Hacking. It’s a word that today gives us a sense of dread thanks to the number of newsworthy attacks that have been propagated by shadowy groups all over the internet. Yet the word has been thrown into popular culture so often that it is now a synonym for advice. So, what is hacking really? A hacker is really a computer expert who uses their programming knowledge to overcome a problem. Whereas being hacked today commonly refers to an attack on a piece of software that allows unauthorized access to the inner workings of a system. One inside the hacker can exploit the program into performing in ways it was not intended to. This can be something small but also since so many modern devices are built around similar programming structures, hacks can affect physical objects. Hacking groups therefore are frightening opponents to have, and since keeping their identity secret is also at the top of their agenda, these clusters of tech veterans demand our attention.

Morpho

This group appears to be well funded which could mean a couple of things. They could be proficient in gaining profits from their hacking work (essentially stealing) or they could be backed or in cahoots with a larger organisation. Either way this makes them a powerful group, as they have already managed to find their way into the systems of huge companies. Microsoft, Apple and Facebook have all fallen prey to Morpho who used zero-day exploits to cause havoc. These are issues and bugs left in the software from the beginning, companies often pay specialists to find and remedy these issues, but sometimes hacker groups beat them to it. Now focusing on the intellectual property of large companies, Morpho are set to cause huge upset and financially disrupt some big-name brands sooner or later

Anonymous

Probably one of the most well-known groups are Anonymous, thanks to their infamous antics and public displays. Anonymous can be recognised by their chosen imagery of the stylised guy Fawkes mask from Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta graphic novel. They use this to both keep their anonymity and enforce the idea that they are revolutionaries. The group began with like-minded web users who often trawled the forums of website 4chan. Unhappy with the conduct of particular companies, they formed a unit of computer savvy members and proceeded to take action. From here they have empowered the occupy movement as well as crashed websites, and leaked information from groups they morally appose. With no single leader or known hierarchy anonymous has the ability to continue without interruption.

Tailored Access Operations

Referred to as TAO, this group is unlike the others in one particular way – TAO is run by the American government. Their existence was unknown until the leaks by Edward Snowden who gave the public information about what the White House is doing behind closed doors. Based in the NSA building this outfit operates using very sophisticated technologies that are used to gain access to software on the most common of devices. This is a group that is truly worrying, one who’s intent it is to monitor everybody not just the odd company. With abilities that include turning iPhones and Android devices on remotely, accessing microphones and cameras, and being able to imitate anybody’s internet identity – this group is a threat to everyone.