Why Are Low Level System Hacks Still The Most Problematic To Deal With?

When you are dealing with computers you are dealing with a tool that has many layers to it.

When most people think of a computer they think of it in two terms.

They think of the hardware, you know, the RAM, the motherboard, hard drive and so on.

And then they think of the software.

This would include the operating system itself, the software that is installed on the machine and several other components.

But if you really study computers then you know that is not the case.

There are a bunch of layers of the computer that security professionals have to worry about.

When it comes to the hardware of the machine you are dealing with items that do not seem like it but they also have a code layer embedded on the device.

This includes the BIOS, the CPU and several others.

When it comes to the software you have several levels on there as well.

You have the application space level which is the level the actual user interacts with.

You then also have the kernel level.

This is the level that allows the operating system to be able to talk to the hardware that connects to the machine.

This is a level that users are not supposed to be able to access but due to some hacks out there, smart hackers are able to do just that.

This is the level that I am going to focus on in this article.

While there are hacks that affect all layers of the computer, the hacks that affect the kernel layer are more wide spread and are more of a problem to the average user.

low level system hacks

low level system hacks

What Is The System Level?

While I have dealt with the system level on a superficial basis in the previous paragraph, I should go more in depth so that you truly understand.

I will not go as deep as I can, such as the different levels that are indicated by the CPU as far as access that you have, but I will talk about the general access that is available when you use the computer.

Whenever you touch a key on the keyboard or a button on the mouse you have several interactions that happen in the background.

This interaction for the most part is processed by the operating system.

The operating system determines what key you pushed, where it should appear on the screen and several other factors but this is all done in the depths of the operating system; a place where the average user does not have permission to go to.

You could imagine the havoc that would occur if the average user did have permission to mess with this part of the operating system.

In the past, the user did have this type of access and that is why when the wrong software glitch would happen, the entire computer would die and you would have to purchase another.

So as you can see, this level is very sensitive and must be hidden from the user.

But there are ways that hackers are able to get around this restriction.

Why Is The System Level So Vulnerable To Hacks?

There are several answers to this question.

One answer is that there is more information about the layers these days and you are able to see the code to some of the most popular operating systems out there.

If you want to see how the operating system interacts with the hardware, all you have to do is to download the code of Linux and see how it works.

This allows you great insight and the ability to see how another type of operating might interact with it as well.

Another reason why it is so vulnerable is because the low system level is so interesting to many hackers both on the good side and the bad.

When you are in that part of the computer you are able to do so many things.

You are able to make the computer perform operations that it would not normally be able to do.

Knowledge such as this can be used for both good and bad purposes; it all depends on the intent of the end user.

But when they are able to find a vulnerability so deep in the system then they are able to have their way with any system that is using that same operating system.

A vulnerability such as this is very valuable in the underground.

It is very valuable because a bad guy is able to turn the vulnerability into a serious attack.

These are the attacks that you hear about on the news that are so devastating to computer systems.

A lot of the attacks that you hear about these days are mostly web attacks.

This is because there are so many people on the internet and attacks such as these are for the most part easy to pull off.

But the most dangerous attacks still come from the system level.

When you have this much access to the computer then you are able to do anything.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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