In the simplest term there is, a hacker is an individual who uses electronic devices such as a computer in order to gain unauthorised access to data. In most case scenarios, hackers are computer wizards, however, there are less capable hackers who use tools such as viruses, Trojans and spyware created by other hackers to do the same (gain unauthorised access). This article will attempt to explain the FAQs of common security threats in the simplest manner possible.
How hackers get your access passwords?
Some of the most common techniques hackers to gain passwords include phishing pages. These are pages that are created by hackers that look exactly like your Gmail, Hotmail, PayPal or other login pages of the real site. Normally these login pages are sent via email or links on social media messaging systems and when you login, nothing happens on your side as the page is a fake, what actually happens is that the hacker now has your login codes as you logged into his bogus page.
Another basic and commonly used technique is via a Key-logger which is installed in your computer and resides in your system memory running each time you boot your system. This program basically records all your keystrokes and this log/ recording is then promptly sent to the hacker without you even knowing it. The most popular key-logger is Ardamax where users are able to customise the program to stay hidden even on Windows Task Manager.
Other popular methods include the use of Remote Administration Tools or RAT – whereby hackers are able to connect to your computer ‘silently’ without your even knowing about it. These programs allow hackers to actually view your screen and thus see everything you do and even log your keystrokes. Apart from that they are also able to copy files directly from your hard drive to their computer. Example of a popular RAT is Poison Ivy.
These are basically also known as spyware or malware based on the very simple fact that these programs are able to spy on your computer related activities or used for malicious purposes.
Understanding Computer Viruses
Just like spyware or malware viruses are malicious programs that replicate themselves just like biological viruses do. They do so by copying themselves into other executable program codes. Individuals create viruses with the sole intention of wreaking havoc on your system and in between if it is a part of their agenda, gain admin control and steal data that is sensitive.
So How Do I keep Safe?
It is good to understand that the basic modus operandi of Hackers is to trick users into installing any of the above either via email, phishing pages, spreading infected program files, getting people to open ‘legit looking’ attachments or even getting people to click on things on a website. Apart from that, these malicious programs that come in the form of viruses, spyware/ malware and ransom-ware could also be spread through physical devices such as USB drives, removable storage devices (external hard-disks, CDs or mobile phones). Based on all these facts, the best method to stay safe is to not click on anything from sources that you do not know or not really familiar with and never connect devices of unknown origins to your computer.