Unless we have been living on a faraway distant planet, we have all heard of the term ‘Hacking’ But what is it actually?
The Dictionary Definition: ‘Hacking is an attempt to exploit a computer system or a private network inside a computer. Simply put, it is the unauthorised access to or control over computer network security systems for some illicit purpose’.
We have all seen the movies where the ‘Baddies’ have ‘hacked’ the governments computers and are able to launch the nuclear missiles to destroy the world! But in the real world, everyday Hacking is not quite so dramatic, but still can have devastating effects on personal or business lives.
Your private Data (a commodity worth as much as gold these days) your identity or bank details are all things the hacker is looking for. They can use these for their own personal gain or can make money from selling on your private details to other criminals.
These Hacking criminals also can plant dangerous viruses into networks, usually on business systems, disrupting their day-to-day trading, and often holding their systems to ‘ransom’ extorting payments from them to release the business system back to normality. (This is commonly known as Ransomware)
First thing to say is that Hacking is illegal and so hackers are essentially criminals and if caught, can be dealt with by law.
Hacking can occur on almost all devices including laptops, smartphones, desktop PCs, Tablets to name a few, they can even infiltrate whole networks.
What are the steps to take to avoid being Hacked?
One of the best ways is to keep up to date with potential threats, forearmed is forewarned, as they the saying goes. Use good reputable blogs from companies such as Norton or McAfee to keep you update with the latest threats.
Make sure that you keep all your software up to date. This will help you to have the best defence to any new threats that are on the market, as they keep updating the software to fight them.
Install a good reputable antivirus software (Norton 360 range or McAfee Security protection range, to name a couple of the top ones) This will definitely help with potential threats on all of your devices.
Finally, make sure that you change your passwords on a regular basis. But we all have so many to remember now, I hear you cry! and it is a real chore to try to recall them all, so, the dangerous trap we fall into is that we all tend to stick to just a couple to access our sites/accounts that we visit. Try to get out of this habit, it is a hacker’s delight when he has hacked one account and then discovers he can use the same password for many others! Don’t give them this gift! Once you have changed your password, don’t store it on your device, unless that storage access is protected. A good and old- fashioned way is to keep a notebook and ‘code’ your passwords, so that only you will know what they are. Alternatively, there are some good password vault apps that you can get free to store your passwords, these are password protected, of course, so you only need to remember one password and then can gain access to all your others.
Without a doubt, hacking will keep evolving to break more & more complex systems in the future, because of this, companies and governments hire ‘hackers’ to keep their systems update to date with the new threats and ways of defending their data. Hackers are even hired by governments to spy on enemies to gain secret information.
For as long as the internet exists, Hacking and cyber-criminals will always be out there. Stay Safe!