How do I become a hacker?

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Did you know that hackers caused approximately 3 billion in damage via cybercrime in 2016 and that the damage predicted in 2021 is even higher at 6 billion? These numbers demonstrate that the hacker community continues to become more effective and the group continues to grow.

But why would you want to become a hacker? If you look at the motivation to begin hacking, you can distinguish four groups:

  • Money: hackers use their skills in order to earn money by selling data, blackmailing companies or by means of ransomware.
  • Ideology: groups of hackers such as Anonymous attack organizations in order to make a political point.
  • Fun: most hackers just find it fun to go looking for leaks in software and networks. Discovering weaknesses gives them a kick. Script kids as well as ethical hackers can be included in this group, which goes for sites with responsible disclosure policy.
  • Security: organizations employ hackers in order to scrutinize their own IT environment and where necessary, to improve the security in order to stay one step ahead of hackers.

Hackers have more than just motivation

But of course, you will not get too far as a hacker with motivation alone. In order to successfully hack other people's networks, you also need skills. The following seven skills are viewed as the absolute “must haves” for a hacker:

  1. Computer skills: each hacker must have basic IT knowledge and understanding of how a PC is constructed. In addition, knowledge of DOS and experience working via the command line is very important.
  2. Linux: knowledge and experience with Linux is absolute necessary. Most of the hacking tools are available in Linux and Linux is also an open source OS where you can make the necessary adjustments yourself.
  3. Scripting: learn at least Python. Despite the fact that there are fine ready-to-use hacking tools, it is better to make your own tools. With your own tools, you can have done exactly what you think is required and in addition, it is also safer for yourself (using tools made by hackers is of course asking for problems ;-)). In addition, copying existing tools where you adjust them in the right places is a good starting point with which to master scripting.
  4. Knowledge of networks: each system is connected via a network, so comprehensive network knowledge is very valuable.
  5. Database skills: make sure you have sufficient knowledge of databases and queries. This knowledge is very important since you will spend a lot of time trying to break into databases.
  6. Virtualization: in order to be able to practice securely and to test your skills, it is wise to use a virtual machine, such as VirtualBox. You can practice in a secure environment by installing a specific version of an OS (Windows XP SP1 is good to begin with) on a virtual machine.
  7. Social engineering: this is the technique to crack the weakest link in the computer network: “the human being”. You can get information such as login data through a combination of personal contact and email.

Do you want to become a hacker?

Should you want to get started as a hacker as a result of this blog and you do not intend to put on a black hat, then I am always available for advice regarding mastering the seven skills of cybersecurity education.


 

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