The use of computers in everyday life is becoming more and more common, but how safe is it to use these computers? The problem is more and more people are wanting to gain access to your information for whatever reason, fun , revenge, or even just because they can. These people, called hackers, intend to make money off of you or your company. They have created hacks, that take advantage of flaws in computer systems to gain access to new information or increase their privileges on your computer. So how do we go about protecting our computers? By understanding who is behind these threats, how they get into our systems and cause problems, and lastly what you can do to help stop these threats.
To get started let us take a look at the people behind the curtain of computer hacking, into the different types of hackers. Not all hackers are the same they come from different places and different age groups and there are a few ways to describe a hacker. The first is the black hat hacker who as Wilson points out in his article are people who " set out to cause damage for the thrill - or other ulterior motives". So instead of trying to achieve something they are more mischievous like an imp, they have little regard for who you are or what you do with your computer. To the black hat hacker it is a means of having fun or proving to themselves that they are better than someone else. This is not to say that all black hackers are good at what they do; There is a huge subclass of black hat hackers who are made up of "script kiddies" who use "toolkits that are based on code they may not even understand"(Wilson). The problem with this is that it has created an influx of want to be hackers who don't even know what they are doing. Wilson points out to that if the script kiddies do indeed make up the bulk of the black hats, their lack of skill should make them less of a threat. Yet Wilson directly states that this is not the case because their numbers, their persistence, and their disdain for the social contract have made them a real headache for system administrators.
Luckily the black hat hacker is not the only type of hacker to contribute to hacking, there is a type of hacker that is perceived in a good light, the white hat hacker. Yarberry in his article " Modern Day Paladins: The White Hat Hackers" show that there is some good in hackers. That they should be viewed as heroes. These hackers unlike black hat hackers "justify their activity by claiming to participate in a worldwide cooperative effort that find security holes so they can be fixed, not exploited"(Wilson). This shows that instead of causing harm that these men or women actually try to help companies fix code that could otherwise be used for personal gain or cyber vandalism. However, this is a sort of "double edged sword" for instead of always helping out a company, it can be wielded by black hat hackers because this information is normally found on the world wide web and is open to anyone who can find it (Wilson). This leads to the a final group of hackers, which is the most common type of hacker, the grey hat hacker. Since many of the white hat hackers information is used by both companies for good and black hat hackers for wrong, "``There is often no clear distinction between white and black in this area,'' explained 25-year-old Elias Levy, a self-described white hat better known as ``aleph one,'' his cyberspace nom de guerre. ``Everything is really shades of gray. That's where most people lie, in these shades of gray''(Wilson). This group of hackers are seen as a sort of neutral while they may have some bad intentions , they also try to help in some cases.
The next thing to talk about is of course the means by which hackers try to gain access or destroy computers. The main type of attack is through the use of viruses, which " are similar to the biological ones in their ability to replicate themselves, infecting a large number of victims and having a lifecycle" (Waqarl,...
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