That Blue Square Thing

AQA Computer Science GCSE

February 2019: this area of the site is being built just now. There are areas where there is no content yet. That will get added over the next 6 months or so.

Ethics - Hacking and Cracking

Hacking is the unauthorised access to computer systems and the data they contain. This is sometimes done deliberately to disrupt a system or to steal data and is illegal - it is covered by the Computer Misuse Act 1990. This is called "black-hat hackng".

Other hackers do so out of intellectual curiosity ("grey-hat hackers") or in order to help protect systems by showing they are vulnerable ("white-hat hackers"). Deliberate hacking to check a system is secure is a form of penetration testing.

Another group of hackers do so in order to highlight a social or political cause of some kind. Known as hacktavism, the aim of this is to target a government or company website in order to highlight a particular issue - perhaps a human rights or environmental issue.

Cracking is essentially the same thing as hacking. Some computer security experts ("white-hat hackers") think that their work would be better termed cracking in order to distinguish their activities from criminal hackers.

It's useful to read more about hacking examples. There is more on this in the Unit 6 - Security section.

In terms of vulnerabilities to cyber-attack, the video at Huawei's 'shoddy' work prompts talk of a Westminster ban (BBC, 8 April 2019) is well worth a look.