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How to Break into Computers: Script Kiddies, Ethical Hackers, Crackers, Überhackers, Social Engineers, Phonies

Chapter by Carolyn Meinel, excerpted from The Hacking of America: Who Does it, Why and How

How do hackers break into computers? It all depends on what they are trying to accomplish, and who they are. There are also a dizzying number of documented ways to break into computers, many more floating around in the underground, and who knows how many waiting to be discovered...

In the face of the vast possibilities for breaking into computers, this chapter will merely reveal examples of some of the most common ways:
· remote exploits which are carried out from across the Internet
· console exploits, which are done while sitting at the keyboard of the victim computer; this includes hardware-based attacks
· viruses and other types of Trojans, which hide inside a program and are activated when a legitimate user accidentally runs them
· local exploits, where someone who already has limited access to a computer uses it to gain total control
· network-based break-ins, which use the particular characteristics of a LAN or modem to get in
· worms, which sneak into a computer on their own, without human intervention
· social engineering, where someone tricks a user into letting them get into their computer
· man-in-the-middle attacks, where the user is tricked into thinking they are connected to one computer but actually are connected with another.

We will also cover the main types of people who break into computers:
· script kiddies, who simply run a program or a prepared script to do the deed, and who break the law in so doing: digital graffiti artists
· ethical hackers (also known as white hats), who have some skills with computers and analytical talents, who break into computers legally, whether for research, in a job testing computers, or as a competitive sport
· crackers (also known as black hats, but they usually call themselves hackers or gray hats) who also have significant skills but who break into computers illegally
· social engineers, who trick people into letting them take over their computers
· phonies, who trick people into thinking they break into computers

Script Kiddies

Script kiddies (also known as code kiddies or haxors) are people who want to break into computers, but only are able to do so by running a program or following a carefully scripted set of instructions. They aren't motivated by a quest for knowledge. To get an idea of what drives them, check out some of the emails they send me:

My girlfriend cheated on me and I really have to see her email correspondence with the guy… i just have to hack in! what is a man to do?

Many wonder if their friends… are talking crap about them with other people. I want to know how i can intercept… aol conversations…

One of my friends dared me to hack into his computer.

A friend of mine tells me that there is no way that I can get into his hotmail account. I want to prove him wrong.

I need some help getting into a web site. The web site belongs to a school in Mpumalanga. They are enemies with our school…

But I'd like to hack the network… to see the teachers screaming..hehe.

i would really like to hack this one person's web page, he is a real pain in the ***

I have lately been hacked... I would like to retaliate…

Hello, Caroline! Remember those government websites that were hacked? That was me!

We are the controllers of the new millennium, no matter what the government tried to tell you.

I play neopets(www.neopets.com) and I wanna get a user's password to get all of his money and stuff.

I need some experienced help to hack into the VCAA computer and acquire a copy of the end of year exams.

I love idiots. Without idiots, there would be know (sic) way for the smarter people to be acknowledged.

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