Exploits: exploiting holes in a computing system

Andrea Ramirez
Andrea Ramirez

In this new era, cloud computing has put forth its foot more than ever. The increased dependence on the cloud has opened up vulnerabilities in computer and application systems. These vulnerabilities are the result of defects or bugs in these software systems.

What exactly are exploits?

Exploits are specifically designed code that is programmed to take advantage of and enter the vulnerabilities in the systems to plant malware.

Their defined characteristics change depending on the context in which they are found. In the world of gaming, for example, exploits take on a distinct meaning. In gaming, exploits means utilizing existing bugs to one’s advantage.

It means taking advantage of accidental glitches and using them to gain bump up extra points or accomplish a gaming goal more easily. The use of exploits does not make logical sense when looking at how the game was designed, so it’s merely looking at the advantages they give.

This stresses the idea that exploits take advantage of breaks or glitches that already existed.

The present vulnerabilities can leave systems in danger of receiving malware, and these compromise the safety of these systems. Malware can be delivered via email attachments or disguised website links. In the case where an expert is in charge, malware can be directly dropped into the perceived vulnerabilities.

This means exploits are technically not classified as malware; rather, they are designed to carefully drop the actual malware in. The goal of the malware can be to disrupt or damage the software.

This in turn can negatively impact the normal operation of the device.

For businesses or industries that depend heavily on their systems for normal, daily operations, having their systems infected with malware is a spell for disaster. Exploits, however, can actually be used to do good.

Ethical hacking and their reliance on exploits

The ethical hackers of the world, called white hats, are hired to hack into an organization’s systems to denote any weaknesses or breaks in their systems. They rely on exploits to explore and classify vulnerabilities in computing systems.

Exploits can demonstrate what current issues a software has, and white hats use their knowledge to expand upon these issues to come up with solutions. So although exploits can present a threat to systems, knowing how to address the weaknesses they present is a key pathway to forging stronger systems.

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