A hacked device (whether it’s a smartphone or a computer) can compromise your privacy and identity without you finding out before the harm is done. Threat actors continue to evolve by adding new hacking methods to their arsenal, making it harder to evade and detect existing and potential threats.
This means that the average user is playing a perpetual game of whack-a-mole with malware – a game that they are statistically bound to lose unless they use an antivirus/antimalware solution. So what exactly is computer hacking? Let’s take a deep dive into this menace.
What is Computer/Device Hacking
Computer hacking involves any method where a threat actor gains unauthorized access to your phone or transmits its data. This can range from advanced cybersecurity breaches to simple social engineering attacks such as phishing emails. It could also involve the physical theft of your computer and hacking into it via brute force methods.
Any type of computer, operating system, or device can fall prey to a hacking attempt, including Windows 10 devices, iPhones, and Androids.
Because all devices are at risk of getting hacked, it is recommended that all users learn about the different types of hacking methods and ways and means on how to protect their devices from hacking
Types of Hacking
Let’s take a look at the various types of hacks that can compromise device safety.
Phishing is a social engineering hacking attempt that cybercriminals use to steal your private data and finances through emails. Hackers often pose as someone you know (such as your company CEO or a government employee) to make you reveal important information such as your password, bank card details, and credentials to your banking account.
The attacker will resort to using language that may sound convincing to an untrained person. Phishing attacks are usually combined with other attacks, such as malware and network attacks, to hack into your computer or device.
A keylogger is a type of malware that tracks all your keystrokes as you type them. This information is then sent to a threat actor to help them hack into secure systems. There are various types of keyloggers, including security keyloggers that have to be installed on your device to steal keystroke data and hardware keyloggers that require a physical connection to the target device.
The best way to prevent both types of keyloggers is to carefully monitor who has access to the device and network.Unauthorized access to your devices and systems must be prevented at all times.
A SQL injection allows hackers to disrupt communication between an application and its database. It allows the hacker to view data that they may otherwise not be able to access. This usually includes that belonging to the user or data that the application is able to retrieve. In many cases, attackers can change and delete the data.
SQL injection attacks exploit known vulnerabilities that can comprise the underlying server to run malicious code. In one example, it may be possible for an attacker to visit a website’s search box and enter code that could force the SQL server to dump all credentials stored on the site (including usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and others).
Note: One of the reliable ways to prevent SQL injection is to install up-to-date antivirus software.
Denial of Service
A denial-of-service attack is an attack that allows the threat actor to disrupt a network resource, making it unable to target users. This is mostly done by flooding the machine or network with excess traffic that could trigger a crash. As a result, the DoS attack deprives users with access to the service.
The best way to prevent DoS attacks is to install and maintain antivirus software and firewalls to manage unwanted traffic.
Methods to Secure Your Devices from Hackers
Although there are several ways for a hacker to breach into your computer or device to steal personal information, there are a few important ways of improving your cybersecurity posture.
Use an Antivirus Software on Your Device
Install free antivirus software such as Avast, Panda, and AVG. If your needs are more complex (using a VPN, email scanning, password manager, etc.), consider upgrading to up-to-date antivirus suites that provide more comprehensive security.
Use a Password Manager
You probably use a dozen or more applications – including banks and social media accounts – all of which require usernames and passwords. Creating strong passwords (and remembering them) is a challenging task. Some people make the mistake of using the same credentials across different applications, not knowing that a single data breach could compromise their data across all services.
This is why you should use a strong and unique password. And you don’t have to remember them if you use password managers. The password manager will create those passwords for you and store them in a safe location as well.
Use a VPN
One way of stealing user data is to rely on public Wi-Fi, such as those found in hotels and airports. These networks are public, meaning all your online activity may be exposed to others on the network. This may also include your banking usage. The best way to protect your information on a public network is to mask it with a VPN. Basically, VPN provides the additional layer of protection while using public Wi-Fi network.
Encrypt Your Hard Drive
Encryption essentially makes a jumbled mess of data so that hackers cannot use the information even if they get access to it. This means that if someone were to steal your hard drive or gain unauthorized access to it, all they’ll see is a string of nonsensical numbers and alphabets.
Encryption may take a few minutes or hours, depending on your hard drive’s size, but it’s worth the effort. Do keep in mind that you must stay in possession of your private key at all times; otherwise, you could lose your data forever!
Use Two Factor Authentication
Even if someone steals your password, they won’t be able to use it if you protect your account with two-factor authentication. As soon as the hacker enters your password, they will be prompted to provide another piece of identification, such as a code sent to your mailbox or a fingerprint. This will stop the vast majority of hacking attempts and protect your devices.
So there you have it, a quick look at the types of hacking and what you can do to protect your devices and computers. For more information on cybersecurity services and how to safeguard your digital assets, contact the experts at Microsys.
Microsys has been a reliable partner for several companies for nearly 25 years in ensuring cybersecurity along with multiple systems and network support.