What am I protecting Myself online from?
To take the first steps in protecting yourself online, you need to know that you are protecting yourself from. The various online threats can be divided into three separate categories:
- Threats to your computer: You should protect your computer from intruders and loss of data from viruses and or other malicious content. There is a new type of malware known as Ransome which can lockdown your computer and will not open until you pay some money to hackers.
- Threats to Your Property: You should take steps to reduce the risk of your property such as your bank account and credit card numbers, being compromised on the Internet. As I have reported as data breach on Home Depot in my previous post.
- Threats to You: You should be cautious of strangers you meet on the Internet and aware of the threats to personal privacy that are a result of this new technology. Cyber bullying is also causing a lot of damage to the internet users and especially the kids are being bullied.
One point to keep in mind is the origin of each of these threats. The most newsworthy threats over the internet are mostly the Bank scams and spyware such as Kaptoxa, Dyre Wolf and Payload etc. Most of these threats tend to be fairly recognizable and you can usually take measures to effectively guard against them. However, some threats are covert and often unintentional, meaning they are hard to recognize and to avoid. Mostly, these are those spywares which have the auto update facility – some kind of artificial intelligence which helps them to change their variant forms to disguise.
Hackers and Crackers
If you are like most people, when you think of Internet Security, the first threat that comes to mind is from the hacker. This term often elicits images of a socially disturbed individual in a dimly lit room who is bent in destruction, theft, and generally being a nuisance to the good people who use the Internet. True, the term hacker is often used to describe someone who illegally breaks into the computer systems. However, the usage of this term is not entirely accurate. Being called a Hacker is a high compliment for a legitimate computer programmer. By definition, hacking is the art of making a computer function in ways that it wasn’t necessarily designed. A hacker, then, is someone who vigorously studies the inner workings of the computer systems and then applies that knowledge to solve seemingly impossible problems. The vast majority of hackers are legitimate professionals, academics, and hobbyists who make valuable contributions, however, because the skills of a hacker are occasionally used to break the law.
Whereas a hacker’s motives are often benign, a cracker is someone who breaks into a computer system with malicious intent. Crackers may also be hackers, but more typically, a cracker is someone who borrows the tools and techniques of a hacker and then uses that knowledge for illicit purposes. For example, a script kiddie is a cracker who doesn’t know much about the technology or inner workings of a computer system but gets a copy of a program or tool that allows him to break into a secure system. Anyone with a computer and a bad attitude can be a script kiddie. Whereas only the most technical and devoted enthusiasts can call themselves hackers.