Category Archives: Hacking

Hacker’s Helper: How to protect your identity from the other side

Who better to learn how to defend against internet hacking and computer privacy than from a person who has lived and breathed it from the other side?

Those individuals, known as “hackers” have found their way to the greener on the other side and have opted to help the good guys in the fight against theft of identity, and aren’t afraid to show the general public the ins and outs of what they should be doing to protect themselves.

This real life “Catch Me If You Can” centers on the same premise of the movie. Someone figured out how to beat the system, and then decides that after he’s been caught, he’ll help out the authorities.

Whether you’ve seen the movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the check fraud expert to Tom Hank’s FBI agent character isn’t as important as how much you can potentially learn about protecting your own well being thanks to what were once hackers hell bent on getting your information, too.

For starters, you can’t overlook emails and texts as a means to get to you faster and more conveniently for someone who hacks these accounts as a profession. Some personal emails and texts are now being forced through software that encrypts them so that the only person who can view it is the intended recipient. Hackers suggest that this software be commonplace, but it can only work if both you and the recipient are using it. For texts, you simply have to find an encryption app that you both can agree upon.

The internet, as you’d expect, is where most of your missteps will occur. Aside from the obvious of using WiFi that isn’t password protected, you also might want to consider not just where you browse online but how you do it.

You can install software that sets privacy options so you can block sites from tracking visits and thus having a better understanding of what you’re doing while you’re online, specifically things that would involve personal information and data, like banking or buying.

Overall, an encrypted connection with all your web browsing would be the best and most viable option. This takes away the web address to site connection and adds to it an encryption so that all that you’re doing isn’t available for the viewing pleasure of a hacker or someone interested in your information. This often is commonly referred to as a VPN network, and while there’s a charge to have this service it pales in comparison to what life would be like with a bank account that is missing thousands or an email account you can’t access because someone other than you changed the password.

If you can’t beat them (hackers), just hope they join you, the victim of fraud, in the fight against those who are trying everything and anything to get your information at their fingertips. The good guys got some much needed help so take advantage of the advice those who “flipped” will figure to give you.

Changing Landscape: How hackers are infiltrating more than just traditional computers

When you think of the word “smart” in relationship to technology and gadgets, you immediately conjure up the image of your phone, right?

Of course, that’s because the term “smart phone” has revolutionized not just the phones themselves but how they’re marketed and perceived by the general public. More than 90 percent of the population has a cell phone and about 70 percent of that is comprised of smart phones, suggesting that they’re more popular than ever, even amongst the 50 and older demographic despite the thinking that a flip phone or even a landline would suffice.

But “smart” technology has come a long way since the Apple iPhone first gave way to smart phones. You have all kinds of electronics that have been labeled “smart,” including those at home appliances that feed off your Wifi connection and allow you to do things that you hadn’t thought possible with a refrigerator but certainly can now.

The same could be said for your home security system or even how you monitor or control your temperature, also running off wireless internet, and you certainly can’t look past the more traditional devices, such as your laptop and that aforementioned smart phone.

What this creates is the perfect store for hackers to be able to gain access to your personal information and continue to wreak havoc when it comes to identity theft and fraud, only now than them having a few portals to do so, they have more avenues now that technology is so “smart” that we didn’t realize we opened up another can of proverbial worms.

The good news is that you awareness is key, and doing all the same things you do with your at home computer still pertains and can be considered relevant. Granted, your refrigerator or home security, for example, don’t come with the ability to have anti virus protection, but you can keep updating your firmware in mind as you purchase these products. Updates are key to being able to get hackers at bay so that you’re constantly changing the game of getting your information or access to your devices before they can crack their own code.

And speaking of codes, the majority of “smart” home technology comes with the ability to not only password protect your devices but also add levels and layers of other means to keep hackers guessing. Some offer multiple digit codes that you can enter as backup to just having a lone password, most of which are becoming easier and easier to bypass by the smarter hackers. The more you change your password, as well, the better off you’ll be, because for most of us, that’s our only level of protection.

Having smart technology doesn’t always equate to being equally intelligent with how you use it. For those products and devices to truly live up to their name, users have to use some smart, too.

Simple Solution: Computer privacy doesn’t have to be overly difficult

As technologically advanced as most internet hackers or those who can steal your identity seem to be, sometimes it is the easiest measure you can take to keep your computer private and your name and other valuable information and numbers quite the secret.

The other irony of computer and identity privacy is we all understand that, through the news stories and information about how easily identities can be stolen, yet we tend to overlook the simple things we can do to keep everything safe and sound.

Case in point, how many times have you used a public Wifi and done something silly on that medium? What exactly do we mean by silly?

Have you ever checked your bank statement online while you’re sitting at a coffee shop? What about logging into a credit card statement sitting at Barnes and Noble?

These are really the epitome of bad judgment as it relates to computer privacy and keeping your identity safe. You should always make it a point to do one of two things: either log in using some sort of VPN login, or make sure the Wifi is password protected. Now, if you need to log in to a public network, if it’s absolutely necessary or if you’re just looking to surf the web aimlessly to kill time, make sure you simply steer clear of punching in anything from your social security number to a credit card number.
So, no ordering shoes online at the airport while waiting for your flight.

Furthermore, what is easier than simply signing out of your computer or anything that is password related online. If you’re paying a bill, logging into your email or your computer is left alone in a public place for any period of time (then again, why would you ever do that), make sure you log off or at least, in the last example, lock your screen and PC.

Finally, your password has been the same since you’ve first had your email and your first computer. The reason your company asks you to change your password once every 30 days, they’re doing so to protect your privacy, so why wouldn’t you do that for yourself on your own computer?

Maybe your work isn’t so dense after all.

You want to change your password every 30 to 60 days, and if you can at least change your password at minimum three times per year, that should deter hackers and keep you at least safer than you were when you weren’t practicing these potentially identity and privacy saving practices.

Privacy Plan: Keeping your PC protected from hackers is all about diligence

Five words no PC owner wants to hear: “Your computer has been hacked.”

The feeling that washes over your entire body is one of fear, can range from trying to ask the question why and rehashing exactly what could have happened.

You may try to reason with yourself that you took all the steps necessary to keep this from happening, then begin wondering if you really were as safe and sound or if you had some sort of loophole in your game plan.

How exactly can you work a little harder to keep your PC safe?

A lot of it rests on that slip up of sorts when you make your PC so available because you’re too set on convenience. What exactly does that mean? Think public WiFi and how often you use it for something as simple as checking email or as complicated and ill conceived as online banking.

The latter opens you up to hackers getting bank account information, at the very least and siphoning money from accounts before you realize it or your virtual wallet or online bank realizes what has happened.

Searching your internet history hardly is the worst thing that can happen, but that history also plays into just how easily hackers can get into your account. From pop up adds to sites that are easily hacked to junk email that you shouldn’t open, plenty of us have struggled with avoiding clicking on or visiting sites that are less than desirable as far as protecting your computer.
You also have to remember that your browser isn’t a default or a decision you don’t need to make. Internet Explorer is fine
A recent report suggested that the smart PC users and computer owners in general change passwords on a consistent basis. That means the log in screen and any password that you choose to save when the dialog box pops up and asks you want to save this password for this site.

Chances are when you’re talking about your email, you’ve given the green light to save a password and lived to regret it when that email password, when you type it in, all of a sudden says your password is wrong.

Then, you’re trying to track down Yahoo or Google to switch a password that you know you didn’t forget but rather someone else found. Some invest in password generator software, which devises a password that is so complex and strong that hackers have a hard time figuring it out, especially when you’re not adept at changing them enough to be different from the last.

You don’t have to be a victim of computer privacy not working in your favor as long as you’re taking the steps necessary to prevent it over and above what you’re already doing.

Is Free Wi-Fi Really Free?

The United States currently hosts thousands of free Wi-Fi locations. The Open Wi-Fi website quotes the number as 66,198 with new hotspots developing every day. These locations include coffee shops, libraries, restaurants and the like. Frugal consumers love to take their laptops and tablets into this location because of the free Internet connection, but some of them may be getting more than they bargained for. Some of them may be getting infiltrated, infected and monitored.
How Safe Is a Wi-Fi Connection?
Wi-Fi connections aren’t as safe as some people tend to believe they are. The biggest problem with Wi-Fi connection is the data encyrptoin. The primary technologies that people use to encrypt wireless data are WEP and WPA. WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access and WEP stands for Wireless Equivalent Privacy. WPA is the most secure choice of the two choices. However, they are not implemented many times because of the complex nature of the technologies. The result is severe user vulnerability.
Why Public Wi-Fi Connections Are Dangerous
Many mishaps and destructive processes can occur when encryption is not present. One thing that can happen to a user is the loss of privacy. Hackers can monitor the webistes that they frequent, which can be disturbing for people who appreicate their privacy. Intruders can steal important documents, as well. They can access pictures, videos, text files and more. Another thing that intruders can do is capture the login information of a person’s frequented sites. Any websites that the person does not visit frequently may be subject to hacking an intrusion through the use of keyloggers. Malicious persons can invade someone’s mobile devices, as well. So much is a stake when a person is not careful on the Internet.
How to Prevent Hacking During a Wi-Fi Connection
One thing that a user can do to stay safe is enable two-step authentication. Two-step authentication requires a person to have to use two pieces of identification to log into an important website. Changing one’s passwords frequently can help elminate security issues, as well. A good rule-of-thumb practice is to change the passwords at least once every three months. Finally, a Wi-Fi user will want to install an antivirus program to avoid interference. The user can avoid or minimize security breaches by following the previously mentioned tips. Taking precautionary steps can prevent irreparable damage from occurring.

Computer Hackers wanted for Organized Cyber Crime


Low Risk – High Return – Work Your Own Hours
The Ultimate Get Rich Quick Scheme

Wow! Can you imagine a help wanted ad like that in your local newspaper or pay-per-click ad in your favorite search engine?

Yet, organized cyber crime has become the most profitable – low risk – high return crime of our age. Hundreds of thousands of hackers are quietly using the Internet, hiding behind thousands of captured computers, stealing identities and money from innocent people like you and me. Sadly, there is little chance the hacker will ever get caught.

Organized cyber crime has become a big-time profession. Professional hackers make it their daily job to take advantage of current computer security trends and send out threats like Spam, phishing e-mails, Trojan horses containing key loggers, hijackers and more, all targeted to steal your identity and ultimately your money.

These cyber criminals can work alone or in groups. Either way, their first goal is to capture computers and turn them into zombies or bots. These are computers that the hacker controls without the owners knowledge.

As more and more computers are captured, the hacker develops an Army of computers or botnet that can be used for any number of criminal activities. The botnet may send out Spam e-mails, and Trojan horses. A botnet can cause denial-of-service attacks on web sites extorting money from the web site owners. This whole time the hacker is hiding behind a string of computers under his control. Tracing back to the hacker is nearly impossible.

Hacker Tools For Sale

Anyone can take advantage of the computer security trends and become a part of the organized cyber crime world. The tools of the trade are everywhere. You can find web sites that promote the use of these tools. What do you want? Here’s a partial list of items you can find on the Internet:

· Remote Access Tools – known as RATs. These tools allow remote access to a computer. They were originally developed for white hat hackers to remotely repair computers. Now, this is a major tool in a cyber criminal’s toolbox.

· Key logger Tools – Corporations and even parents find these tools necessary to keep everyone in line on the Internet. Unfortunately, hackers have learned how to use these tools to steal your private information.
· Video And Audio Systems – Hackers have tools that will penetrate your computer systems and watch your every move through the camera mounted on your computer or microphone that came with your computer.
· Voip And Broadband Phone Services – you can easily find tools such as web dialer worms to break into computers and listen to conversations or even dial and use the phone service. How hard is it for a criminal to place drug purchases or conduct terrorist activities with your computer?
· Computer Memory Storage – hackers can acquire tools to section off your computer and store anything they want like child pornography, criminal records and more.
· Spamming Tools – want to send e-mail out of someone else’s computer? Just purchase this easy to use software and you can make that happen. Hackers send millions of Spam e-mails every day making up over 90 percent of all e-mail sent out worldwide.
· Create Your Own Virus – Yes, it’s true. There are many web sites offering to mutate a current virus to your needs. Lately, virus attacks have been more targeted. That’s why you haven’t heard about massive virus attacks lately.
· Drive By Spyware – There are some web sites that promote that they will pay you to allow them to place a tool on your web site that puts spyware on every computer that visits the site. The more computers infected the more money you make.
· Computer Scrambling Devices – you can purchase tools that will scramble all or some of the information on a computer. Simply invade a computer, scramble important information, leave a message telling the victim to pay a few hundred dollars ransom to an overseas account and they will send the code to unscramble the information.

This list could go on and on. Organized cyber crime uses every tool they can find or devise to take advantage of the current computer trends and enhance their threats.

The headline reads: Computer Hackers Wanted For Organized Cyber Crime! The sub headline should say, “The general public is indifferent and isn’t doing much to protect themselves. The Timing couldn’t be better.”

Organized cyber crime has moved, for the most part, from targeting large businesses to individuals and small business. Criminals know that this targeted group has little knowledge of computer security and a small amount of money to invest in their protection. They view this group as easy prey. So far, they are right on target.

The sad truth is that most people either don’t seem to care or don’t know what to do. Most of those that don’t know what to do don’t do anything about it, either. That’s the current computer security trend. As a result, organized cyber crime and computer security threats continue to grow at an accelerating pace. Over $67 billion was stolen last year. Over eight million identities have been stolen every year for years and years back.

What Can We Do To Fight Organized Cyber Crime And Turn These Computer Security Trends Around?

For the most part, criminals are lazy. They are looking for the low road – not the high road. Making yourself a hard target to attack is your first defense against organized cyber crime and computer security threats.

The old saying, “knowledge is power,” is most important. Make sure everyone in your home or business understands the threats and is careful not to allow these on a computer.

However, even with the best knowledge there can be accidental leaks from opening Spam e-mail, drive-by-hacking from a web site, downloading infected cds and more.

Here are some tips to protect your home and business:

· Make sure you keep up with the latest most up-to-date Microsoft Windows patches
· Use an industrial grade bi-directional firewall. Most over-the-counter and products offered by Internet services don’t offer this quality technology
· Make sure you have up-to-date antivirus protection
· Make sure you have best-of-breed anitspyware protection. Antispyware and antiviruses are different computer security threats and require different protection technologies.
· Avoid web sites that may have spyware including gambling and pornography.

The best protection is using the same computer security solutions used by major corporations around the world. A solution that uses overlapping technologies to prevent antiviruses, spyware and other computer security threats.

Warren Franklin is an advocate for Internet Security and Safety. You can find out more about fighting organized cyber crime and protecting yourself against computer security trends at