Today, we will answer the question – when is hacking illegal and legal?
Before we jump into the topic about when hacking is considered illegal and when it is considered legal, let’s try to understand what hacking is.
What Is Hacking?
There are many ways in which the process of hacking could be explained. It could be described as a breach of the system or unauthorized access. Still, hacking is an unwarranted attempt to infiltrate a computer or any other electronic system to attain information about something or someone.
Anytime we hear or read about someone’s computer or some network being hacked, we instantly picture an individual sitting in a dark room full of tangled wires, computer screens, and multiple keyboards, who is rapidly typing some programming language on one of the computer screens. While hacking is shown as something quite intriguing in motion pictures, in actuality, it is entirely different. Websites like SecureBlitz, Techwhoop.com, and other cybersecurity blogs can educate you with the measures you should take if your device is hacked.
The hacking scenes shown in the movies or T.V. shows are full of action, suspense, and drama, making it look enjoyable or entertaining. But in reality, hacking is quite dull. The hacker types a series of commands telling the computer system what to do, via a programming language like Python or Perl or LISP, and waits for the results, which might take hours, but the computer does the actual part of hacking. Along with being tedious and time-consuming, piracy is also complicated and sometimes dangerous.
Hackers use many different types of tools to hack into a software system. Few of these tools are:
- Sn1per – It is a vulnerability scanner used by hackers to detect weak spots in a system or network.
- John The Ripper (JTR) – This is a favorite tool amongst hackers. It is used for cracking even the most complicated passwords in the form of a dictionary attack. A dictionary attack is a form of brute force where the hacker enters numerous passwords hoping to guess the right one eventually.
- Metasploit – This is a Penetration Testing Software. It is a hacking framework used to deploy payloads into vulnerabilities. It provides information about the weaknesses in software.
- Wireshark – It is a network traffic analyzer used for network troubleshooting and analysis.
There are three types of hackers –
- The Black Hat Hackers,
- The White Hat Hackers, and
- The Grey Hat Hackers.
The difference between each will be discussed below.
When Is Hacking Illegal And Legal?
Hacking has always been portrayed as a felony, an unauthorized entry into a network. But it started when MIT introduced the first computer hackers whose job was to modify the software to work better and faster. However, some people started using this software for felonious activities.
When Is Hacking Illegal?
When a hacker tries to breach a system without authorization, it is considered unlawful. These kinds of hackers are called Black Hat Hackers. They are the type of hackers who are known for their malicious and notorious reasons for hacking. Initially, hackers used to hack to show that they can breach a system. They used to cut just for fun.
Then some hack to expose someone or to leak information. For example, the group of hackers calling themselves “Anonymous,” who claim to have personal information about Donald Trump and were threatening to expose them. They are also threatening to reveal the “crimes” committed by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) following the murder of George Floyd.
Another example is when tens of thousands of messages from hacked emails were leaked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account. The list goes on and on, as hackers don’t cut to prove a point or to expose someone. They hack for political reasons, for money, or are driven by some purpose or motive.
All of these actions are deemed illegal and felonious under the Computer Misuse Act (1990) along with other legislative acts such as the Data Protection Act (2018) and The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
When Is Hacking Legal?
Legal hacking is where the hacker is granted permission to hack into a system or network. This type of hacking is also known as Ethical Hacking. Since we live in a technological era, it has become easier for radical organizations to finance hackers to infiltrate security systems. This has resulted in a steady rise in cybercrime.
It has become imperative now more than ever for companies and governments to legally hack into their operations to discover and fix vulnerabilities and prevent malicious and unlawful hacking from keeping the classified information safe. This type of hacking is done by either The White Hat Hackers or The Grey Hat Hackers.
The White Hat Hackers are those hackers who look for backdoors in the software when they are legally permitted to do so.
The Grey Hat Hackers are those hackers who are like Black Hat hackers but do not hack to cause any damage to any organization or people’s personal information or data. They are hired by companies or organizations to hack into their computer system and notify the administration if their order has any vulnerabilities. This is done so that these organizations can further secure their networks. Software companies make use of such hackers and hacking processes.
There are many types of ethical hacking. A few of them are
- Web Application Hacking,
- System Hacking,
- Web Server Hacking.
Commonly Used Hacking Techniques
Here are the most common hacking techniques used by hackers:
- SQL Injection Attack – SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is a programming language originally invented to manipulate and manage data in software or databases.
- Distributed Denial – of – Service (DDoS) – This technique is used to target websites to flood them with more traffic than the server can handle.
- Keylogger – It is a software that documents the key sequence in a log file on a computer that may contain personal email I.D.s and passwords. The hacker targets this log to get access to such personal information. That is the reason why the banks provide the option of using their virtual keyboard to their customers.