I think hacking is one of the mosty misused words in society.
I’m going to share my story and some facts about hacking based on my experience. Facts and insight I learned/acquired while practicing ethical hacking a few years ago while on campus and new to the art and science of computing/cyber.
Well, to start with, being a hacker is every young tech fanatic and youngster’s dream. The power to command your world from a keyboard is exhilarating. I mean, I thought of it as my adrenaline turbo boost because it requires meticulously crawling the web without anyone detecting your presence. I believe that’s the greatest form of power. Actually crawling the online world when no-one knows of your existence. I think of hackers as ghosts in our closets. Ghosts we don’t know exist because they disappear before we can hit the switch and open the closet doors to expose them.
Ethical vs Unethical Hacking.
There are different types of hackers. Back in my days of active penetration testing, I thought of myself as a grey hat hacker. This means I did good and put my skills to good use but could also be offensive when the circumstances needed it. My goal was to learn as much as I could about hacking. My purpose was to be Elliot Anderson or Harold Finch of my generation. I meant good, learning every skill I possibly could to perfect the art and be the best.
I looked up to these fictional characters. Every time my motivation or rather inspirations dwindled, I would watch an episode or two of their films. This would get me back to the game as if I never left. I admired Harold’s fluency in nerd and his maintenance of a good personality despite the lack of ethics in his worlds. Elliot on the other hand was a piece of work. His personality was not something to admire but his perfection in the art was out of this world and he always motivated me.
White hat hackers are the other kind of hackers. I think of them as angels in the troubled world of cyber sin. These guys overcome every temptation and urge to do wrong and stick to the bright side of hacking. They practice ethical hacking and are mostly employed to do system audits or working in law enforcement’s cyber division. I’d recommend CSI Cyber. It’s also a great movie that can motivate you to pursue cybersecurity and ethical hacking.
The last kind is the black hat hackers. I think of them as the morningstar of hacking. These guys crawl the dark web day and night for any and every reason. They are redeemable but I think most of them have crossed the line too many times to turn back. Most of these guys are responsible for serious cybercrimes targeting different organizations for various reasons.
How did it start?
Funny enough, it all started with a movie. After high school, I was placed to pursue a course in computer science. I had no prior knowledge or passion for cyber-related fields. Honestly, I was kinda afraid of computers. I was afraid of using the keyboard and the mouse was the scariest bit. I thought its name was connected to the actual rodent and that gave me chills. But now I had to pursue and complete a degree that meant computer fluency. So, I embraced my fears, and eventually, I became so good at it that I never looked back.
In my first year of campus, I came across Mr. Robot. The film is starred by Elliot Anderson, a renowned hacker, and vigilante. There and then I admired his fluency in exploits. This pushed me into getting my Lenovo G50-80; my first PC. I installed Kali Linux Operating system and the games began.
Why did I do it?
I did it for the power it gave me. Well, for most of my life I was a nobody. Faceless and voiceless in society, the keyboard gave me all the power I needed to change that. I’d crawl the internet suburbs and make imaginary friends with people I knew but they did not know me. This is pretty sick but I had a list of friends, people who did not even know me.
But these things never stay in the dark for long. I soon came out to show off to a girl I liked. That kinda gave me a face and voice on campus. At least a few people would wave and initiate a conversation with me. A few would even smile and I’d smile back. That was the major reason. Well, people do it for different things but that was my reason.
What was the first thing you did?
Well, the first thing I learned was cutting people out of the network. The WIFI on campus sucked. The bandwidth would fall to a low 500 kbps. This was unacceptable for me so I learned to kick a few people off the network and enjoy fast internet. That kinda made me feel really good and gave me a deeper purpose to pursue the venture.
The next thing I did was actually hilarious. Earlier, I mentioned about a girl I liked. She did not like me back. I wouldn’t like myself either back in the day, well, apart from my ambition and creative mind. Long story short, I identified her male friend and installed spyware on his smartphone. All this was to get her phone number from his phone. The Metasploit tool was my favorite exploit tool and creating a payload was a walk in the park.
I later confessed and she didn’t take it lightly. I bet she admired the effort, though. But I still ended up in the friend zone nonetheless.
There are many myths surrounding the art and science of hacking.
You need real patience to be a hacker. Things that are done within minutes in the movie take weeks, months, or even years to get done.
Made up script from characters in CSI Cyber.
Krumitz: “I’m going to hack into his phone and force the payload I sent to run. Then, I will activate his microphone and camera and turn on geolocation. That way I will also be able to triangulate his geolocation end send you his realtime pin.”
ElijaH: “Can anyone actually do that?”
[Man I love doing this. I should write a script for some hacker movie maybe]
My answer is yes and no. Well, you can send a payload but you cannot hack the phone and force it to execute. But once it does, you can have control over the phone. You can actually turn on the microphone and camera, take snapshots, dump messages, and call logs etcetera.
One thing, though, it takes time. Probably weeks or months to get this done.
It’s been a while since I did any attack so probably the dynamics have changed. One thing I’m sure hasn’t changed; disappointments. It does not always work. Every device model requires a different trick or tweak and even then, it might not work.
The key is resilience and ambition to keep learning. Technology has advanced unprecedently. It evolved every day. Smartphones are now running quad-core processors, making them powerful to some of the computers people are currently using. One thing may work on one device but not work on another device.
Hacking is not real.
Oooh, hacking is real, buddy. Probably you’ve already been hacked right now and processes are running in the background of your phone or PC leaking sensitive and private data or information to a server in the cloud somewhere.
Can I protect myself.
Again, my answer is Yes and No. personally, I don’t try to protect myself because I find it pointless. In the current world, I think privacy is an illusion. One that I cannot get ahead of so I don’t try. My advice would be, stay away from free things that connect you or when connected to the internet. Free wifi is a no go. suggestive ads should be avoided at all costs. P@rn sites are also a no go zone. They are a hot zone for all sorts of nasty malware.
That will be all for today but there are more stories about hacking and other careers to come. If you want to share such stories, you can do so anonymously by sending us an email with your story to our email.
I hope you have learned something from this story. If so, like, comment, and share with others. Till next time, Adios.