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Hacking: Is It Worth Your Attention?

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Whether for some reason or the other you think hacking is none of your business, then you need to think twice. Hacking costs the British government £27b a year. Hacking cartels and gangs are always on the lookout to get hold of your personal data. Once in their hands, they could sell it to governments for a profit, use it for political purposes or simply misuse it. Know about hacking to keep safe.

Hacking defined


Hacking is the act of gaining unauthorized entry into a computer system and exploiting it to your benefit. Exploitation includes changing, stealing or destroying important computer information. Hackers are motivated to hack computer systems because of financial gains or gather sensitive information.

That said, not all hacking should be viewed as malicious or illegal. Some hackers do hacking with the right motives such as identifying weakness in a computer system so as to make it stronger. They do this with permission from owners of the computer system they are gaining access into.This kind of hacking is referred to as ethical hacking. A few basic guidelines that ethical hackers must follow include:

· Acquire documented permission from owner of the computer system to be hacked

· Protect the privacy of the individual or organization being hacked

· Truthfully report all identified weaknesses identified in a computer system

· Provide a computer system’s weakness information to its manufacturers

If you encounter a hacker doing hacking without any of these basic guidelines, you have reason to suspect an illegal hacking activity.

More than just an ethical hacker, here are other types of hackers you need to be aware of.

Cracker or the black hat hacker

A cracker is a hacker who gains unwarranted entry into computer systems for selfish interests such as to steal data, invade privacy or transfer funds from a bank account. They are widely known for cybercrime.

Grey hat hacker

A grey hat hacker lies between the ethical and the black hat hacker. They break into computer systems without owners’ permission. Their major intention being; to identify the weaknesses in a computer system and reveal them to the owner. They may do this for a ransom.Their intentions oscillate between the good and the bad.

Script kiddies

Script kiddies are amateur hackers who use hacking tools already built by other hackers to hack into computer systems. They don’t care so much about learning hacking as such but just want to stroke their egos.

Hacktivist

Hacktivist combines the word hack and activist. Active like real activists, hacktivist engage in religious, social and political propaganda on social media and the internet. They hijack governments and organizations and leave a message on their websites.

Phreaker

A phreaker is a hacker who majors in gaining unauthorized access into systems of phones and telephones.

With all these types of hackers roaming around, you are better off putting in place measures that will safeguard your online presence.

Potential ways a hacker could use to attack you

Phishing

Coined from the word fishing, phishing is an illegitimate email that has been created by hackers to appear authentic. Phishing is used by hackers to create panic in users and make them divulge personal details. For instance, you may receive an email claiming you have won millions of dollars in lottery and prompt you to divulge your credit card details to receive the money. Once you do so and click on the link in your mail, you are led to a fake website while your data is already in the hands of hackers.

Stay safe by avoiding websites that look illegitimate. You can spot such websites by glaring grammatical or spelling errors in their addresses.

Gain access to insecure networks

If you like free things, you are not alone. However, use of free open source Wi-Fi puts your privacy and security at risk. A hacker who gains control of your computer system can steal your email passwords, bank account logs and sent computer viruses into your system.

Stay safe by installing an anti-virus program on your computer. You could also use a VPN to hide your online activity from hackers. With a VPN, hackers cannot be able to trace your computer’s IP address online. Best VPN comes at a cost but it’s worth the toil.

Malware

Hackers use malicious software to break into your computer system and steal confidential data including editing a system’s core functions. This malicious software used by hackers is what is referred to as malware. You are prone to these kind of attacks if you are using an old or pirated operating system on your computer. Clicking on suspicious links also makes you vulnerable to this attacks. The following list gives you the major types of malware hackers use:

1. Virus

A virus attacks a computer’s software. It is a programme that interferes with a computer’s key functionalities. It infects, corrupts and replicates data files making them inaccessible.

1. Spyware

Spyware is a type of malware that spies on you. It operates anonymously on your computer while tracking your computer activity, credit card information and passwords. A spyware can video graph you from your computer’s webcam and listen through your microphone.

2. Trojan

A Trojan is a malware that allows hackers track your computer activities remotely by embedding itself on a legitimate software in your computer. It creates backdoors in your computer software opening a way for attacks on your computer.

3. Keylogger

A Keylogger is a type of spyware that monitors and records the keys you type when accessing your computer. It sends the information recorded to hackers who analyze the recording to find passwords to your online bank account and bank.

To stay safe, you want to update your anti-virus software often. Only download software that is legitimate. Also, avoid downloading pirated apps as they are loaded with malware.

Fake mobile apps

Mobile apps are good for improving mobile user experience. Most mobile apps can be downloaded from Google play store. Unfortunately, not all apps on online stores are safe for use. Some come with malware that infringe on your privacy.Stay safe by reviewing mobile apps and their permissions before downloading. Avoid downloading mobile apps from third party stores. Download original apps that are highly rated.

Smishing

Smishing is a type of phishing. It involves attempts by attackers to get your personal information through SMS messages and phone calls. Smishing is a product of social engineering that dupes people with promising and cheap services to build their trust when in actual sense they are installing malware on your device. Avoid clicking links in SMS messages sent by unknown people to you. Avoid sending critical information through texts and phone calls.

Conclusion

Cybercrime is a reality and is done by cybercriminals on the internet. Hackers are a great part of cybercriminals. They use hacking codes to get into your computer or phone system. Once in, they exploit your personal data for their own gain. There are different types of hackers. While some are ethical and have good intentions, some such as black hat hackers are dangerous once they get into your computer system. You want to be more cautious about hacking for your online safety.

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