Difference Between Hacking and Hijacking

by: - Last updated on: December 17th, 2016

The biggest news on the web yesterday was of Twitter getting hacked or rather hijacked as we got to know later. Some people didn’t get the difference between hacking and hijacking, or rather it didn’t sound too different anyway since we got to see an Iranian flag instead of Twitter homepage.


Difference between Hacking and Hijacking

To keep it simple and short, Hacking is a process of illegally breaking into someone’s website’s server and getting hold of sensitive information related to that website. An intruder/hacker hacking into a site will be able to control the website’s content, management and security.

On the other hand, Hijacking usually involves compromising the registrar responsible for the DNS records of the victim company, the attackers then make unauthorised changes to the DNS records, thereby redirecting all the traffic to their own website. This has the net effect of making it look like, as in yesterday’s example, servers belonging to Twitter were compromised when in reality that was not the case.


So, we can say hijacking is a minor version of hacking, as the data within the servers are still intact and not compromised. In our next post, we will see how DNS hijacking is carried out and how to secure the site from such hijacks.

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  1. Thanx for the detailed information. The incidence should have not happened in any case. Anyway everything seems normal now.

  2. “Hacking” actually does not mean to perform any illegal actions at all. The media has popularized that definition, and the original meaning is actually quite different.

    That exact original meaning is still in use by experienced programmers and security experts themselves. What you are talking about is called “cracking” a website.

    Here’s the original definition of a “hack”, written by Eric S. Raymond: “hack: an appropriate application of ingenuity”.

    Therefore, creating a new technology based by combining existing technology in a genuine way may be considered a “hack,” but this is far from illegal.

    Read more: http://catb.org/jargon/html/meaning-of-hack.html