How Computers Hackers Hack Sensitive Information... And What You Can Do About it
Media outlets on June 14 reported that Russian hackers allegedly had breached the Democratic National Committees computer network and gained access to a large amount of emails, chat logs and what not.
Regardless of who got hacked and for what reason, one thing is certain: The consequences of hacking are grave. While I have little sympathy for politicians and their games, I do want to help you recognize and avoid dangers to your online security. An important part of that is to be aware of hackers and their methods.
So, how do hackers gain illegal access to sensitive information and what do they do with it?
Without getting too technical, Ill discuss methods that successful hackers use to inflict maximum damage on their victims - the worst-case scenario. Hopefully, this will help you assess the dangers and proceed with caution if you ever end up under such an attack.
Before gaining access to a device or an online access point, an accomplished hacker will do quite a bit of research on his victim. Nowadays most non-sensitive data is publicly available, and a lot of personal information can be found simply by browsing social-media channels and forums, such as Facebook.
Are you oversharing?
After acquiring the data, the hacker can create a database of facts that can be used to answer sensitive security questions set up to protect a future victims online accounts, or to simply "guess" their password by brute-force attack methods.
How two-factor authentication works.
If this method doesnt bear fruit, the hacker may attempt to bypass two-factor-authentication through social-engineering strategies that could even include tricking your mobile-network operator into sending him a copy of your phones SIM card. Using the card, among other things, the hacker is able to receive verification codes necessary for completing his break-in.
Another method is more common: The victims computer gets infected when she runs a harmful executable (an app, a self-extracting PowerPoint presentation, etc.), or simply when she visits a website that can covertly download and install malicious software without her knowing it.
If all of this frightens you, good. Luckily, there are many ways to stay protected, and most of them rely on potential victims being aware of their online surroundings and assets. This ranges from having physical offline verification tokens to strengthen online security, to installing the latest version of antivirus/malware software. F-Secure SAFE is one product that safeguards users from all these kind of threats as it blocks the internet connection to outside sources when you are visiting sites like Facebook etc. So your safety is all in your hands. Just talk to our certified technicians and they will assist you in the installation process and also guide you on how to use the same.
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