Who is a Cracker and how is it different from Hacking?

What is Cracking?

Cracking is the process of breaking into a computer or a network system. A cracker may be cracking for malicious purposes, profit, specific non-profit purposes or causes, or simply as a challenge. Some crackers purposefully break into a network system in order to expose security holes in that system. Crackers typically seek to get access to secret information, obtain free software applications, or cause malicious damage to files.

"Black hats" is another name for crackers. They search for backdoors in programs and systems, exploit them, and steal sensitive information for malevolent purposes.

Crackers have a different goal than hackers, who help corporations and people safeguard their systems and networks. They do it unlawfully without the owner's permission and for personal gain when they breach a network's security. They utilize their talents and knowledge to specifically compromise security with evil intent. It's possible that their purpose is to steal credit card information, obtain private data that can be used for unlawful behavior, obtain private data and sell it, or erase the data.

In order to gain access to an organization's network, crackers conduct phishing attacks on business personnel and crack devices ranging from routers and laptops to printers and fax machines. They frequently prey on businesses when they are most vulnerable, such as during mergers and acquisitions, or they target vendors in an organization's supply chain, as they are frequently the weakest link.

Crackers' attack vectors all lead to the same goal: acquiring data illegally. Data can be hacked, but not always – crackers can have a variety of motives for their unlawful acts.

The term "cracker" didn't catch on and isn't generally used in the security community. Instead of using the term hacker, which has been extensively reclaimed by white hats, the community wants the media to use the term "cybercriminal" when discussing hostile hackers.

Who are Hackers?

Hackers are decent people who hack with the intention of learning more about how things work. Hackers are also called saviors or white hats. They are programmers or computer professionals with sufficient programming and coding skills who seek out and attempt to close gaps in a system in order to defend it. The hackers attempt to fix the system's weaknesses and make it more secure. They never do anything with the intention of causing harm to the system or stealing and misusing data.

Hackers are aware of how a cracker would attempt to harm a website or data, so they concentrate on enhancing those components of the systems and removing any vulnerabilities that could hurt the system. They are employed by businesses and large enterprises to detect and fix any flaws in their network and security systems. Various law enforcement agencies, for example, use hacking tactics to gather evidence on criminals and other bad actors.

Hacker vs. Computer Cracker

The term "computer cracker" has fallen out of favor. It was first proposed as an antonym, or synonym, for the term hacker. Hacker was originally used to describe just those who used their computing abilities for non-malicious purposes, such as identifying or resolving technological faults. Hackers were skilled technologists with good intentions, while computer crackers were individuals with malevolent intentions. However, this distinction was never widely accepted.

The Internet Users' Glossary described a hacker in 1993 as "a person who enjoys learning everything there is to know about the inner workings of a system, especially computers and computer networks. The phrase is sometimes abused in a derogatory sense, when the term 'cracker' would be more appropriate."

A computer cracker was defined in the Glossary as "a person who tries to gain unauthorized access to computer systems. In contrast to hackers, these persons are frequently malicious and have a variety of tools at their disposal for breaking into a system".

The phrase "computer cracker" was eventually replaced with "black hat," an out-of-date word for a threat actor. However, it should be highlighted that today's society rarely distinguishes between ethical and harmful hackers. Although hackers do not have hostile intent by definition, when the term is used in a common context, some people assume they do.

How is Cracking Different from Hacking?

Many of the distinctions between hackers and crackers may be self-evident at this point, but let's go through them again −

Differences in Ethics

White hat hackers are the nice ones who break into networks to find gaps and repair the security of corrupted networks in order to construct a secure system. They never do it illegally, and they always let their hiring company or individual know about it. They're an excellent tool for tracking down and catching crackers. Crackers, on the other hand, will acquire access to the same system for personal, financial, or other benefits without the knowledge or permission of the system's owners in order to engage in illicit actions.

Difference in Skills

Hackers can write programs and software tools, and they're fluent in various codes and languages. They also have a deep understanding of several computer languages. Crackers, on the other hand, don't need to have a vast knowledge base, save for the understanding of how to really breach a system, and we rarely find them capable of writing their own programs. Despite the fact that there are so few crackers competent enough to design tools and software to aid them in exploiting the flaws they find, we should never dismiss their threat.

Gray Hats

When it comes to hackers and crackers, nothing is black and white in IT. Gray hats are useful in this situation. Gray hats are persons who solely behave illegally in order to improve the security of the system or network they've broken into. Before hunting for vulnerabilities, they won't get permission from the organization or software provider. They might even report back to ask for remuneration or a price for finding a vulnerability. They frequently take advantage of a newly found vulnerability in order to raise awareness.

Updated on: 04-May-2022


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