A hacker is a person skilled in information technology who achieves goals by non-standard means. Though the term hacker has become associated in popular culture with a security hacker – someone with knowledge of bugs or exploits to break into computer systems and access data which would otherwise be inaccessible to them – hacking can also be utilized by legitimate figures in legal situations. For example, law enforcement agencies sometimes use hacking techniques to collect evidence on criminals and other malicious actors. This could include using anonymity tools (such as a VPN or the dark web) to mask their identities online and pose as criminals. Likewise, covert world agencies can employ hacking techniques in the legal conduct of their work. Hacking and cyber-attacks are used extra-legally and illegally by law enforcement and security agencies (conducting warrantless activities), and employed by state actors as a weapon of legal and illegal warfare.

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