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What is a Hacker? (In simple, layman’s terms)

What is a hacker?

Today ‘hacker’ has a negative, fearful connotation so I’m guessing you’d be surprised if I told you that the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were originally classed as ‘hackers’.

A hacker is essentially someone who gets into a computer system and find new ways to use the programme by creating something new or utilising something already existing.

Back in the 1960’s hackers were revolutionaries. The people like Bill Gates & Steve Jobs were the reasons we have the technology we do today. There are however undoubtedly differing ethical levels of hackers. Let’s call them the Good Hacker, the Bad Hacker and the Ugly Hacker.

The Good Hackers

are legitimate, employed individuals who hack a company’s computer system with their permission. They work for the large organisations, the governments and education faculties and test out their security so that they can highlight, and correct, weaknesses that the Bad or Ugly Hackers may be on the lookout for.

The Bad Hacker

is your cyber criminal. There the ones who are surfing the net for financial gain or just for the pure thrill of the ride.

The Ugly Hacker

is someone who has the curiosity of the original hackers, the Lone Ranger in their bedroom say, who has the potential to become a Good or a Bad Hacker.

It is of course the ‘Bad Hacker’ that as a business you need to be most aware of. Indeed recent research has found that ‘Bad Hackers’ have shifted their focus from the immense multi-nationals because the ‘Good Hackers’ are doing such a great job of securing their online assets and setting their sights on the middle-level companies where the weaknesses are being identified and shored up.

Apparently, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were bordering for a while on the ‘dark’ side, but they changed course and headed for the light!

What we need to do is make sure that our websites make it as difficult as possible for the ‘Bad Hackers’ as possible.

Find out next week about the different ways the Bad Hackers infiltrate websites and leave their mark.

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