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Hacking attacks as meant here do not include nukes and trojans, although those may be used as part of an over-all cracking attack. Hacking does not, of course, depend on IRC. Hacking attacks are not likely to be attacks by hackers either. These are more likely to be the actions of a cracker.
When the definition between a hacker and a cracker seems cloudy to you remember to look at motivation. A true hacker is a tinkerer, one with a curious mind, they push to the limits and take things apart in order to further their own understandings.
The Cracker may be teaching himself to do more too, but his motive is to use what he learns, to exploit weaknesses and to do harm. Where the hacker is an explorer, the cracker is an exploiter. The hacker explores and takes notes, while the cracker explores and takes advantage.
Hackers don't leave tracks. About the only changes they make to any systems they get in to are to change the logs to hide that they got inside. Crackers are the ones who delete files, make changes, and generally need to show off that they finally managed to enter a machine.
People generally don't have complaints about hackers unless they are really concerned about anyone reading sensitive information. Crackers are a whole different matter however. Crackers are in the system to take advantage where and how they can.
Why do hackers take the rap for crackers you may ask. Well there are three reasons for it. First, early hackers while in it to learn were just as tempted as anyone else would be to find themselves with control of the transfers of money inside a financial institution's mainframe. Hackers can be tempted too and so some high profile cases came to light.
Second, Hollywood likes the term hacker. They don't want to use terms they have to explain. In a film they can say hacker and you immediately know roughly what the guy does. Hacker was the word in the papers when the screenplays were written and hackers is still the word known to the uninitiated today.
Third, Crackers like to be thought of as hackers. As with Hollywood, its the word people know. A hacker gets more respect than a cracker, and a cracker wants respect desperately. Even the no-brain flooders of IRC would like to be thought of as hackers. The Kewl d00dz even came up with the word haxor to try to boost their claim to hacker status.
In fact, about the only group that don't call themselves hackers are the actual hackers themselves. They use titles like systems analyst, security consultant and programmer. Microsoft and Netscape both rely on hackers to improve their systems, since these people have repeatedly found bugs that could be exploited.
I take these definitions from the latest versions of the terms. Like most others before I got into the net myself I used the term hacker to cover crackers as well. Many terms change over time due to the sheer weight of common useage, so it may be that the term hacker comes to be a catch-all term for all the groups once more.
What kinds of attacks are possible?
Well in general these have nothing at all to do with IRC, except where some scripts have bugs than can be exploited. A hacking attack relies on knowledge of your systems and software. Unfortunately a reasonably skilled IRC warrior can begin collecting information about you as soon as he has your ip address.
From an ip address you can easily resolve a hostname, which generally reveals the name of your ISP company at the least (sometimes also your account name). It may not be too hard to guess the location of your website from that if you have a space allocation from your isp.
They may try to crack your website at this point replacing its contents with whatever they wish. This requires some guesswork, sluething and a password-cracker, but it can be (and sometimes is) done. Most websites that get taken over by crackers and IRC warriors are actually gained through trojans however. Serious cracking is as rare as an intellectual IRC warrior.
E-mail accounts may also be cracked. Most passwords are not really very hard to guess. The vast majority of passwords are made of actual words so a program that simply tries every word in the dictionary would crack about 90% or more of all passwords.
A good password should, where possible contain both upper and lower case characters and numerals too. Luckily, most things make it easy for you to change passwords. So you can now go and change all those one real word passwords you have :o)
Seriously, if you have a hotmail account or free webspace, change those passwords tonight for something far harder to crack. These are the accounts that will be most easily found, along with your ISP. Make them safer now and you won't need to regret it later.
If you were hoping to find hacking tools and trojan programs here, I'm sorry that you have been disappointed. However, this needn't be a waste of your time because what I can do is show you a genuine way to make money online - which is a far better use of your bandwidth than nuking and irc warfare anyway.
These sites will actually pay you to write your opinions. You can write about anything from software to cities, bars to relationships, and they really do pay you. You can even write about IRC and review client software if you like.
Epinions.com is the one if you are a resident or citizen of the USA (they don't yet have a method to pay other nationalities), while DooYoo is the one for all us Europeans etc. These are both totally genuine. There is no stupid banner server to download. There is no maximum earnings limit. I personally write opinions in both programs, such as this review on the schemes that make you money online.
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