Hackers are people who use computers to break into computer systems. They do it to steal data, disrupt operations, or gain access to sensitive information. Hackers often work alone, though some groups exist specifically to commit cybercrime.
The term “hacker” originated in the 1960s with reference to people breaking into mainframe computers. In the 1970s, hackers began to break into smaller computers such as minicomputers and personal computers, sometimes called home computers.
In recent decades, hacking has been used to describe activities related to computer security, including penetration testing, ethical hacking, reverse engineering, cracking passwords, and social engineering.
How to know if your Computer is Hacked?
Hackers use email as a mean to spread viruses, worms and trojans around the world. Hackers send emails containing malicious attachments, links and documents. They could be anything like music files, video files, pictures, text documents etc. These emails usually contain malware which can damage your computer system. If you receive such an email, do not open it immediately because it might infect your PC. Instead, follow these steps to check whether your computer is infected.
1. Check Your Antivirus program. Most antiviruses come with built-in anti-spyware features. You can scan your computer for spyware using the antivirus software installed on your machine. To find out what programs are installed on your computer, type “msconfig” into the Start menu Search box. This opens up the System Configuration utility, where you can see what applications are installed on your machine. Click on each application listed there to view detailed information about it.
2. Look for suspicious activity. Once you have checked your antivirus software, look for any unusual activity on your computer. For example, if you notice a strange file being downloaded onto your hard disk, delete it immediately. Also, if you notice that some of your files are missing, try to restore them from backup copies.
3. Scan your Internet connection. Make sure that your internet connection is safe. It is recommended that you connect to the Internet via a wired Ethernet connection rather than wireless. When connecting wirelessly, make sure that you are using a secure network.
4. Use a firewall. Firewalls protect computers against unauthorized access. A firewall allows you to control incoming connections to your computer. Some firewalls block certain protocols while others allow specific ones.
5. Update your operating system. Operating systems keep track of changes made to the hardware and software components of your computer. Updating your operating system helps prevent attacks. You can update the operating system by downloading patches from authorized sources.
6. Keep your passwords secret. Passwords are used to logon to different accounts. Many people reuse passwords across multiple sites. This makes it easy for hackers to gain access to personal data stored online. Therefore, it is advisable to change your password regularly.
Scan all Types of Hard Drives before Running
The FBI warned consumers about keeping easy passwords that are easily guessed. Hackers use common words like “123456,” “password,” “qwerty,” and “letmein.” They also look for weak security questions such as mother’s maiden name, birth date, and favorite color.
To protect yourself, you must change your password every six months. You should avoid reusing the same password across multiple accounts. Instead, choose a unique password for each account. This way, hackers won’t know what to target next.
You should also consider installing antivirus software and changing your browser settings. If someone gains access to one of your devices, they could steal personal information stored there. And if you’re worried about losing data, make sure you back it up regularly.
Never Store or Share your Login Information
The importance of an anti-hacking software cannot be overstated. Hackers are always looking for ways to steal information from you. They might use social engineering methods to trick you into giving up your login information, or they could even install malware on your device. If hackers gain access to your account, it could lead to identity theft. This could mean a loss of money, reputation, and privacy.
Anti-virus software does not protect against hacking attempts. Instead, it protects your system from viruses and malicious code. A good anti-virus program should detect and delete malware automatically. You should never store or share your login information online.
If you do decide to keep your login information stored online, make sure that it is encrypted. Encryption scrambles data so that no one else can read it. There are many different types of encryption. For example, you can use a password, a PIN number, or a security key like a fingerprint scanner. Some companies offer both free and paid versions of anti-hacking software. Free versions often include fewer features and less protection. However, there are some free programs that offer excellent protection. Here are five popular anti-hacking software programs.
1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
Bitdefender is a well-known name in the industry. Its antivirus software offers a wide range of protections including real-time scanning, automatic virus removal, email filtering, spyware detection, and parental controls. In addition, it blocks suspicious URLs and downloads. Bitdefender also includes a firewall that prevents unauthorized connections to your network.
2. Norton 360
Norton is another well-known brand, and its antivirus software provides similar protections to those offered by Bitdefender. Like Bitdefender, Norton uses a variety of technologies to scan files, emails, and networks. It also detects and removes malware. Norton also offers a web shield that prevents dangerous sites from being accessed via the Internet.
There are three basic types of hackers
1. Black Hat — The Bad Guys
Black hat hackers are those who attempt to break into computer networks or servers without authorization. These individuals may try to gain unauthorized entry into computers or networks to steal sensitive data, disrupt services, or cause harm to the system itself. Hackers can also take advantage of weaknesses in software or hardware to gain unauthorized control of a network or server. In addition, these individuals may seek out vulnerabilities in order to exploit them for financial gain.
2. White Hat — The Good Guys
White hat hackers, sometimes called ethical hacks, are those who break into computer networks with authorization to try to find weaknesses. They are hired by companies to test their security and help fix problems before attackers can exploit them.
This type of hacker is often referred to as a “white hat,” because he wears a white lab coat while performing his duties. He is considered a good guy because he does what he is supposed to do without causing harm.
The term “ethical hacker” is used somewhat interchangeably with “white hat.” Ethical hackers are those who engage in activities such as penetration testing, vulnerability assessment and red teaming. An ethical hacker doesn’t necessarily wear a white lab coat; however, it is common for him or her to use the same tools as black hats.
Certification programs exist to recognize people who meet certain standards. For example, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification requires candidates to pass a rigorous examination and demonstrate competency in five areas: information security policy, cryptography, incident response planning, technology controls and physical/environmental security practices.
Hackers are a necessary evil. Without them, there would be no security breaches to report. Hackers are also a sign of progress. As society becomes more reliant on computers, the number of attacks increases. This makes it important for us to understand how hackers operate and why they are doing what they are doing.
3. Grey hat – Good or bad, depends upon who you ask.
A gray hat hacker is someone who hacks systems for the purpose of finding security flaws. This person does not intend to use those flaws against others; rather, they want to report them to the people who actually make the software. In some cases, it might even be illegal.
Gray hat hacking is different from black hat hacking because it involves identifying problems in a way that doesn’t cause harm. For example, a gray hat hacker might find a flaw in a web server that allows attackers to bypass authentication checks. He wouldn’t try to exploit the vulnerability himself, but rather notify the site owner so that they can patch up the problem.
The term “gray hat” originated in the 1980s. At the time, computer hackers could be either white hats or black hats. A white hat hacker was one who found security holes in computers and reported them to the manufacturer. A black hat hacker was one who used those same holes to attack other computers. A gray hat hacker was somewhere in between.
What are the different types of hacking?
There are many types of hacking, including social engineering, data theft, phishing, malware infection, denial of service attacks, and even some forms of cyberwarfare. Each type of attack requires a slightly different set of skills and tools, but there are certain similarities among them.
Hackers are criminals. They break into computers and steal data. And sometimes, they use those stolen credentials to commit fraud. But what about reporting hacking? Is it illegal? Can you go to jail for reporting someone else’s hack?
The answer depends on where you live. In some states, people who report hacks face criminal charges. In others, they’re protected under state laws designed to encourage security research.
In Minnesota, the law says you can’t be charged with a crime for reporting a computer breach, even if you know the hacker stole personal data. Instead, you could be fined $1,000.
But the law doesn’t protect everyone equally. If you work for a government agency, you might be able to report a hack without fear of punishment. On the other hand, if you’re just a regular person, you probably won’t find much help.
That’s why we asked our readers to tell us how they reported a cyber attack. We received dozens of responses, including many stories of frustration, fear, and confusion. Here are just a few examples:
A reader named “John” lives in New York City and works for a large corporation. He used his corporate email address to report a hack he witnessed while working late one night. His boss told him to shut down the system, which he did. A couple days later, John got a call from the FBI asking questions about the incident.
A woman named “Marilyn” works for a small nonprofit organization based in Washington state. She found out her husband had been hacked during a family vacation in Mexico. Marilyn tried calling the credit card companies involved, but she couldn’t reach anyone. So she called the police department in the town where her husband worked. The next day, she got a letter from the police informing her that her husband had been arrested for identity theft.
If Your Device or Online Accounts are Hacked
The number one way hackers gain access into people’s computers is via phishing scams. Phishing refers to the practice of sending emails that look like they come from legitimate companies, such as banks or credit card processors, asking recipients to provide sensitive personal data. Hackers use social engineering techniques to trick unsuspecting victims into giving up their login credentials. These accounts can be used to log into other online accounts, including email, bank accounts, and even cryptocurrency wallets. Once logged in, the hacker can control the victim’s account, read, change, or delete information, and potentially drain funds out of the account.
To avoid being tricked, here are some tips to help protect yourself:
1. Never give away your passwords. Instead, use unique passwords for each site you sign up for. Keep track of what sites you sign up for, and remember to never reuse the same password across multiple accounts.
2. Don’t click on suspicious links in emails or text messages. Even if the link takes you to a legitimate website, clicking on it could install malware on your computer.
3. Always check the URL bar of your web browser before entering sensitive information. This indicates that the site is secure.
4. Use strong passwords. Password managers make creating strong, complex passwords easy. They generate random passwords based on your preferences, and store them securely.
5. Back up your important files regularly. You can do this manually by copying files off your hard drive and storing them offline. Or, you can use cloud storage services like Dropbox or iCloud to automatically upload copies of your files to the cloud.
15 Tips to Prevent Hacking
1. Encrypt Files While Storing and Transferring
When you’re sharing any important documents with anyone or storing them in your device, USB, cloud platform, or anywhere else, always use encryption. This way, no one can see what’s inside your files unless they know the password.
Encryption means using mathematical algorithms and a secret cryptographic key to scramble plain text into cipher text. In simple terms, encryption uses a random number generator to generate a string of numbers called a cryptographic key. These keys are used to decrypt the information.
Once encrypted, the information is unreadable to anyone except the person who knows the correct decryption key. If the wrong person gains access to the encrypted file, he won’t be able to read it.
This is why you should always encrypt files while transferring them over the Internet, emailing them, storing them on your computer, or uploading them to the cloud.
In Windows 10, there’s a built-in feature called File History that automatically backs up your most recent versions of Office 365 apps like OneDrive, Outlook Mail, and SharePoint Online. You can set up automatic backups of your files and folders. Every day, File History saves copies of your files to a local hard disk or network location. You can choose where to store these backup copies.
If something happens to your PC, you can easily restore lost or corrupted files from the backups. To do this, just sign in to your account online, select “File history,” and then select the date range for which you want to recover the files.
You can also manually save your files to a different folder, such as your thumb drive, external hard drive, or another local storage device. Then, when you connect that device to another PC, you’ll have access to your backed-up files.
2. Use Browser Extensions to Block Malicious Sites and Harmful Downloads
There are some free browser extensions out there that help protect against harmful downloads and malware. You might already know about one or two of them, but there are many others that can do the same thing. Some of them even let you block certain types of ads, too. Here are five popular ones that I recommend installing on your computer:
Online Security Pro by Comodo – This extension lets you scan files and URLs before downloading them. If it finds something suspicious, it blocks the download.
Anti-Malware SubZero – This extension looks for viruses, spyware, adware, and other potentially unwanted programs. It scans your computer regularly, and keeps track of what it finds.
Adblock Plus – This extension removes advertisements from webpages. Many people find it annoying, but most of us appreciate the fact that we don’t see those annoying popups anymore.
uMatrix – This extension helps you control what websites can access on your computer. For example, it allows you to block cookies, images, scripts, and Flash objects.
HTTPS Everywhere – This extension makes sure that every site you go to uses HTTPS encryption. Without it, hackers could intercept your information while you’re online.
3. Install a Strong Anti-Malware Program
Although this one is pretty obvious – especially if you are running Windows 10 – many people don’t know how to protect themselves against viruses and malware. Antivirus software is a must-have tool to keep your computer safe from cybercriminals. When shopping around for a good antivirus product, make sure to look for something that offers real-time protection and automatic scans. You want to avoid paying monthly fees for a subscription because you won’t actually be getting much value out of it.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you want to install a free version of the software. Free versions often come with limited features and aren’t updated as frequently as paid ones. However, there are also plenty of great freeware options out there that offer excellent performance and are easy to set up and manage.
If you decide to go ahead and purchase a full version of an antivirus program, make sure to choose one that supports Windows 7, 8 and 10. Also check to ensure that it includes support for cloud scanning. This way, you’ll be able to quickly scan files without having to wait for a local copy to finish.
You can also try downloading a trial version of the software before making a final decision. Most companies provide a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test drive the software for yourself and see whether or not it meets your needs.
While you’re looking into different products, make sure to read reviews online about each one. There are tons of sites that review antivirus software, including AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, Virus Bulletin, AV-TEST, etc. Some of these sites even allow you to compare multiple products side-by-side.
4. Sanitize Your PC Manually
Malware isn’t always detected by antivirus programs. In fact, there are some advanced types of viruses that even firewalls cannot detect. However, regular manual checks can help avoid such issues. Here are some basic tips to safeguard yourself against hackers:
1. Keep an eye on what you download. Don’t open suspicious attachments or open unknown URLs.
2. Do not install anything from untrusted sources. You can use Windows Defender SmartScreen to block downloads from known phishing sites.
3. Use anti-malware tools regularly. Make sure your security software is up-to-date.
4. Clean out your temp folders. They’re often used to store temporary data that could contain sensitive information.
5. Scan your computer regularly. Perform scans on your hard disk, memory cards, USB drives, etc.
6. Remove unnecessary applications and unused drivers. This helps free up space for future use.
5. Enable Encryption Using BitLocker for Windows 10
If your Windows computer is stolen, or you sell it without completely erasing the memory, thieves won’t be able to steal your personal information because it’ll be encrypted.
This handy tool allows you to encrypt your entire hard drive, including your operating system, documents, pictures, videos, music, and everything else stored on your PC. You don’t even need to turn off your computer! Just run the program once and it’ll do the rest.
The process is simple enough that anyone can use it. Here are the steps:
1. Open the Start menu and type “bitlocker” into the search box.
2. Select Manage BitLocker.
3. Click Turn On BitLocker for your C: drive, and D: drive, andUSB.
4. When prompted, enter a password and confirm it.
6. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a way to add extra layers of security to your online accounts. In addition to having a username/password combination, some sites require you to enter a second piece of information such as a phone number or a short phrase known as a “security key.” This additional step helps prevent hackers from accessing your account without knowing your username and password.
You might already use 2FA on your banking, social media, and shopping accounts, but there are many other places where you can enable this feature. Here are six ways to set up 2FA:
1. Log into your account via text messages
Some banks let you use SMS text messaging to authenticate yourself. For example, you could receive a text message asking you to confirm your identity by entering a special code sent to your cell phone. Once you’ve entered the code correctly, you’re ready to login.
2. Use a smartphone app
If you prefer to use an app, you can download several free options to help you manage your 2FA. Some popular ones include Authy, Duo Mobile Authenticator, Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, and Yubico Authenticator.
3. Set up a physical authenticator device
7. Don’t Log in Via Existing Third-Party Platforms
When you want to sign into an account on a new app or website, you might see an option to log in via one of your existing third-party accounts. This could include your social media profiles, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, and many others.
Why do we say “Don’t”?
Because it gives the new site access to information about you stored on those platforms. For example, if you’re signing up for a new dating app, the new app can see what groups you belong to on Facebook, whether you’ve liked any articles on Twitter, and even what movies are showing near you on Fandango Now.
This data can help the new app personalize your experience, but it can also be used to target ads at you based on your browsing history. If you’re signed into a bunch of different apps/sites, advertisers can track everything you do across the web.
So next time you try to log in to something new, make sure you go through the process yourself rather than letting someone else handle it for you.
8. Don’t Share Any Information via HTTP Sites
When browsing the web, you might notice that some sites don’t use HTTPS encryption, which protects your personal information from being stolen by cybercriminals. These sites are known as HTTP sites, since they run over the less secure HTTP protocol rather than HTTPS.
HTTP sites aren’t inherently unsafe; they’re simply not secured. They could contain malicious code that steals your personal information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers. In fact, many major retailers like Amazon and eBay use HTTP sites to collect your personal information.
So how do you know whether a site is secure? Look at the URL in the address bar. You’ll find this symbol in the address bar of most modern browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
The next step is to check the security settings of your computer and mobile device. For example, Windows 10 devices come preloaded with built-in protection against phishing attacks, which automatically block HTTP sites that attempt to trick you into giving up your login credentials. So, if you want to browse securely online, make sure to update your operating system and install anti-virus software.
9. Recognize Signs of Fake or Malware-Infected Websites
If you land on a website and aren’t sure whether to trust it, here are some telltale signs that could indicate the site is either fake or malware-infected:
• Too many redirects to unrelated domains.
• A download button appears even though there isn’t anything to download.
• There are multiple “downloads” or “plays” buttons for the same piece of content.
• Your browser warns you about downloading something suspicious.
10. Learn to Recognize Fake vs. Legitimate Software and Applications
When you download software onto your computer, smartphone, or tablet, you give permission to the developer to change things on your device. You are trusting the developer to do what he says he’ll do. However, there are some developers who take advantage of unsuspecting users by installing malicious programs that steal personal information or infect your system with malware. In addition, some people use fake applications designed to look like real ones. These apps often contain harmful components such as adware, spyware, viruses, Trojans, and worms.
If you want to avoid getting caught up in a scam, learn how to recognize legitimate software and applications. Here are 10 tips to help you spot fake software and applications:
1. Read the Publisher’s Name
The publisher’s name appears in the Security tab of the installer program. If you don’t know anything about the application, just accept the default settings, especially if you’ve downloaded numerous similar programs. But if you’re suspicious, read the publisher’s name carefully. A reputable software publisher usually lists his contact information, including email address, phone number, physical address, and web site URL.
2. Check Out the Developer’s Identity
You can verify the developer’s identity by checking out the publisher’s name. If you find a developer whose identity isn’t listed, proceed with caution. There are many rogue programmers out there who pretend to be someone else. Also, if the developer’s name doesn’t match the publisher’s name, chances are good that the developer isn’t trustworthy.
3. Look Up the Certificate Authority
11. Recognize Phishing Emails
Phishing scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to spot. If you receive an unsolicited email asking for sensitive information like credit card numbers, social security number, login credentials, etc., it could be a scam. These types of attacks often use spoofed emails and fake web domains. They’re designed to trick people into giving up personal data.
12. Be Vigilant While Downloading Anything from the Internet
The internet is full of malicious people who want to infect you with viruses. They do it because they make money off of doing so. There are many ways that you can protect yourself from getting infected. Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of computer crime:
1. Be careful what you download. If you don’t know where something came from, don’t open it.
2. Use anti-virus software. This way, you’ll catch anything that might harm your system.
3. Make sure you’re running up-to-date security patches.
4. Don’t use public Wi-Fi networks unless you trust the person who owns them.
5. Keep your operating systems and applications updated.
6. Never install software without verifying the publisher.
13. Beware of Phishing SMS Messages
Phishing SMS messages are becoming increasingly popular among cyber criminals. These malicious messages typically come from unknown numbers and try to trick victims into clicking on links that take them to fraudulent websites. This type of attack is known as smishing. Hackers use smishing because it is easy to set up and requires little technical knowledge. There are many different types of smishing attacks, including those that attempt to steal personal information such as usernames and passwords. Other smishing scams target bank accounts, credit card numbers, and social security numbers. In some cases, hackers even impersonate law enforcement officials and threaten legal action against the victim unless funds are transferred immediately.
14. Don’t Jailbreak Your Devices
Jailbreaking is a process where you root your Android phone or tablet. This allows you to install third-party applications, such as those from Amazon or Apple, without having to go through the carrier. If you do it right, it’s actually pretty easy. However, there are risks involved. And most people don’t know what they’re doing. So here’s how to keep yourself safe while still being able to enjoy the benefits of rooting.
15. Additional Tips on How to Prevent Being Hacked
Alright, we’re on to our final tip for how to prevent being hacked. This is where many people go wrong when it comes to online security. You see, there are tons of ways hackers can hack into your computer, phone, tablet, or even smartwatch. However, most people don’t realize that there are things they can do to protect themselves against these attacks. So, here are 15 simple yet effective tips to help keep you safe while browsing the web.
1. Update Your Device, Software, Operating System, and Apps
This might seem obvious, but it bears repeating. Make sure that your device, software, OS, and apps are up to date. Hackers love outdated devices because they’re easy targets. They’ll often look for vulnerabilities in older versions of iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, ChromeOS, and FirefoxOS. In fact, Microsoft recently announced that Windows 10 S won’t receive future feature upgrades. So, make sure you update your device to the newest version of its operating system. And make sure you install the latest version of your browser, email client, messaging app, and antivirus program.
2. Keep Your Login Information Private
If someone hacks into your computer or smartphone, they can steal all sorts of personal information, including your username, password, credit card number, address, social media accounts, etc. To avoid this, never share your login credentials, OTP, or other account-related info with anyone. Instead, use a separate set of login credentials for each site or application. Also, make sure you change your OTP regularly and store it somewhere else besides your computer or mobile device.
3. Use Strong Passwords
A strong password is crucial to keeping yourself secure online. A good rule of thumb is to use eight random letters, numbers, and symbols. For example, “Password1234!” or “QWERTYuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm1234567890”. But remember, no dictionary words. If someone cracks your password, they can access everything on your device.
Final Words on How to Prevent Hacking
Alright, we’re on to our final tip for how to avoid being hacked. This is by far the most important thing you can do to protect yourself online. Hackers want to steal your personal information, social media accounts, bank accounts, credit card numbers, etc. So it’s imperative that you take steps to keep your devices, software, operating systems, and apps up to date.
These are some simple yet important things you can do to help prevent hackers from accessing your device. First off, make sure you update your device, software, and operating system regularly. You don’t have to wait for major releases like iOS 10 or Android 8.1; there’s always something out there that could potentially break your device. Apps are especially vulnerable because many of them come preinstalled on your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.
Next, never give away your login credentials, including usernames, passwords, OTPs, or other account-related info with anyone. Hackers love nothing better than finding a way into someone else’s email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever else account. Once inside, hackers can see everything you’ve ever posted, send messages to people without your permission, delete your posts, change your profile picture, add friends, and much more.
Finally, don’t use public Wi-fi. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are open networks where anyone can connect to. They usually aren’t secured, meaning hackers can easily access your device and capture your personal information. Instead, use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your connection to the Internet and makes it look like you’re connecting to another location. Hackers won’t know what site you’re actually visiting, making it harder for them to grab your personal information.
That’s all we have today. We hope you enjoyed this video about how to stop hackers from getting into your device. For more videos, subscribe to the channel and check out the rest of the playlist. Thanks for watching.
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