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June 3, 2016updated 22 Sep 2016 12:10pm

How to become a hacker

A basic guide to taking up hacking.

By Alexander Sword

Becoming a hacker can be a very long-term process, requiring lengthy education or financial investment.

The term ‘hacker’ is used extremely broadly but is generally used to mean someone who finds and exploits weaknesses in a system.

This covers a range of motives, including criminal hackers, who may hack to steal data for financial gain or try to hack into companies or websites to prove a point or to embarrass the victim.

There is also the category of ‘White Hat’ hackers who try to expose flaws in the defences of organisations to prevent them from being attacked by a malicious actor.

Whatever the reason, hacking is not a simple process and requires a considerable investment of time and possibly money.
The first step towards being a hacker is interest; many hackers get into hacking simply because they enjoy the process of taking things apart or crave the challenge of trying to get into guarded systems.

The next decision about how far you want to delve into the world of hacking. If your goal is to hack something in particular, then there are many tools that you can buy that will do the job for your without you having to acquire more than a basic knowledge.

For example, pre-written code is often available online, sometimes for a price.

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Basic skills to learn include knowledge of programming languages and networking concepts, as well as a good knowledge of Linux.
A strong understanding of typical cyber security measures such as firewalls will be key. There is plenty of online material available to learn these basic skills.

For more determined hackers, eventually this will have to extend to more advanced skills such as scripting.

There are tools online to learn all of these things, but eventually the only way to get good is to practice. With a grounding in theory, it’s time for the prospective hacker to decide on the specifics of the type of hack they want to carry out. Then, as long as they are not doing anything illegal, simply to give it a go.

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