Cybersecurity or information security is the protection of data of the computer no matter in which form it is, be it electronic, hardware or software. Cybersecurity deals with security and ensures no theft or damage takes place. Cybersecurity is a whole world in itself. But the potential threats that everybody is worried about is that their systems may not get hacked. Let us learn more about hacks, viruses, and how to prevent it from happening?
According to the type of work they do hackers can broadly be divided under three major names: black hat, white hat, and grey hat.
Black hat: the black hat hackers steal information only for monetary gains. The types of threats include infiltrating your computer with a virus named malware and gain information. This information can be used in protests, surveillances, or enjoying the thrill that comes along with it whatever the need might be. The hackers under black hat can range from amateurs to highly skilled professionals who will plant malware and gain information in no time. The motive behind stealing your data might be blackmail, using your account, or destroy them as if it never existed.
White hat: the hackers under the white hat category are called ethical hackers and are usually employed by the government or private companies to ensure data protection. Though the methods that are implemented by the white hat hackers are similar to the way black hat hackers work, they always ask for the owner’s permission making their actions legit. The methods deployed by them may include simple rootkits with proven tools or sophisticated actions involving social engineering, protocol spoofing, attack decoys, and many more depending upon the demands of the situation. Anyone can become a white hat hacker by acquiring some certifications and learning the right processes through training involved.
Grey hat: grey hat hackers are somewhat a mixture of white hat and black hat hackers. They utilize the methods from both of the above but usually know the system’s vulnerability without the knowledge of the owner. Nothing is free of charge. While they report the faults of the system to the owner they may ask for some incentives in return. Grey hat hackers sometimes may violate the ethical laws of hacking but do not have any malicious intent behind it, unlike the black hat hackers. But whatever you say they are not completely innocent. Breaking into someone’s system without their consent is a federal offense and therefore punishable by law.
Planting a virus in your files and corrupting the entire computer system is the most common way of hacking into someone’s system. A computer virus is a computer program which when placed in a file that replicates itself by modifying the contents of the file and executing its code thus making the whole system of no use.
One of the biggest hacks in computer history is operation shady RAT that first began in china and is responsible for the following cyber threats in 2006. The computer hacker was responsible for stealing intellectual property information from almost 70 people. He used a technique called random access tool that gives you access over any computer from any corner of the world. Victims of this attack included many worldwide businesses and private organizations such as the United Nations, Anti-dope committee, and the international Olympic committee.
Types of computer hacks:
Malware: this cyberattack has been one of the favorites for all the hackers for many centuries now. These include malicious software of all kinds. Virus, Trojan, ransomware, worms all can cause great destruction if you let them in your system even for once. These viruses are usually wrapped in e-mails and attachments and also pop-up windows in your system. The moment you click any one of them it is an invitation that you provide. Also if you download files from unauthorized manufacturers and developers can be a big cause of malware. Though all of these malware are not harmful but can surely cause some nuisance. The viruses that you should look out for definitely include cryptolocker, plugX, Zeus gameover, Stuxnet and MyDoom. These viruses have the potential to wipe out your system.
Keylogging: one of the oldest yet the simplest way of getting hands-on someone’s information. Keylogging allows hackers to record your keyboard movements or mouse clicks in the form of a log file using basic software. The file may contain sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and banking details. It can be done by you even. The moment you switch on a keylogger anything that you type on the computer gets stored in it. You can open the log where the data is being stored and you may find it there.
Eavesdropping: one of the ways, a hacker can record your information is by listening in on a network connection and store as much high-value information that is possible. There are two types of eavesdropping, Active and passive. In passive eavesdropping, a hacker only listens to the data by either packet sniffing or interception of data transmission. But in active eavesdropping, the hacker disguises themselves as somebody else, and you handover the information. The success of this type of hacking only depends upon the hacker not being recognized otherwise it is game over for them. That is why it is always advisable that you join a public network using a VPN. Corporate networks usually deploy intruder prevention system or the INS to prevent their networks from eavesdropping attacks.
Cookie theft: this type of cyber hack is the most common and most prevailing in the current scene. The cookies that are stored in your cache when you visit a website can hold information more than you could imagine. It can have your financial data and also user credentials and passwords. Cookies may be stored in simple text or highly encrypted files depending on the website. The website add-ons make it much easier for the hacker to steal your information. The stolen cookies when decrypted can release a wealth of information about you. The cookie theft may also work in an alliance with the WAP attack and a hijacked session. Avoiding unprotected and public networks are the biggest gamble for you to save your information and not hand it to someone who can do blunders with it.
Bait and switch: this is the most loved gag by cyber attackers for centuries now. It can be considered a type of fraud in the retail sector but can be deployed in various other ways also. The working of this is similar first the customers are baited by the merchants to buy a product that is of much lower price and then they change it when nobody is looking. They may explain to you that the particular product is no longer available pressurizing you to buy something of higher value. Attackers can set up a booby trap for people by acquiring aside space and add some pop-ups. The moment you click on the button you may land on the website that is filled with malware. Another version of this is to persuade people to download any app or widget that may be according to your needs. But when you download it, it may run the malicious code on your computer.
Ways to prevent your system from hackers and viruses:
Use a firewall: the most common and effective way to prevent your system from hacking is by enabling the firewall on your computer. Firewalls block any unauthorized business functions and also informs you of any forms of intruders on your device.
Use antivirus software: this is the most useful and also the most popular way of preventing your computer from viruses. Using antivirus software immunizes your computers from malware and Trojans. Few of the antivirus software include pandas, Mcafee, Bitdefender. They do not let unauthorized code to run on your system.
Use complex passwords: this method is usually ignored by many people but this is for a fact that if you use complex passwords on your computer network the more difficult it is for a hacker to invade your system. Always use a password that is at least 8 characters long and a mixture of numbers, alphabets, special characters. Longer often means the most secure.
Keep your operating system and browser up to date: always install new updates and versions of your OS and browser, new system updates usually have enhanced security that fixes all the threats that may be caused by malware and hackers.
Ignore spam: it is for the best health of your computer to ignore spam messages and emails. Usually, all the spam e-mails are embedded with the malware which is just waiting for one click and ruin the entire system.
Computer threats and security go hand in hand. You shouldn’t indulge in any practices that may be bad for your computer and result in loss of your information to someone who might use it to your benefit. Because of cybersecurity and its techniques, the attacks and viruses have gone low by30% since it first started.