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Many people have bought or used fancy gadgets like tablets or computers but never really thought these devices could cause pain in their lives until it was too late. The truth of the matter is, good as these devices are, they can leave your virtual footprints everywhere on the internet if you are not careful.
Worse still, some valuable information may get stolen, which may be used against you in the future. This is why you need to pay close attention to the facts in this article as you read along.
What Defines Hacking?
It is not uncommon to hear people ask, "What is hacking?", especially those who have not experienced or know anything about it. Hacking is seen as any series of activities that are carried out to identify the weaknesses in a computer system. This also extends to networks where existing security may be exploited to gain access to business or personal data.
An example is when a computer's security is compromised or hacked through a password-cracking algorithm. This is done to get access to the system of the computer. In this modern age, computer use has become necessary to run a successful business. It is good to have isolated computer systems, but this is not enough. They need to be networked to make accessible communication possible with external businesses. When this happens, businesses get exposed to the external world, and hacking becomes possible.
System hacking may occur where computers are used to perpetrate such acts as privacy invasion, fraud, stealing corporate and/or personal information, etc. Cyber crimes lead to losses for organisations to the tune of millions of dollars every year. This is why you need to be proactive and stay protected from these attacks.
Who Are Hackers?
Hackers are people who search for weaknesses in computer systems and/or networks so that they can gain access and exploit them. They are usually skilled computer programmers with a good knowledge of computer security.
Different types of hackers
There are different types of hackers, and they may not be grouped or seen as the same. Hackers are grouped based on the intentions they have for hacking. Classifying hackers according to their intent can help determine whether a severe security breach should be handled immediately.
Ethical hackers (White Hat)
These are hackers who gain access to systems to fix weaknesses that have been identified. At this point, white hat hackers may decide to carry out penetration testing and vulnerability assessments. Since what white hat hackers do is ethical, they often get hired by organisations.
Grey hat hackers
Grey hat hackers would break into computer systems without permission beforehand. Most of the time it is a result of their interest or curiosity that leads them into the act.
Cracker (Black Hat)
This type of hacker is those that have gained unauthorised access to computer systems to make personal gains. A black hat hacker usually intends to violate privacy rights, steal corporate data, transfer money from one bank account to another, etc. Black hat hackers do the most damage and are to be avoided.
Hackers who fall under this category are those who have gained access to computer systems with the aid of tools that have already been made or designed.
This category of hackers uses this means to send religious, political, social, etc., messages. They usually succeed in doing this by hijacking websites and eventually leaving their message on the website they hijacked.
This group of hackers finds loopholes and weaknesses in telephones instead of using computers. It is these weaknesses that are then exploited for their personal gains.
Understanding The Basics Of Cybercrime
Often, reports are made of people who perform illegal activities like spreading computer viruses, performing unauthorised electronic fund transfers, online bullying, etc. These activities are known as cybercrimes.
In most cases, these cybercrime hacks are perpetrated through the internet, although some are carried out with the aid of mobile phones using SMS or some online chatting applications.
Different types of cybercrime
Cybercrime can come in different forms, but the sole intent of the perpetrators is always to harm unsuspecting and ignorant people.
This includes intentional deception to make personal gain through computer systems.
This can occur when personal information, like phone numbers, account details, email addresses, etc., is exposed on social media.
Identity theft can be said to have occurred when personal information about someone gets stolen and is used to impersonate the person.
Sharing copyrighted files/information
This involves distributing copyrighted files, e.g., computer programs, eBooks, etc.
Electronic funds transfer
This type of cybercrime involves getting unauthorised access to the computer networks banks use to carry out the illegal transfer of funds.
This act involves the interception of ATM card details such as PINs and bank account numbers. These details are eventually used to withdraw funds from the accounts intercepted.
Denial of service attacks
This has to do with the use of computers at several places at the same time to launch attacks on servers with the aim of shutting them down.
This occurs when unauthorised or spam emails are sent to people. Usually, such emails contain advertisements.
What Is Ethical Hacking?
Hacking cannot be considered harmful in its entirety. There is what is dubbed ethical hacking, which is used for the general good of computer systems and their users. It involves a process where the weaknesses in computer systems and/or computer networks are identified while countermeasures are given to protect such weaknesses.
Ethical hackers must abide by some code of conduct to be classified as good. Some of these rules include the following:
- Get permission from the owners of computer systems and/or networks before they hack them.
- Hackers must protect the privacy of the organisation trying to hack their computer system or network.
- Complete analyst reports of all the weaknesses identified in the computer systems must be given to the organisations they work for.
- Create an awareness of the identified weaknesses to hardware and software vendors.
Is Ethical Hacking Necessary?
Since information is seen as one of the most valuable assets any organisation can ever own, it is vital to keep such information secure to protect the image of the organisation. When fake hacking occurs, it can lead to heavy financial losses for businesses and organisations. Ethical hacking helps to stay a step ahead of cybercriminals, and this helps to prevent this type of loss.
How To Know When You Have Been Hacked
Finding out whether you have been hacked or not can be a tricky business. You can easily detect your situation with some hacks, but this is not true for others. If you discover, for example, that you can no longer log into one of your social media accounts and you are sure you have correctly entered your details, your account has likely been hacked.
If your computer or smartphone suddenly begins to run very slowly or your battery gets drained quickly, it could signal that you have been hacked.
You may have received an email notification that someone from a different location has attempted to log into your account. If you do not take the right step here, you may soon start receiving messages from friends and family concerning a message you did not send.
Talk To A Cybersecurity Expert
It is natural to want to fret after getting hacked, but you should stay calm because you need good composure to pull through it. There are different ways to get hacked; each requires a different approach. The first thing you should do is identify the kind of hack you are dealing with.
Another step you can take is to report this promptly on the Australian Cyber Security Centre's website or to a cybersecurity expert, stating the information you know that can help them in their investigation. You should scan for viruses on your device, change the passwords you use on it, and block your bank card and credit card in case of a financial breach.