March 25, 2014
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Do you know how fast somebody could gain access to your account? In about five minutes, a hacker could have your password to Facebook, Twitter, and every social network account that you have. Hacking is everywhere, and people tend to hack for bad reasons. Anything connected to the internet can be hacked. But there are things you can do to reduce your chances of being hacked.

There are three categories of hackers: there are white-hat hackers, gray-hat hackers, and black-hat hackers. White-hat hackers are hackers that only hack to help other people, such as computer technicians, or people you would hire to help test your computer’s security. The next type of hacker category is gray-hat hackers (This is the category that most hackers fall into). These hackers main goal is to help people, but they hack for fun and break the law from time to time. Usually it is grey-hat hackers that try to hack government websites and secret files. They usually just hack to see if they can succeed, not to break the law or find classified information. The final category is black-hat hackers; these hackers only want to hack for a bad thing. They want all your information, and they want to steal your money, passwords, informations, and virtually everything about you for their benefit.

There are several ways that hackers hack. Hackers can use software that attacks your account with random characters until the software guesses the correct password. This is called a brute-force attack; however this type of attack takes a very long time to succeed. For example just 8 lowercase letters would take 66.2 days to crack. Another way to crack passwords is with a dictionary attack. With a dictionary attack, the hacker has a very long list of common passwords, and the software goes through the word list. This type of attack only works if the hacker has the password in the word list. Hackers don’t always hack to get passwords, they can lock onto your IP address and send spoof messages that will slow down you internet speed and eventually crash your internet, this type of attack is a Denial of Service (DoS) attack (It is called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack when the attack comes from several different sources).

Passwords are one of the easiest things to crack and requires almost no knowledge of computers. There are several ways to crack a password, but the easiest way is to get the account username and select the ‘forgot password’ option. Now, all you need to supply is the answer to security questions, such as, ‘Where are you from?’ or ‘What is your favorite color?’. Many of these questions can be answered by friends or just people that know them. A good way to reduce getting your passwords hacked, is to have different passwords for different accounts and to change your passwords frequently.

The only way to have a 0% probability of being hacked is to not turn on your computer in the first place. Ways to decrease your chances of being hacked are to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This is the most effective way, but is very expensive. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your IP address and the IP address of the server. If you VPN is on, hackers will have a difficult time hacking you. Another thing you can do is not open spam emails, a lot of spam emails have hidden viruses in them and when you open them they can infect your computer.

That is why hacking is a problem in society. People aren’t always hack for good reasons, how they hack is hard to stop, and the only way to be guaranteed hack-free is to not boot-up in the first place.

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