What is a Hacker?

“To hack” means: to penetrate something. In computer science, a hacker is a person who enjoys creating or changing software or hardware. In connection with criminal cases, the term is used for people who illegally use such gaps in other systems for their own, often criminal purposes such as the theft of information. “Real” hacking means breaking into computers, computer networks or even your mobile phone.

On one hand, hacker stands for a talented, passionate programmer. On the other hand, the term can also stand for someone who solves a problem through a series of targeted minimal changes or extensions (so-called hacks) to an existing source code.

A hacker may also develop or changes hardware, writes device drivers and firmware or changes the physical basis of networks.

In computer security the challenge of hacking is seen in overcoming security mechanisms, thus being able to identify weak points, infiltrate systems or examine them for design and programming errors. By circumventing the security precautions, hackers seek access to a computer network, a computer, a secured component (e.g. chip card) or blocked data.

In the media, hackers are often portrayed wearing black hooded sweaters. They sit in front of a computer in dark rooms and break into other computer networks. While incomprehensible columns of characters flicker across the monitor, a hack takes place. They can hack remote systems through directly contacting them, through email phishing or even sms messages. Our article Can You Get Hacked By Replying To A Text? goes into more detail on the latter attack.

Hacking is complicated and most of the time it is in the context of cybercrime. In order to understand the principle with which, for example, a WLAN is taken over by a hack, it must first be assumed that every application on data processing devices, from word processing to password requests, is a written program .

Programs are usually many lines of machine code with if-then functions. One or the other error (bug) can creep into all these lines of text without the functionality of the program being restricted. So in the end there is no indication that an error exists.