Hacker: technology specialist or cyber criminal?

Hackers can cause damage through theft, extortion or vandalism

Hackers can cause damage through theft, extortion or vandalism.

They are often portrayed in the media wearing a black hooded sweater. sit in front of a computer in a dark room and penetrate a foreign computer networks a. While incomprehensible columns of characters flicker across the monitor, a hack is taking place.

hacker, in everyday language, refers to a person who uses computer access to closed networks procured, in order to steal or damage data there. But how does hacking? What exactly is Hacking and is it always illegal?

In Germany hacking has a special meaning. The reason for this is the Chaos Computer Club, a hacker group. Since it was founded in the 1980s, the registered association has been concerned with the Chances for mankind employed in the computer technology. In the following guide you will learn what consequences a hacker attack can have, how Hacker programs how hackers work and what they have already done for society.

FAQ: Hacker

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

An overview of the accesses hackers can use to get to your data can be found here.

How the law looks to punish a hacker in Germany, you can read here.

Hacking – A Definition

When hackers are portrayed on television, one thing above all becomes clear: hacking is complicated and it is mostly about cybercrime. Around the Principle to understand how, for example, a WLAN is taken over by a hack, it must first be assumed that any application on data-processing devices, from word processing to password retrieval, a written program is.

Programs are usually many lines of machine code with if-then functions. In all these lines of text one or the other can imagine Error (Bug) creep in, without restricting the functionality of the program. So in the end there are also no indication that a bug exists.

How to prepare a hack?

Hackers seem to be a permanent threat to computers

Hackers seem to be a permanent danger to the computer.

In order to effective bugs (exploit) to find a program that can be used, for example, to hack an account, a hacker must download the source code of the program read and understand, with which concept the developer has developed the code. After the familiarization, an experimentation phase begins. The program is started with different fed input and pushed to its limits.

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

What are the dangers of a hacker attack?

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

  • Secrecy: Some hackers search for bugs and exploits just for fun. The point is for them to compete with developers and learn the concepts of other programmers.
  • Distribution: Some hackers disseminate their findings in special forums. There they exchange information with like-minded people and, for example, post access to paid libraries online.
  • PublishingResponsible hackers publish the bugs they find. This way the bugs can be eliminated and the conditions in the developer industry can be exposed. Especially in the case of software used by government agencies, spectacular discoveries have been made in the past.
  • Sale: The modern market has already reacted to the hackers and suspended so-called bug bounties. These bounties on bugs are used by IT companies and also by intelligence agencies to have an edge in the competition for the most secure network and encryption. While companies use the information to fix bugs, intelligence agencies use it specifically to gain access to protected networks.

With these possibilities, it becomes clear that The potential for damage, that is enormous in a hack. On the other hand, however, the possible Benefit for the society at least as big as the dangers.

Possible access points for hackers

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

  • Hack cell phone or phone – Access to memory, data and telephone connections of a landline phone or smartphone; comparable to surveillance by the police
  • password hacking – Obtaining access by a brute force attack against a password protected system
  • Hack computer or PC – Unlawfully accessing someone else’s computer; usually by bypassing an access restriction (password protection)
  • Website hacking – Penetrating a server system with the aim of changing a website stored there or copying a data store
  • Email hacking – Reading or intercepting an email connection; altering content or metadata (sender, time of sending, etc.)
  • Account hack – Taking over a single user account at a provider (YouTube, Twitter o.a.); mostly using insecure passwords or brute force programs
  • Hacking a router – gaining access to someone else’s router; in the past, there were many security holes that were closed only after an incident occurred
  • Server hacking – Access to a foreign computer; comparable to hacking a PC
  • Network hacking – penetration into a network of several computers; control over data connections in the network

But besides computer hacking there are other forms of hacking, which are often forgotten in the shadows of the software. In the following part you will learn more about other forms of hacking, but they can be just as harmful as the failure of a system by hacking.

Alternative hacking methods

Even an analog hack, i.e. without a computer, can cause damage

Even an analog hack, i.e. without a computer, can cause damage.

The term hacking originally referred to the Using a device for another purpose than the developer has thought of. Computer activist Wau Holland once said:

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

Nowadays, the term hacker can be used in a meaningful way in almost any environment. Wherever a man-made system works, a hacker can start to find gain access. The system does not even have to be electronic to do this. In "social engineering," a hacker attacks a social system and with so-called Life hacks, can make everyday life easier for everyone.

Social Engineering

The easiest way to gain password hacking consists in asking it from the owner. All too often, people are willing to share access data. Since access guarding is mostly found to be a nuisance and the concept is not sufficiently clear, it has often been possible to hack passwords by asking for them. If the owner of the password is convinced that the questioner is a good reason the key is often given out.

Social engineering becomes easier the more anonymous the group of people who may have a credible reason to need the password from the example or some other form of key. Often hackers use social networks, in which victims are all too willing to publish private information, which is then used to A common social foundation is staged becomes. Thus, against the backdrop of a shared past, the hacker can learn things that should only be known to insiders.

Spotting – strangers in the office? They are certainly technicians

Another technique to get passwords and accesses is to the classic spying. Many forms have already fallen victim to spotting or digging attacks. Especially spotting astonishes the victims again and again, because 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 other foreign person who is on the premises for understandable reasons.

Once inside the company’s premises, they try to memorize as much as possible of what they see. Thereby spotters also seize Cameras and other technical equipment back. Because of loose security regulations and the fact that mistakes can happen, so passwords and other access data tapped become. This makes it easy to hack an access point.

Digging – valuable information from garbage

Even garbage can be valuable. Passwords and other data are written down and eventually end up in the trash

Garbage can also be valuable. Passwords and other data are written down and eventually end up in the trash.

Even outside the company premises, people with sufficient criminal energy can Information about internal operations procure. Digging refers to the process of scouring dumpsters for usable documents and notes. Mostly in a night and fog action the hackers procure themselves access to the site, open trash cans and, by the light of a flashlight, examine the paper trash for information that can be used to gain access.

These methods can be blocked by simple data security rules, such as professional file destruction. However, many people remain unaware of the importance and the importance of IT security hidden. Thus, the human being becomes the biggest security vulnerability. A study in Germany and Luxembourg showed that almost one in two people were willing to give away their personal password for a bar of chocolate.

This result shows how little sensitivity to the issue of data security in relation to hacking exists. For this purpose the position of the data protection officer was created in the Data Protection Act. At work, they make sure that every employee respects the laws of data protection.

The legal situation – data protection and the hacker paragraph

The German law stipulates the so-called hacker paragraph in § 202c

In German law, the so-called hacker paragraph is stipulated in § 202c.

The German Data Protection Act (BDSG) obligates people who process large amounts of data to protect the data they. Likewise, the illegality of unauthorized access in the Criminal Code (StGB) regulated. As a subsection of § 202 of the German Penal Code (secrecy of correspondence), paragraphs § 202a to § 202c criminalize interception, spying and the preparation of such an act. Since the secrecy of telecommunications is a constitutional right, an attack on it is against the state law.

Especially § 202c StGB states in the criticism being too general and imprecise. The programs developed by a hacker, the Exploit security vulnerabilities, are forbidden by this law. More precisely, the production, procurement, sale, transfer, processing, and making available are punishable. Thereby the scope of application is not delimited and No legal use of the hacker software is possible, not even for testing their own programs for security in IT. Companies that are specifically looking for vulnerabilities and want to offer protection could benefit from legal use of such software.

The ethics of hackers

As the scene of hackers has been developing since the 1980s, many hack-tivists (linguistic mixture of hacker and activist) have already become involved with the hacker ethics dealt with. It was first described in the 1984 novel Hacker. Since then, there has been much debate about which principles are acceptable. In the beginning there were six points, according to which a Company of hackers is supposed to direct.

  • 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 makes the earth a better place

Different variants of hacker ethics can be found on the net

Several variants of the hacker ethic can be found on the web.

Even today these rules are hotly debated in hacker groups. There are arguments about which points are mandatory and which are utopian wishful thinking are.

Thus, the hackers and Haeksen (female. hacker) of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) hackers wrote and published their own variant of the hacker ethics.

  • Access to computers and anything that can show you how the world works should be unlimited and complete.
  • All information must be free
  • Distrust authorities – promote decentralization
  • Judge a hacker by what he does, not by common criteria such as 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 trash other people’s data
  • Use public data, protect private data

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

The history of German hacker scene is characterized by constant ups and downs. The group’s first media action took place as early as 1984. The Btx hack demonstrated to the German population how insecure the Bundespost system was, with which early forms of online banking were already possible.

Due to a bug in the programming, the Btx system output access data and passwords as plain text under certain circumstances. In this way, the CCC could in one night 135.Capture DM 000. After the action was uncovered by the club itself, the money was returned.

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

Social commitment of hackers in the German scene

The CCC teaches media literacy to children at schools in its own projects

The CCC teaches media literacy to children at schools in its own projects.

Due to the influence of the CCC and their approach of Decentralization, many hackers feel a strong affinity to the association and its principles. Various projects originating in the CCC have generated media resonance. For example, the installation Blinkenlights, which in 2001 lit up the teacher’s house on Alexanderplatz in Berlin. A year later the action was repeated in Paris, in 2008 in Toronto. With Blinkenlights one of the Principles of hacker ethics Clarifies. It is possible to create art and beauty with computers.

Another achievement of the hacker group is to repeatedly point out the deficient situation in various areas of government and legislation. Thus the statement of the German government that the Fingerprint in identity card is a reliable means of identification, disproved. Proof was a fingerprint of the Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schauble, which was stolen and published. Along with the print, there were instructions on how to place fingerprints artificially. This showed that the fingerprint as evidence in court is not infallible.

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