Where to Start > How They Hack You
A “hacker”, as Wikipedia describes it, “is someone who seeks and exploits weaknesses in a computer system or computer network.” And as we described before, this is done for multiple reasons, but the net result is that it’s bad for you. Hackers can steal from you, ruin your system and generally make life miserable for you. The section, Ground Zero, describes how to secure your system if you’ve already been hacked and how to prevent future security breaches. If you’re a Windows user, Securing Windows shows how to check your system at Ground Zero.
There are three primary ways you can get hacked:
- Someone gets physical access to your computer
- You install infected software
- Someone gains access through an open port
Hacked Via Physical Access to Your Computer
If you leave your computer unattended in a public place, at an Internet cafe, at work or at the library, for example, you’re leaving your computer vulnerable to physical access. If a Hacker gets physical access to your computer, he can install hardware recording devices, like hardware key or screen loggers, or software containing malware, directly to your computer.
You Install Infected Software
Also known as the Vampire Hack. By far the most frequent way you will get a heavy-duty infection like rootkits, keyloggers, worms, trojan horses or viruses, is when you install a program. Like a vampire, the software has to be “invited in” to your computer by your agreeing to install it.
Someone Gains Access Through An Open Port
This attack generally occurs when you don’t have a firewall, or your firewall hasn’t been properly configured. One of the most important things you can do is implement a properly configured firewall. Both incoming and outgoing Internet traffic can be exploited by cyber criminals and government 3-letter agencies. A correctly installed and configured firewall puts up a barrier between your computer and a variety of these types of Internet threats.
Simply put, a firewall is a piece of software or hardware that secures your computer by limiting who can send you information. Think of it as a gatekeeper that divides your communications into two distinct groups, incoming and outgoing. Like a doorman at a private club, the firewall only allows those on the guest list to come into your computer. Any abnormally behaving guest won’t be allowed to leave your computer and cause harm to others.
Next: Securing Windows describes how to scan and secure your Windows Operating system as best you can.