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What types of Hackers?


IDNeon
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I'm just writing this as a general fun topic to enumerate all the facets of this gem, each person inputting whatever comes to mind.  I do know there are defined stages of hacking and a more or less defined tool set, this isn't so much about that as it is about the philosophy of the whole matter.  That is, how you approach the problem?  I hope this would be more for a beginner to just come into this thread and read and get an idea of what to expect on their own journey.  Nothing really fancy.

I don't know what category I fall into anymore, I always consider myself a problem solver more than anything.  And the most recent problem I had to solve was uninstalling an AV locked with password protection but unable to authenticate home and riddled with errors (missing folder structures, non-standard install paths, corrupted files).

I did it...and that got me to thinking well what kind of hackers are there?

Because it seems HAK5 seems to specialize mostly in the network CnC side of things, can you recon an environment and take control of a machine.  That seems to be where most of the posts focus.

And to be honest, I'd love to get more into that but have very little time involved in that.  I find myself more often "reverse engineering" systems.  Not even code, for instance in the above scenario I thought about using a debugger to examine the code of the program but in the end figured that was too involved for the task at hand.  It was much easier to just follow the errors and rebuild the damaged product that way.

I suppose there are the hackers which do reverse engineer code, I've only just started getting into debugging, but as I mentioned above, it seems debugging often is a little too overkill for reverse engineering a system.  Systems often have warnings and errors and logs to tell you what's going on and you can determine a lot from fiddling or breaking those.

So far that would seem there are two main branches: Network and Systems, and Coding which leads to the actual exploits.  And tools like Metasploit to give a networker the leverage needed to exploit a system.

So maybe instead of those categories, instead, there are two types of Hackers.  The methodical, and the problem solver.  They aren't mutually exclusive.  Rather it's just the approach you may take, I can see a methodical person excelling at using the tool sets in Kali, have a system in place, going through check lists.  But then there's always the problem solver which is the end goal anyway (whether the problem be a business related task, personal achievements, etc.) and that one just works on the solution like water flows down hill, going where the path takes and using the tools that come to mind for each situation.

I often find myself with no method, but intuitively seeking out a solution, adding tools as necessary on the fly, and sometimes creating my own tools when needed.  Like a program writes a function when needing a task completed.

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I've been a computer systems designer from circuitry to software through several generations of technology for 45 years.  I use the word "hacking" more broadly than hack5.  It means "finding and creating ways to do things that are novel and not really what was expected by the original designer (of hardware, software, chip, part or just a thing)".    Obviously to do that you need to be really lucky and stumble into something or know a lot and/or learn more.

The mindset of hacking can be used to do bad things to people and systems.  It can also be used to prevent others from doing bad things by 'heading them off at the pass'.

To broaden the thinking, here is an example:  Many hardware systems use a bus protocol called I2C.   I2C is used by motherboards to communicate with their flash memories. If there is a motherboard password, it's stored in that part, in clear text actually.  Similarly, it may use I2C to communicate with the keyboard interface.   Using a device sold by "Dangerous Prototypes" not Hak5, one can manipulate I2C, intercept communications with the flash memory and gain access to the BIOS that was not intended (or someone forgot the password). All this requires some soldering of course, to create the connections to the Bus Pirate.  

There are also ways of using transistors, diodes, etc that really are not in their specs but, by pushing the specs can be used in special ways.  This too is hacking to me.

Bending a coat hanger into a tool to snag something, pull a wire through or whatever - that too is hacking the coat hanger.  Making a rocket out of PCB pipe for fuel - that's also hacking.

There are as many types of hacking as there are hackers that are truly creative and knowledgeable.   The range for a hacker is more than operating and computer systems. It's physics.

The more you learn, the more intuition you will have.  Have fun.  Don't hurt nice people, help them (or not)

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