ISW Security Papers Contest
Hacking Tools & Techniques and How to Protect Your Network from Them by Aaron Sigmon on 20/04/09

Hackers today use a wide variety of tools and techniques to gain entry into networks across the globe, stealing and destroying confidential data, as well as defacing public websites, writing malicious code, and bringing systems and networks to their knees. These attacks can sometimes cost companies thousands of dollars in downtime, resources, and manpower, not to mention the possibility of having secret data stolen and leaked. The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the most common tools and techniques hackers use today, and how you and your company can protect your infrastructure from these attacks, as well as broaden your knowledge on hacking as a whole.

The true meaning of hacking is to increase the capabilities of an electronic device, and use it beyond the original intentions of the vendor. Hacking began in the 1960's, when a group of students at MIT were tweaking electric trains to go faster and be more efficient. Then, it wasn’t long before a group of these guys started using their skills in the mainframes at MIT. In the 1970’s a new type of hacker emerged, called a “phreaker”, who could hack telephone systems and make phone calls for free. By the 1980’s, hackers were starting to use computers more and more, and started using Bulletin Board Systems to share stolen computer passwords & credit card numbers, which led to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act being passed by Congress in 1986. Once the internet had its surge of users in the 90’s, hacking was becoming more main-stream and the number of hackers around the world started growing rapidly (

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