Methods of Attack

In order to understand system security, you must know how crackers break into computers. Just knowing how they operate can often suggest obvious countermeasures; for instance, you can warn your users to be wary of popular social engineering attacks. Other approaches include taking advantage of software bugs, using break-ins of one computer to access another, guessing or breaking a password, probing networks for known weaknesses, performing denial-of-service attacks, and gaining special privileges via physical access to the hardware.

Note The media at large tends to refer to computer miscreants as hackers. In the computer world generally and in the Linux community specifically, this word has another meaning: A hacker is someone who enjoys working with computers, or especially programming them, and who uses computer skills in legal and productive ways. Because of this meaning of the word hacker, I avoid using it to refer to computer criminals; instead, I use the word cracker to refer to such individuals.

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