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While this term originally referred to a clever or expert programmer, it is now more commonly used to refer to someone who can gain unauthorized access to other computers. A hacker can "hack" his or her way through the security levels of a computer system or network. This can be as simple as figuring out somebody else's password or as complex as writing a custom program to break another computer's security software. Hackers are the reason software manufacturers release periodic "security updates" to their programs. While it is unlikely that the average person will get "hacked," some large businesses and organizations receive multiple hacking attempts a day.

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