What are Computer Hackers?
Computer hackers are people who typically possess a high degree of technical skills and can break into any internet-connected device such as computers, tablets and smartphones. The term hacker has a very negative connotation attached to it because most black-hat hackers break into systems with malicious intent. However, there are also white hat or ethical hackers who break into systems with the intent of finding hidden vulnerabilities so they can secure the systems better. Black hat hackers, on the other hand, generally break into systems with the explicit intent to commit data theft, modify or delete information, install malware, encrypt the entire system and lock the legitimate user out and generally to create havoc. Sometimes, hackers may use dormant malware where users are not alerted to the presence of the malware until the hacker has managed to gain access to other parts of the network or commit data theft. Hackers are typically after sensitive and valuable data stored in computer systems that can include financial information, personally identifiable information, health data, and intellectual properties. In order to protect your business from hackers and data loss, please contact Cybersecurity New Jersey.
Hackers can operate under a variety of motivations including gaining fame (or notoriety, as the case may be), political motivation, revenge, corporate espionage or sabotage, identity theft, vandalism, blackmail, the allure of a significant commission (paid by the ransomware groups that they work for), the intent to harm a specific individual or a company or even a nation, extort money, or privileged information or access. Irrespective of motivation, hackers can cause widespread damage to computer systems and networks. With the rise of mobile banking and Internet banking, it has also become common for hackers to target individuals to gain access to their bank accounts and financial information or commit identity theft in order to carry out financial transactions such as transferring money or taking out a loan.
Common security techniques used by hackers
Server disruption attacks are highly targeted and generally carried out with the intent to overwhelm a company’s servers or render its website useless. The most common form of server disruption is the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. In this type of an attack, hackers illegitimately gain control over a network of computers to create a botnet. Hackers use this botnet to continuously ping the targeted server or website, essentially overloading them with a huge volume of fake traffic until the server crashes and the website shuts down.
As the name suggests, vulnerability scanning is used by hackers to identify weaknesses in a system or a network. This particular security technique can be leveraged by white hat and black hat hackers alike. For black hat hackers, the objective is to illegitimately gain access to a system or a network. Once the hackers manage to gain access, they can use a variety of infiltration techniques to cause further harm through additional attacks.
Unauthorized Code Execution
Unauthorized Code Execution involves deploying malware in the victim’s system to take over control. This kind of an attack is often the first step in creating an army of zombie computers or bots. The motivation here is to gain unprecedented access to the system. This enables hackers to carry out a number of illegitimate activities without being caught.
Top Tips to Secure Your Computer from Hackers
Install a strong firewall
Firewalls are your first line of defense against unauthorized access and malicious activity. The software can also alert system administrators to any intrusion attempts. If you use a software firewall, make sure it is activated before going online. You can also opt for hardware firewalls that get connected to your broadband router. For larger businesses, you may need to opt for a business networking firewall. Windows and macOS also come with built-in firewalls. For more information on implementing strong firewalls, please contact IT Support New Jersey.
Install antivirus software
While this advice may seem cliché, antivirus programs continue to be one of the most useful tools against computer viruses and malware that are ubiquitous. You can make use of reputed antivirus programs such as Bitdefender, Panda Free Antivirus, Malwarebytes and Avast. These programs enable you to detect threats in real-time and take appropriate measures such as quarantining the malware. More advanced programs also come with the option to enable automatic updates that may protect you from a range of evolving threats and new viruses. Merely installing the program is not enough. Companies must also run the program on a regular schedule to conduct periodic scans and remove malware, if any.
Use a password manager
Installing a password manager can be one way to enforce Secure password policies at your organization. These programs can be configured to follow a predefined set of security policies when it comes to creating new passwords, as well as replacing old passwords on a regular basis. Instead of your employees racking their brains over a list of ever-changing and evolving passwords, the program can easily implement basic password formatting such as the required number of characters, use of uppercase and lowercase, use of special characters and numbers, random lettering, not using names or birthdays and more. The program can also remind users to change their passwords periodically and never to reuse passwords. Commonly used reputed password managers include Dashlane, Sticky Password, LastPass or Password Boss.
Backup all your data
Always backup all of your information. If you are a small business, try backing up on hard drives or on premise servers. Larger businesses may need to resort to cloud services. Backups can act as a lifeline to ensure business continuity when you fall victim to a cyber-attack. In order to back up your data, you can start with the backup utilities built into macOS (Time Machine) and Windows (File History). You could also seek help from expert security services providers such as Managed IT Services New Jersey.
About Chris:Chris Forte is the President and CEO of Olmec Systems, which provides specialized managed IT support New Your City, NJ & GA area. Chris has been in the MSP work-space for the past 25 years. He earned his Master’s Degree from West Virginia University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. In his spare time, Chris enjoys traveling with his family. Stay connected via LinkedIn.