There are many ways that hackers gain access to systems. One often-seen threat is the knowledge of usernames and passwords by unauthorized persons. For example, known vulnerabilities in operating systems or services could be exploited, usernames and passwords could be captured or cracked, or the default administrative or service accounts might be accessible. It might be possible to decrypt or crack passwords from a system password file or by capturing passwords when they are being transmitted over the network. If a hacker gains access to a sufficiently privileged account, that person might gain access to all files on the system and might also be able to exploit other systems based on the user trust relationships across systems.
Another way that hackers gain access to a system is through various methods of social engineering. As mentioned, this could include exploiting human nature and gaining physical access to an organization. The impact of gaining system access could include exposure or compromise of sensitive data or machines, and the execution of arbitrary commands on the system.
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