Hacking comes from the term "hacker," which is someone who enjoys and is an expert in computer programming languages and systems. Hacking, in this sense, means using unusually complex and clever methods to make computers do things.
For some time, however, the popular press has used the word “hacker” and “hacking” in a negative way to refer to individuals who try to get into computer systems in order to steal, corrupt, or illegitimately view data. Hackers themselves maintain that the proper term for such individuals is “cracker,” and that their activities should be called cracking. However, in order to be consistent with the most common usage of the word, we use “hacking” here to refer to unauthorized access.
If you use a DSL or cable modem connection, turn it off when you're not using your computer: As long as your DSL or cable modem connection is active, other users on the Internet can try to get into your computer. Once you have closed the connection, this is no longer possible.
Firewall: A firewall is like a security guard for your computer that monitors the traffic into and out of your computer. A firewall is your first line of defense against intrusions, especially Trojan horses. One popular firewall is Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall . The Windows operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows Vista include a firewall that is turned on automatically. This built-in firewall is described in more detail on the Microsoft site .
LegalHacking is a crime covered under federal and state criminal statutes (Title 18: Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Part 1: Crimes, Chapter 47: Fraud and False Statements, Section 1030: Fraud and related activity in connection with computers). The crime of hacking is committed when a person “willfully, knowingly, and without authorization or without reasonable grounds to believe that he or she has such authorization, attempts or achieves access, communication, examination, or modification of data, computer programs, or supporting documentation residing or existing internal or external to a computer, computer system, or computer network” (USlegalforms.com ). The federal punishment for hacking can be a fine or imprisonment, depending on the seriousness of the criminal activity and the damage done.
“Scanning,” or looking for vulnerabilities in a computer, is usually the first step in hacking a system. However, there are currently few laws in the U.S. that regulate scanning, so it would be difficult or impossible to prosecute a hacker for this activity.
If a hacker breaks into your system, you may be able to get the police involved if there is major financial loss and you have specific evidence in the form of logs of hacker activity. However, hackers can break in from anywhere in the world, and tracing their activity can be very difficult.