account.

Digging - valuable information from garbage

Even outside of the operating rooms, people with sufficient criminal energy can find themselves Information about internal processes procure. Digging is the process of searching through garbage containers for usable documents and notes. The hackers usually get hold of them in a night-and-fog operation Access to the site, open garbage cans and use a flashlight to examine the trash for information that can be used to gain access.

These methods can be blocked by simple data security rules, such as professional document shredding. However, for many people the importance and remain the importance of IT security hidden. This makes humans the greatest security gap. A study in Germany and Luxembourg showed that almost every second person was willing to reveal their personal password for a bar of chocolate.

This result shows how little sensitivity to the topic of data security in terms of hacking exists. For this purpose, the position of data protection officer was created in the Data Protection Act. In operation, they ensure that every employee complies with data protection laws.

If a company has been hacked, there is an obligation to report it to the authorities. A data protection lawyer usually mediates when checking whether there has been negligence on the part of the company.

The legal situation - data protection and the hacker paragraph

The German Data Protection Act (BDSG) obliges people who process large amounts of data to protect the data. Likewise, the illegality of unauthorized access is im Criminal Code (StGB) regulated. As a sub-item of Section 202 of the Criminal Code (secrecy of letters), in Sections 202a to 202c, intercepting, spying on and preparing for such an act is made a punishable offense. Since the secrecy of telecommunications is a constitutional right, an attack on it is directed against state law.

In particular, Section 202c of the Criminal Code is included in criticism to be too general and imprecise. The programs developed by a hacker that Exploit security vulnerabilities, are prohibited by this law. More precisely, production, procurement, sale, transfer, processing and making available are punishable. The area of ​​application is not delimited and no legal use the hacker software, not even for testing your own programs for security in IT. Companies that specifically look for vulnerabilities and want to offer protection could benefit from legal use of such software.

The ethics of the hackers

Since the hacking scene has been developing since the 1980s, many hack-tivists (linguistic mixture of hacker and activist) have already come to terms with the Hacker ethics dealt with. It was first described in the 1984 novel "Hacker". Since then there has been a lot of discussion about which principles are acceptable. At the beginning there were six points, after which one Company of hackers should judge.

  • Free access to computers
  • Free access to knowledge
  • Meritocratic appreciation (skills are the measure of status in the group)
  • Decentralization and distrust of central authorities
  • It is possible to create art and beauty with computers
  • The spread of technology is making the earth a better place

These rules are still hotly debated in hacker groups today. It is argued which points are absolutely necessary and which utopian wishful thinking are.

So the hackers and Haeksen (female hackers) of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) authored and published their own variant of the hacker ethic.

  • Access to computers and anything that can show you how the world works should be unlimited and complete.
  • All information must be free
  • Suspicious authorities - encourage decentralization
  • Judge a hacker by what he does, not the usual criteria like appearance, age, race, gender, or social status.
  • You can create art and beauty with a computer.
  • Computers can change your life for the better.
  • Don't litter other people's data
  • Use public data, protect private data

The history of the German hackers - Der Chaos Computer Club (CCC)

The history of German hacker scene is characterized by a constant up and down. The group's first effective media campaign took place in 1984. The Btx hack showed the German population how insecure the Bundespost system was, with which early forms of online banking were already possible.

Intercepting and collecting data automatically, as can be done with a device called a WiFi hacker, contradicts the hacker ethics.

Due to a bug in the programming, the Btx system issued access data and passwords in clear text under certain circumstances. That way, the CCC was able to do it in one night Loot 135,000 DM. After the action was exposed by the club itself, the money was returned.

Since then, the members of the group, which has since blossomed into a registered association, are no longer regarded as potentially dangerous hackers, but as Experts in data protection and security. Again and again they are invited to the Bundestag to speak there as experts. The CCC also has a mostly well-founded opinion on other socially relevant topics that are even remotely related to electronic data processing, and they operate many charitable projects.

Social engagement of the hackers in the German scene

Due to the influence of the CCC and its approach of the decentralization, many hackers feel attached to the association and its principles. Various projects that have their origins in the CCC have generated media coverage. For example the installation Blinkenlights, which made the teacher's house on Alexanderplatz in Berlin shine in 2001. A year later the action was repeated in Paris and in 2008 in Toronto. With Blinkenlights one of the Principles of the Hacker Ethics made clear. It is possible to create art and beauty with computers.

Another achievement of the hacking group is to repeatedly point out the deficient situation in various areas of government and legislation. So the statement of the German government that the Fingerprint in the identity card is a sure means of identification is refuted. Proof was a fingerprint of Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, which was stolen and published. Along with the print there was a manual on how fingerprints can be placed artificially. This showed that the fingerprint as evidence in court is not infallible.

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Hackers: technology specialists or cyber criminals?
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