I am writing a blog post on a topic that has been very pervasive to society. More and more I have people coming to me that believe they have been targeted by “hackers”. In part, this wholesale notion that “hackers” are waiting in the wings for us, is due to media glamorization of the skilled “hacker” that is just combing through anyone’s computer that they want to at will. Hopefully, this series will give you a more realistic view as to the likelihood that you have been “hacked”. Hopefully this series will also help you to secure your computer and/or network.
We hear it every day; “I think someone hacked my account”. It is our first suspicion whenever something does not work exactly as we believe it should on our computer. Whenever we find out that people know things that we believe they shouldn’t, we immediately think “someone hacked one of my social network accounts”! The paranoia about being “hacked” has become so pervasive in our society that we bypass the most logical options and believe we have been “hacked” if we cannot explain a leakage of information or if our computers don’t respond the way they always do. Don’t get me wrong, a REAL danger of being compromised in our digital world through malicious targeting DOES in fact exist, and we should certainly be cautious about it, but there is a difference between being cautious and being paranoid.
First of all, not everyone is a “hacker”. Contrary to popular myth, it takes a little more to be a “hacker” than to just sit down in front of a computer. I have been in the circles of what one might call some REAL hackers, one of my close associates has two books and a movie out about his exploits as a “hacker”, and now owns a successful computer security company. I have another friend that is a “white hat hacker” that has worked for some of the largest international banks in the world strengthening their security, and a friend of mine that sub-contracted work from me for a while is one of the best computer security expert’s that I have ever meant and who’s skills have saved people lots of money and even saved a few people from going to jail on false charges, and one of my best friends is in charge of IT at a very popular and well to do hotel. I have also dabbled in the “hacking arena” myself, and am known in certain circles for some pretty notorious exploits. [Read more…]