You are using your social media account and suddenly get logged out of it. You try to log into your account again but see that your password is changed. What happened in those few minutes? There are chances that someone hacked your system, changed the password of your account. Hacking is not new to anyone using social media. It has been prevalent from a really long time now. But it doesn’t mean you should give in to the intentions and attacks of hackers.
Although many people have been the victim of hacking or even heard about it from others, they still don’t know some of the basics and important facts about it. What is hacking? How can I identify that my system is hacked? What should I do to prevent myself from hackers and their attacks? You can know all about this in this article. So let’s start this and know how to have a secured PC experience.
What is hacking?
The unauthorized activities used for compromising digital devices like computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets as well as entire networks. Not just for malicious purposes, hacking is used in different ways like:
- Spying and gathering information
- Stealing money
- Protesting against any government (fulfilling political agenda)
- Just for fun’s sake and challenges.
Although hacking is mainly technical but nowadays hackers have grown smarter and use psychological means for tricking their victim and gathering important information from them. This is known as ‘social engineering’.
Hackers are not limiting their tactics just to social engineering. There are other different techniques used by them like:
- Trojan horses
- DDoS (Denial of service attacks) and more.
If you think all the hackers have the same intentions then have a look at this list:
- Cracker : Any hacker trying to gain unauthorized access to computer system for their personal gains. They hack systems with the intention of stealing corporate data, transferring funds from bank accounts, violating privacy rights etc.
- Ethical hacker : A hacker gaining access to systems with the intention of fixing its identified weaknesses. It is probable that they use penetration testing and vulnerable assessments.
- Grey hat : Hackers who come in between the category of crackers and ethical hackers are grey hat hackers. They get unauthorized access into the system for identifying its vulnerabilities and revealing them to their owner.
- Hacktivist : Any hacker breaking into the systems for spreading political, religious, social messages to others. They do it by hijacking any website and leaving your message on it.
- Script kiddies : Any non-skilled person trying to gain access to your system by using already made tools.
How to know if my system is hacked?
You can know your system is hacked when you see the following symptoms:
- Fake antivirus warning messages
- Random pop ups
- Redirection to suspicious and strange websites
- Ransomware messages
- Unwanted browser toolbar
How to prevent hacking?
You can follow these steps and prevent your system from being hacked:
- Scan the hard drives : It is very common to store data in hard drives and make a back up. But before doing that make sure all you hard drives like pen drives, external hard disks and other devices are scanned. You should scan them by a USB scanner for removing all sorts of malware.
- Beware of random emails : One of the most used and easiest way of hacking and infecting a bunch of users’ system at the same time is sending emails to them. There are viruses or any kind of malware in those mails disguised as attachments. So make sure that you don’t open mails you find suspicious. It doesn’t matter if the source is unknown or someone you know. Hackers can hack system of their victims and send infected mails to their contacts. So you better be sure about not opening any mail that seems strange to you.
- Downloads from authorized websites : If you want to download anything then always go to a trusted website. There are many unknown and malicious websites designed by the hackers. Whatever you download from such websites are most probably infected and will infect your system too. There are many website offering you to download high value software for free. Although you should know it is a trick because it is too good to be true. But people get tricked by such offers anyway. Make sure whatever you download; you do it from a reliable and trusted website.
- No storing or sharing of personal information : The main aim of hackers is to steal your personal information and by saving that on your PC you have made it easier for them. Try to memorize your login ID and passwords so that you don’t have to save it on your systems. Also don’t share your passwords and any other information with anyone.