But currently, hacking has a more negative implication and so is the term hacker. Hacking which is done on request and involves a contract of terms and conditions allows authorized access to the target and hence referred to as ethical hacking.
Computer and network security come under the foray when the information about possible attacks is tried to be evaluated to determine the weaknesses and loopholes in the system. Poor web-configurations, old or loosely bind software, inactive or disabled security controls and weak or low-strength passwords are some examples of areas that make computer networks and systems vulnerable to attacks. Ethical hacking involves identification of all or any such possible areas based on the suggested terms in the contract and the level of access given.
Eric Raymond has a better definition to hacking in his compilation ‘The New Hacker’s Dictionary’ as: A “good hack” is a clever solution to a programming solution and “hacking” is the act of doing it. Ethical hacking helps the organization better protect its system and information and is seen as part of an organization’s overall security efforts. Hackers could aim to steal company’s valuable information and also render harm the intellectual property and other sensitive information. Companies may also run into the trouble of facing potential lawsuits if hackers steal customer information by getting into their systems. Ethical hacking is a way to check such thefts and make information less vulnerable to outside malicious hackers. Most hackers are technology buffs who are updated with know-how of computer technology and keep learning the different aspects of a computer, from programming and code view point to hack any particular system. They consider hacking as an art and a real-life application of their expert level problem solving skills.
Such hackers take opportunity in assisting corporate with their abilities and help find flaws in security system of the computer and do not intend to harm others. Innumerable hackers attack the computer systems security by means of viruses, worms, exploits etc. A virus is a piece of software or a command sequence that exploits a bug or vulnerability in the code. A virus executes in a manner that it copies itself into other programs and files on the computer. The unexpected and unintended behavior that is observed in computer’s operating system or applications is termed as exploit in each case. Worms are the viruses that send copies over network connections. A non-replicating program or virus that is distributed by means of a CD or an email is called Trojan horse.