Hacking is much more than many people think about in the world. Most people think that hackers are experts in breaking and manipulating systems to their will, while in reality, hacking is more the art and science of exploiting vulnerabilities. To hack is to have high understanding and to find elements that original designers / developers did not think about. It’s like a science experiment, where can I get in? What can I break? Breaking and Exploiting is malicious, and as a developer, we should make ourselves a hacker in order to protect ourselves from those. “Hacking” should be left for talented problem solvers.
There are so many old applications out there and even large systems where exploitation and hijacking can take over complete websites. Older systems commonly have open exploitations that they have no idea about, because business needs win over technological necessities, so the protection work is never looked at. I’ve worked for websites where I found streams of injection hacks and many of the companies credit card data. But no one knows about it. Recently, I patched several large injection vulnerabilities where entire public websites could have been blown away.
We have old and terrible programs protecting all of our data. Think about the stock market and how antiquated those financial systems are written on. They usually still exist on mainframe systems in COBAL. It’s true though, these vulnerabilities will not be discovered without a lot of work and an inside track. That’s why the new threat of large internet based companies is the threat of the inside. Walmart has a perfect story on that exact subject, take a look.
As a developer, if you can learn how to hack, you can learn to be secure.