The Boston Globe
How to be a hacker
I’m sure if you are reading this page is because you are smart.
So you are also able to bust into people’s computer, stealing passwords and credit card numbers using nothing more than your brain.
I used to be a hacker myself so let me tell you that everything you’ve see on movies about hacking has utterly failed to communicate just how completely boring it actually is.
Hacking is easy
The majority of events that you describe as ‘hacks’ are pretty trivial.
Any of us is perfectly capable of cracking passwords or bringing down a website, even you.
Don’t trust me? Google it.
You see? Is just a matter of clicking here and there, some readings, some downloads and you are hacking whatever you want.
It takes very little thought to run someone else’s scripts and hacking tools someone else has made.
Note for the 99% of you who have opened another browser to start hacking things: you can do it but you will get caught so please, for the sake of our overcrowded prisons, stay calm.
The biggest security hole every piece of software or hardware has to try to deal with can be summed up in the below statement.
Humans are stupid.
It’s this stupidity that hackers take advantage of for the simplest and most effective hacks of all.
First, there are all the problems we have with our passwords, which are the central element of our security systems.
All of us have terrible easy to guess passwords.
Let’s pretend for a second that you are the exception that proves the rule and your passwords are not dumb.
Well, there’s also another issue: the idiots you’ve given your passwords to for safekeeping.
In other words, the employees of any company that handle emails and passwords.
When you sign up on a social network or a shopping site you don’t conduct an interview with their network security team.
You just access the page and give them your email and your password.
Chances are, those guys don’t even have a clue on how to store your information securely and by simply social engineering you can trick them into giving out anyone’s personal information.
Sit and wait
When most people think of hacking, they probably picture someone sitting in a dark room frantically typing, every keystroke chipping away at the firewall, just steps ahead of the authorities.
The details may vary but they’ll certainly picture something tense and fast paced, where every second counts.
At no point during this hack do they imagine the hacker wandering off somewhere for several months.
Viruses, Trojan horses, and worms are a group of semi-related programs that, once created, spread around completely on their own, which can take a lot of time, but allows them to damage or compromise a lot of computers.
This is how some of the most impressive hacks of all time have been pulled off.
Like the Trojan horse which blew up a natural gas pipeline in Siberia.
So not only does this type of hacking involve making the virus, with all the tedious weeks of programming, and math that goes into that.
Once that’s done come the months and months of waiting.
It’s about as exciting as planting a tree, except with the fun possibility that the FBI will come kick in your door.
the world must know the truth!