Imagination is more important than knowledge.

18th April 2018

What Hackers Do in Real Life

Let me put it this way – if by some chance you spot what looks suspiciously like a hacker, all hooded up in some dark corner of a coffee shop and they’re typing away rapidly, you’re not looking at a real life hacker. They’re just putting on a show, much like how Hollywood likes to portray hackers. It’s all for theatre – the sweat inducing rapid typing which fills the black console-like screen with neon-green text and the apparent desire to get into some “mainframe” or something.

It’s all for theatrical effect and it certainly makes the lives of hackers look way more interesting than they actually are.

In reality, hackers’ lives aren’t that interesting at all; whether it’s so-called white hat hackers we’re talking about or the black-hat hackers – the white-hat hackers of course being ethical hackers who are looking for loopholes in digital security systems so that they can help beef up the security, while the black hat hackers are more accurately referred to as crackers. Black hat hackers are trying to break into computer systems to steal information, money or just perhaps wreak a bit of havoc to send a message, like so-called hacktivists.

What hackers do in real life is far less exciting and a whole lot more boring. If a so-called real life hacker is using that rapid-typing approach then it’s just for show and chances are they’re really just bored of what they would otherwise have to spend their time doing.

Brute force attacks

This may (or may not) be where the rapid typing depicted on TV gets its inspiration, with brute force attacks entailing the typing in of all the possible combinations for something like someone’s password in a bid to gain access to whatever platform they have password-protected. Hackers don’t quite type the different combinations in manually anymore, using brute force software to do that for them automatically.

DDos attacks

Similarly to brute force attacks, a piece of software is often used to carry out DDos attacks, but these particular attacks are on web servers. Bucket loads of traffic are sent to a server so that the site crashes as a result of the server not being able to handle all those requests. It’s boring work as well…

Injection attacks

Injection attacks may be a bit more fun than any other hacking technique because as the hacker you attempt to create malicious algorithms which are designed to trick the existing ones forming part of the software to do something which you want as opposed to what they were originally designed to do. It can also get boring very quickly though because you often don’t get any visible response if your attack worked or not.

Phishing traps

This might also be a bit more fun and entails trying to trick people into giving you their security credentials, such as the password which matches their username on a specific password-protected platform. If you look in your SPAM folder right now you might find some bait emails which are designed to lead you into a phishing scam.

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