Hacker comes from the verb “to hack into” meaning “to break into”.

A hacker is someone who studies computer systems… and who gets round the protections of computers and connected objects to get into them illegally.

What’s the aim?

A hacker can infect a computer with a virus, hidden in an email attachment.

When the user opens it, it sets off a computer code that allows the hacker to remotely control the computer.

So, cyber criminals can steal political information or military secrets… or even private photos of celebrities!

Hackers can also steal money by hacking into bank accounts… or by using ransom software that encrypts someone’s computer files. They can then ask for lots of money to decrypt them. It’s like a virtual hold-up!

Hackers attack private citizens but also banks, companies, government services or hospitals.

Fortunately, some hackers are also IT geniuses who help to improve data protection… and work at repelling cyber attacks and tracking down criminal hackers to get them arrested!

2 tips: be wary of using public Wi-Fi and above all, never open an email attachment if you don’t know who sent it!