Hacking is the violation of server or network security via exploitation of weaknesses in that security.

Some of the most common ways security may be compromised include:

  • Social engineering, in which a person is persuaded to give up sensitive information such as passwords
  • Exploiting unpatched or not generally known (0-day) security holes in software
  • Brute force, that is, trying common usernames and passwords repeatedly until something works

Less commonly, hacking refers to the uncommonly creative solution of a software or hardware problem. Some see this original definition as the correct one and wish to preserve it, though they seem to be fighting a losing battle.

Detailed security questions and answers which do not fit at Server Fault may be welcome at IT Security Stack Exchange.

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