Hacking: A 101 Hacking Guide (2015)
Chapter 2: Basic Terminology
When you begin a new subject, the first step is to become familiar with the terminology.
If your system has suffered an attack, it means that the security of your system has been violated. A threatis something that can affect your system, but hasn’t happened yet. A vulnerability is an error or weakness that has the potential to compromise your system. It is very important to understand the difference between an actual attack and a vulnerability or threat.
Bugs! No, not the creepy, crawly bugs you can kill with a quick stomp. In hacking, bugsrefer to errors in a program. The term“bug” came from the old days when computers had physical relays, and a particular mathematical subroutine was giving bad results. The software engineer (legend points to Admiral Grace Murray Hopper) started tracking down the error and found a moth caught in the relay, insulating it so that current couldn’t pass through.
In the movies, bad guys often break in through the backdoor. In hacking, backdoorrefers to sneakily accessing someone’s system by bypassing the authentication (think of your locked front door) that is supposed to protect it.
You know your computer has cookies, right? Cookiesare the funny name that someone came up with for text that your browser stores for websites. Let’s say you recently purchased some running shoes online. If you go to a new website you have never been too, and you notice it starts advertising running shoes, that may be a good indication that there is a cookie on your computer that recorded what you purchased or searched for, and other websites are accessing it. Cookies can also be what let’s you into a website without having to enter your username and password all the time.
Did you know your computer has daemons? It’s not possessed, though. Daemons in computer-speak refer to services that run on ports. You need these daemons in order for your computer to function properly;so don’t call for the Winchesters quite yet.
We know what garbage dumps are, but what about hacking dumps? A dump in hacking refers to a collection of information that has been stolen.
If we exploit someone, we take advantage of them, usually through a weakness or vulnerability. In hacking speak, exploitation is attacking a system through a weakness of vulnerability. The word exploit is the program used to do it.
When you think of a wall of fire, you should picture something that is almost impossible to get through (well, at least in your street clothes without a vehicle). A computer firewallis a program used to keep unauthorized access to your system. It’s usually your first line of defense against unauthorized intrusions.
Hacktivism is using hacking as a form of activisim, and those who participate are called hactivists. Their activities can vary widely, from hacking a website and placing their own message on it to accessing an organization’s emails and releasing them to the public. There is a link at the end of the chapter to an interesting article on the pros and cons of hactivism.
An IP Address is a unique identifier for your computer or server as it exists on a network or the web. Knowing the IP address of a computer is a starting point for an attack.
Remote accessmeans to access a computer or server without physically connecting to it, like accessing your office computer from home. For hackers, remote access means controlling the computer or server they have attacked–again, without physically connecting to it.
This should be enough terminology for you to follow the rest of the book, and navigate online resources for beginning hackers. Always remember that if you see a word you don’t recognize, look it up (or Google it).
Hacktivism–Good or Evil: http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Hacktivism-Good-or-Evil
Internet Relay Chat: http://www.irc.org/
All About Bugs: https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pattis/15-1XX/common/handouts/bugs.html