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Web Security: How Do Hackers Get into Computer Systems?

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Knowing how hackers get into a computer system is an integral part of improving your web security. This will help you alleviate and control these issues, thus, strengthening your entire computer against these potential cyber-attacks.

The recent cyber-attack – WannaCry, a type of ransomware – has distressed business owners all over the world. In fact, even the most established companies, like NHS and FedEx, were compromised by the virus, causing service interruptions.

Web Security: How Hackers Infect a Computer?

Executing safety precautions should be on top of your priorities when putting up a business online as hackers continuously inflict automated scripts to scour the internet and exploit websites. But before we go through the methods of online protection, let us first understand how these hackers execute their schemes.

Port Knocking

Your computer has several ports that allow your software to transfer and receive data. A reliable program should immediately close the port once it has done its procedure. Unfortunately, some fail to do it. Oftentimes, the OS’s port is what these hackers love to vitiate.

Packet Sniffing

It is more serious than port knocking as it can entirely disable a network. When you are transferring data on the internet, these are equally divided into small chunks (packets). Hackers monitor and capture all the encryption and transmission patterns transpiring on your computer or within your network, depending on the level of web security your internet service provider (ISP) has set. Data can be easily accessed by the hacker once they have successfully cracked the encryption or if your ISP does not support high-level encryption. When this happens, your accounts are at risk.

Malicious Links

Emails and social media accounts are the most common vectors hackers use. Viruses are cloaked – you will be lured that what you are about to download is safe and needed. The source also looks genuine as it commonly comes from a friend, a bank, or a trusted platform that you habitually visit. Without doing thorough verification processes, you wouldn’t know that the sender’s account was already compromised or it was a dummy account that look legitimate at first glance.

Another method is when you visit an infected website. A pop-up will encourage you to download a particular file saying that your computer has been infected by a virus. Unfortunately, you are not protecting your device but actually putting it at risk as you are downloading and installing the virus itself.

Drive-By Downloads

The process does not require you to click a button or a link to download the virus. It automatically happens, and oftentimes, people are unaware of the situation as there’s no notification, or it disguises itself as an important file in your folder. Additionally, verifying a website’s credibility and security is not plausible just by looking at it.

Drive-by downloads also send updates to the hackers about the potential risks transpiring on your computer. It exposes lapses on your browser, operating system or software that you failed to update or patch.

Rootkits

Among all the methods, the rootkit is the most serious as hackers inject a malicious segment of code to your system or computer in order for them to have an administrative-level access. A rootkit is commonly composed of spyware and various programs that detect the traffic and keystrokes. It also has the capability to alter antivirus and other programs so as to keep itself hidden from the user.

Once it has successfully buried itself to the system, the hackers can mask the intrusion, and remotely access and control your computer without you knowing. They can alter your operating system, snoop on your important data, and open a port as their backdoor. It can also violate not just a single computer but everything that is within the network.