You may think that hacking can happen to someone else and that you will only witness it in movies, TV shows or games. It seems fun this way as it does not respect something that can ruin your life and create enormous losses and trouble. Hacking has been a mystery and you can find many sites and blogs that deal with this subject on a regular web. Just imagine how many threads and posts you would be able to find on the deep web which holds many secrets to the art of hacking. This is the way how apprentice hackers think and will try to do anything to surpass other hacker or earn the money illegally. This will cause a whole bunch of problems that might be harder to fix in a long run. Hacking has turned from a vigilante like a process to the almost certain criminal activity. The days of so called noble hacking are long before us and you will need to familiarize yourself with all the dangers of hackers and hacking in general.
The easiest way to introduce a newbie to this complex world is to start the story about hacking from the beginning. The term hacker was coined in the 90’s and it referred to the skilled programmer, so we can see that it did not have a negative connotation. To understand more about hacking first we need to learn the basics and the most basic thing is the definition. The meaning of this term today is more sinister as it refers to the person who uses his or her IT knowledge to steal your data or infect your computer with the malicious software that contains a malware or a virus. As you might have guessed this is not all as it is very easy for a hacker to exploit your system if you don’t have an adequate protection.
If you want to be fully aware of the problem that a hacker or a group of hackers can pose to your computer (s) you will need to learn about their malicious tools. As of right now there are more than 10 000 hacking tools online; starting with one that people use to hack social media accounts to ones that are used to gather SSNs and credit card information. Someone might sell your personal information to the highest bidder and as previously mentioned the deep web is a perfect place for them to conduct their shady affairs. Viruses, exploits, and worms are three basic “allies “of a regular hacker so it is a must that you learn something more about each one of them. Viruses have taken their name form the real life organism due to the fact that they are replicating and infecting the files on the host computer even “boot” files which serve to start a system. This means that you can lose all of your files, including your work if your boot files are infected as you would need to reinstall the whole system.
Exploits search for the vulnerability on your machine such as a bug so they can access the files stored on your HDD. Your computer can be exploited if it is connected to the same network as a hacker as you use a fake VPN (proxy server). This is why you need to be careful about the content that you are downloading to your computer or trying to access. The computer worm, on the other hand, is the malicious program which the only goal is to replicate itself and use your own computer to infect other computers. You can avoid them completely by avoiding sites that seem like a scam such as smartphones or cruise giveaways.
As we have covered the basics now it is the time for us to look into the worst possible things that a hacker can do to your computer. We will start with the one that was used from the start of hacking and that is using the computer to infect other. This does not bring any monetary gains to the hacker, but instead of that, it hurts other computers, individuals, and corporations as they lose money and time in this process. Most of these types of attacks were done in the late 90’s and early 2000’s such as Melissa and “I love you virus” that utilized email servers to infect hundreds of thousand computers all around the world. Thankfully, these attacks are quite rare today as people are more computer literate and the security is much more advanced.
We had mentioned before the stealing of your personal information as we believe that it represents the greatest danger that a computer user might face. Credit card information that is stored on your computer can be used for making a lot of online purchases and that will happen as a best-case scenario. The worst case scenario a hacker may decide to sell your credit card information to the highest bidder. Passwords of your online bank accounts can be easily stolen so be sure to change them on the regular basis and to check for suspicious activity often. This same thing can happen with your SSN, passport, ID or the driver’s license as all of these services can be found online if a person knows where to look. The scariest thing is that the criminal organization could buy all of these documents for 2000$ so your life will be a ruin because you did not spend enough time to store your documents in a safe place. We suggest using a cloud or a pen drive to save your personal documents as these are much safer options than leaving them lying around on the HDD or SDD.
You may think that hacker will only hack the social profiles or computers of celebrities to snoop around and try to find something interesting. This is not a case as lots of “normal people” turn to becoming a hacker in order to spy on someone and steal their intimate photos and videos for blackmail. For instance, I once read an article in which the writer claim that his webcam was hacked for a year and a hacker could have seen everything that he was doing for a year. The best protection against this is not to say in touch with every person whom you met online and to be careful not to share your personal life with everyone else.
Some application cost hundreds of dollars and hackers are ready to hack into your computer and steal them for easy cash. This will make the software company that you have bought from a suspect that you pirated the software so you will use your privileges to use the software that you had paid for fair and square. Some jobs require paid software to be used so in the end you might miss your deadlines and in the end even lose your job or jobs. Our suggestion is that you store the most important programs on external hard drives so nobody will steal them and you will not be able to lose them so easily.
We hope that we did not scare you too much with this topic and that you had learned about the dangers of hacking and how to avoid them. If you follow our advice then your computer and your personal life will be grateful for doing so. We also suggest reading about Google Chrome Extensions for your safe browsing.