Hacking And Cracking Definitionwillbrown

Dec 02, 2002 Hacking and cracking is not the same. The only similarity is that you can do it with a computer. White hat hacking is referred to those that deal in counter-hacking and black hat refers to those that use the skill for illegal theft and or illegal service denials or what ever the case. Hacking is a particular type of illegal activity which endangers the privacy and security of important on line information.Hacking challenges the utility of the mechanisms which are used to secure a communication network. It is important here to note that although hacking is used interchangeably with cracking, both are different. The term “cracking” means trying to get into computer systems in order to steal, corrupt, or illegitimately view data. The popular press refers to such activities as hacking, but hackers see themselves as expert, elite programmers and maintain that such illegitimate activity should be called “cracking.”. What is Hacking and Cracking in Cybersecurity? Sometimes the definition of a word changes over the years. For example, the word “fun” today means to have a good time or engage in an enjoyable activity. But in the 17th century the word actually meant, “to cheat or hoax.”.

What is Hacking and Cracking in Cybersecurity? Sometimes the definition of a word changes over the years. For example, the word “fun” today means to have a good time or engage in an enjoyable activity. But in the 17th century the word actually meant, “to cheat or hoax.”.

And who are these malicious attackers? Well, according to the media, they’re the hackers. We’re living in a time when the media uses the term “hacker” in a primarily derogatory sense, to describe cybercriminals, the ones we must fight against, the bad guys who put our valuable private information at risk.

Never mind that we’re not likely to take the necessary steps to protect that information, but that’s a different subject…


So who are the hackers? Is the term even being used correctly?

The definition of a hacker may vary depending on who you ask, but in most cases involving media coverage, they’re actually talking about “crackers.”

So now we need to ask, are the terms “hacker” and “cracker” that different? And if so, what are the methodologies that separate them?

To truly understand their similarities and differences, we first need to learn what hackers and crackers are. And that is precisely what we’ll be discussing in today’s post.

What is a hacker?

If we turn to the formal definition in the Internet Users’ Glossary under RFC 1392, a hacker is “A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system, computers and computer networks in particular. The term is often misused in a pejorative context, where ‘cracker’ would be the correct term.”

In simpler terms, a hacker is someone who uses his/her skills and knowledge to find vulnerabilities in computer systems and helps improve and patch those vulnerabilities. The knowledge they possess about programming, various computer languages, code and general computer security is advanced and used for morally good purposes. They’re normally security professionals who can be hired by organizations to try and break into their systems, to audit DNS and their networks so they can identify any flaws they may have. They’re often employed as part of the red team and blue team.

When hackers find a vulnerability or a threat, they document the process and notify the organization who hired them, or the software vendor who built the system, so that the vulnerability can be fixed before being exploited by malicious actors.

We often see the term white hat, or ethical hacker, linked to these good guys who use their skills for defense purposes.

Hacker’s motivation

Hackers are those who build and create. They learn and discover different computer systems, networks and often have previous experience in programming which only adds to their extensive knowledge. They build secure environments.

The saying “know your attacker” is never truer than when talking about hackers and their work; they use the same tools, software and even techniques as crackers. Hackers know what attackers look for when they’re planning an attack, so they can proactively protect against them. They build software and tools that might even be the same ones that crackers use, but they use them to improve security, not break it.

The approach hackers take is also similar to the one crackers use; they get into systems and networks to find loopholes in security, but the motivation behind their actions is purely non-malicious and ethical. They work with permission from the company who owns the system they’re trying to break, and who is always informed of the end results. Because of hackers, vulnerabilities can be patched and threats avoided. Hackers’ practices don’t involve anything illegal and don’t damage any data they come in contact with; they utilize their skills for a positive benefit.

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What is a cracker?

Let’s now jump to the formal definition of a cracker: “A cracker is an individual who attempts to access computer systems without authorization. These individuals are often malicious, as opposed to hackers, and have many means at their disposal for breaking into a system.”

Crackers are also called “black hats.” They look for backdoors in programs and systems, exploit those backdoors, and steal private information for use in a malicious way.

While hackers work to help organizations and individuals secure their systems and networks, crackers have a different objective in mind. When they break the security of a network, they do it illegally without the owner’s permission and they do it for personal gain. The skills and knowledge they possess are used expressly to breach security with malicious intent. Their goal may be to steal credit card information, to get private data that can be leveraged for illegal activity, to get private data and sell it, or to simply destroy the data.

Crackers are the culprits who engage in cybercrime; they launch phishing campaigns on company employees, and crack devices ranging from routers and laptops to printers and fax machines to get into an organization’s network. They often prey on companies when they’re at their most vulnerable, such as during mergers and acquisitions, or they attack vendors in an organization’s supply chain as they’re most often the weakest link.

All attack vectors for crackers have the same final outcome: obtaining data illegally. The data can be compromised, but not always — as crackers can have different motivations behind their illegal activities.

What motivates crackers?

Hackers create, crackers break and destroy. Crackers are often driven by financial gain: we’re largely familiar with ransomware attacks where a cracker breaks into a system through phishing email and a malicious attachment, then blocks access to a computer or data and threatens the victim with exposing their private data if a ransom is not paid. Some crackers will also steal credit card information, or any other private information they can use, to access victims’ bank accounts and steal money from them.

There are, of course, other motivations that push crackers to engage in illegal activity. There are cases where crackers have breached a network merely to show off and gain publicity. With so much of the media covering breaches, it’s no surprise that many will want to use that to make themselves “famous”, especially since some types of cybercrime don’t require a high level of skill. We can also find crackers who want to break software by reverse engineering, to exploit its weaknesses. And there are also some who do it just for fun.

While hackers work to help organizations and individuals secure their systems and networks, crackers have a different objective in mind.

Yes, there are crackers out there who will break a system merely to show off their skills, without a single intention of tampering with or harming data.

Differences between hackers and crackers

By now, many differences between hackers and crackers might seem obvious, but let’s review their core differences:

Ethical difference

Hackers are the good guys, white hats who break into networks to discover loopholes, and to restore the security of corrupted networks to build a secure system. They never do it illegally and always inform their hiring organization or individual of their actions. They’re a great weapon in the hunting down and catching of crackers. Crackers, however, will break into the same system for personal, financial or any other kind of gain without the knowledge or permission of the system owners, for the purpose of engaging in illegal activities.

Skill difference

Hackers possess the ability to create programs and software tools; they’re skilled in multiple codes and languages and have advanced knowledge of various select computer languages. Crackers, on the other hand, don’t need to possess a deep well of knowledge, save for the one on how to actually break a system, and we don’t normally see them being skilled enough to create their own programs. Even with so few crackers skilled enough to create tools and software to help them exploit the weaknesses they discover, we should never ignore their threat.


Gray hats

Nothing is black and gray in IT when it comes to hackers and crackers. That’s where gray hats come into play.

The easiest way to describe gray hats is that they are individuals who only act illegally with the purpose of improving the security of the system or network they’ve broken into. They won’t have the permission of the organization or software vendor before looking for vulnerabilities, and might even report back to ask for renumeration, their fee for discovering a vulnerability. They often exploit a discovered vulnerability with the goal of raising awareness.


Even with the media painting all hackers as inherently bad and attaching negative connotations to them, we need to remember that not everything is as the media sees it, and that not all hackers and crackers are equal. The world would be a much scarier place with a lot more cybercrime if hackers weren’t actively discovering vulnerabilities and stopping the threats crackers pose. And if we didn’t have gray hats, we’d have to say that the world is completely presented in black and white, which we know isn’t true.

Are you a hacker or merely interested in protecting yourself from crackers? Try our SurfaceBrowser™ to see all your public-facing digital landscape, ranging from IP addresses, domain names, open ports and much more. Book a demo with our sales team today!

* fortune.com/2019/01/29/data-breaches-decline-2018-consumer-data-risk-rises

Sara believes the human element is often at the core of all cybersecurity issues. It’s this perspective that brings a refreshing voice to the SecurityTrails team. Her ability to bridge cognitive/social motivators and how they impact the cybersecurity industry is always enlightening.

Hacking And Cracking Definitionwillbrown

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What is Hacking?

Hacking is the activity of identifying weaknesses in a computer system or a network to exploit the security to gain access to personal data or business data. An example of computer hacking can be: using a password cracking algorithm to gain access to a computer system.

Computers have become mandatory to run a successful businesses. It is not enough to have isolated computers systems; they need to be networked to facilitate communication with external businesses. This exposes them to the outside world and hacking. System hacking means using computers to commit fraudulent acts such as fraud, privacy invasion, stealing corporate/personal data, etc. Cyber crimes cost many organizations millions of dollars every year. Businesses need to protect themselves against such attacks.

In this hacking tutorial, we will learn-

Before we learn hacking, let’s look at the introduction of hacking and some of the most commonly used terminologies in the world of hacking.


Who is a Hacker?

A Hacker is a person who finds and exploits the weakness in computer systems and/or networks to gain access. Hackers are usually skilled computer programmers with knowledge of computer security.

Cracking Definition Government

Types of Hackers

Hackers are classified according to the intent of their actions. The following list classifies types of hackers according to their intent:
Ethical Hacker (White hat): A security hacker who gains access to systems with a view to fix the identified weaknesses. They may also perform penetration Testing and vulnerability assessments.
Cracker (Black hat): A hacker who gains unauthorized access to computer systems for personal gain. The intent is usually to steal corporate data, violate privacy rights, transfer funds from bank accounts etc.
Grey hat: A hacker who is in between ethical and black hat hackers. He/she breaks into computer systems without authority with a view to identify weaknesses and reveal them to the system owner.
Script kiddies: A non-skilled person who gains access to computer systems using already made tools.
Hacktivist: A hacker who use hacking to send social, religious, and political, etc. messages. This is usually done by hijacking websites and leaving the message on the hijacked website.
Phreaker: A hacker who identifies and exploits weaknesses in telephones instead of computers.

Introduction of Cybercrime

Hacking And Cracking Definition Will Brown Hair

Cybercrime is the activity of using computers and networks to perform illegal activities like spreading computer viruses, online bullying, performing unauthorized electronic fund transfers, etc. Most cybercrime hacks are committed through the internet, and some cybercrimes are performed using Mobile phones via SMS and online chatting applications.

Type of Cybercrime

  • The following list presents the common types of cybercrimes:
  • Computer Fraud: Intentional deception for personal gain via the use of computer systems.
  • Privacy violation: Exposing personal information such as email addresses, phone number, account details, etc. on social media, hacking a websites, etc.
  • Identity Theft: Stealing personal information from somebody and impersonating that person.
  • Sharing copyrighted files/information: This involves distributing copyright protected files such as eBooks and computer programs etc.
  • Electronic funds transfer: This involves gaining an un-authorized access to bank computer networks and making illegal fund transfers.
  • Electronic money laundering: This involves the use of the computer to launder money.
  • ATM Fraud: This involves intercepting ATM card details such as account number and PIN numbers. These details are then used to withdraw funds from the intercepted accounts.
  • Denial of Service Attacks: This involves the use of computers in multiple locations to attack servers with a view of shutting them down.
  • Spam: Sending unauthorized emails. These emails usually contain advertisements.

Hacking And Cracking Definition

What is Ethical Hacking?

Ethical Hacking is identifying weakness in computer systems and/or computer networks and coming with countermeasures that protect the weaknesses. Ethical hackers must abide by the following rules.

  • Get written permission from the owner of the computer system and/or computer network before hacking.
  • Protect the privacy of the organization been hacked.
  • Transparently report all the identified weaknesses in the computer system to the organization.
  • Inform hardware and software vendors of the identified weaknesses.

Why Ethical Hacking?

  • Information is one of the most valuable assets of an organization. Keeping information secure can protect an organization’s image and save an organization a lot of money.
  • Fake hacking can lead to loss of business for organizations that deal in finance such as PayPal. Ethical hacking puts them a step ahead of the cyber criminals who would otherwise lead to loss of business.

Legality of Ethical Hacking

Ethical Hacking is legal if the hacker abides by the rules stipulated in the above section on the definition of ethical hacking. The International Council of E-Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) provides a certification program that tests individual’s skills. Those who pass the examination are awarded with certificates. The certificates are supposed to be renewed after some time.


  • Hacking is identifying and exploiting weaknesses in computer systems and/or computer networks.
  • Cybercrime is committing a crime with the aid of computers and information technology infrastructure.
  • Ethical Hacking is about improving the security of computer systems and/or computer networks.
  • Ethical Hacking is legal.
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