The Hacker Toolbox

The ILOVEYOU Computer Virus was a malicious program that plagued computers worldwide and caused millions of dollars in damages.
The ILOVEYOU Computer Virus was a malicious program that plagued computers worldwide and caused millions of dollars in damages.

The main resource hackers rely upon, apart from their own ingenuity, is computer code. While there is a large community of hackers on the Internet, only a relatively small number of hackers actually program code. Many hackers seek out and download code written by other people. There are thousands of different programs hackers use to explore computers and networks. These programs give hackers a lot of power over innocent users and organizations -- once a skilled hacker knows how a system works, he can design programs that exploit it.

Malicious hackers use programs to:

  • Hack passwords: There are many ways to hack someone's password, from educated guesses to simple algorithms that generate combinations of letters, numbers and symbols. The trial and error method of hacking passwords is called a brute force attack, meaning the hacker tries to generate every possible combination to gain access. Another way to hack passwords is to use a dictionary attack, a program that inserts common words into password fields.
  • Infect a computer or system with a virus: Computer viruses are programs designed to duplicate themselves and cause problems ranging from crashing a computer to wiping out everything on a system's hard drive. A hacker might install a virus by infiltrating a system, but it's much more common for hackers to create simple viruses and send them out to potential victims via email, instant messages, Web sites with downloadable content or peer-to-peer networks.
  • Log keystrokes: Some programs allow hackers to review every keystroke a computer user makes. Once installed on a victim's computer, the programs record each keystroke, giving the hacker everything he needs to infiltrate a system or even steal someone's identity.
  • Gain backdoor access: Similar to hacking passwords, some hackers create programs that search for unprotected pathways into network systems and computers. In the early days of the Internet, many computer systems had limited security, making it possible for a hacker to find a pathway into the system without a username or password. Another way a hacker might gain backdoor access is to infect a computer or system with a Trojan horse.
  • Create zombie computers: A zombie computer, or bot, is a computer that a hacker can use to send spam or commit Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. After a victim executes seemingly innocent code, a connection opens between his computer and the hacker's system. The hacker can secretly control the victim's computer, using it to commit crimes or spread spam.
  • Spy on e-mail: Hackers have created code that lets them intercept and read e-mail messages -- the Internet's equivalent to wiretapping. Today, most e-mail programs use encryption formulas so complex that even if a hacker intercepts the message, he won't be able to read it.

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Comments 2 comments

Trojan Horse Removal 8 years ago

To prevent getting Trojan Horse's I would suggest having some software installed in your pc to scan and stop these threats from entering your system.I find Spyware Remover a great tool for removing and scanning for Trojan Horse's and I would recommend using this product to remove and prevent further Trojan Horse's from entering your pc.


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dwolters 8 years ago from Portland, OR

I would add the real definition to hacker to this hub! Hackers nowadays are people who are able to work their way around programming or a system, but build reputation by contributing to the community such as open source projects! (A little different than the acne-infested teens that use 1337 sp34k) I'd say the ones you are talking about are crackers and vandals!

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