Many end users believe that a hacker’s only real means of acquiring your confidential information is by hacking directly into your system and stealing it.

However, that is anything from the truth. Many people tend to associate hackers exclusively with computers, thanks to movies and TV shows.

However, in reality, these hackers have many different techniques that they deploy when hacking techniques.

A computer system is basically a means or a tool of which to carry out their primary goal.

For the hacker, their objective is to be discreet and deceptive.

And experience has taught them that it is far easier to deceive someone, than it is to hack into their computer system.

So with all that said, we’ll be going through 7 common hacking techniques that you should know about, if you want to remain safe.

1. Denial of Service Attacks (Dos/DDoS)

DDoS attacks are used to take down, either a specific website or an entire network. They do this, by flooding it with large amounts of traffic. The objective is to inundate the server with more requests than it can handle. However, to make this kind of attack effective, computer hackers have to use botnets, which are made up of zombie machines. Almost every year, hackers will refine the process, coming up with new ways to carry out DDoS or DoS attacks.

2. Cookie Theft

The cookies that are saved on your system, by your browser, typically contain personal data, such as usernames, browsing history and passwords for the various sites you have access to. However, if a hacker is able to obtain one of these cookies, they can use it to authenticate themselves on a browser. One very popular method computer hackers use, to carry out this attack, entails manipulating an end users IP packets in order to pass through the victim’s machine.

This is also referred to as Session Hijacking or Side Jacking, this method works especially well when SSL (HTTPS) is not being used on the website. For this reason, it’s very important that you don’t type sensitive information, such as banking details and passwords into sites that do not use any form of connection encryption (HTTPS).

3. Credit Card Skimmers

You will most often find these at gas stations, credit card skimmers are basically readers made from a magnetic stripe, used to steal the information from a card, when it’s inserted or swiped.

A hacker will acquire a replica cover, which they will use to fit onto popular credit card readers, and then they’ll line the strip with a sensor which will copy the cards data without distributing the scanning process.

The skimmers are designed to fit very comfortably over the existing device, and are only noticeable if the cover has been removed.

The most advanced skimmers are capable of not only stealing credit card numbers, but also zip codes and pin numbers.

4. Fake WAP

One of the easiest ways for hackers to compromise your system, is by setting up fake wireless access points. They create these access points, waiting for any unsuspecting individual to log into it. Once they do that, they are able to immediately access their data with very little problem. What makes these WAPs so scary, is that hackers can create them, using legitimate names.

One of the most effective ways to combat this problem, is to use a good VPN. If you log into public Wi-Fi networks via a VPN, then you are, for the most part safe. As all data you send, to and from the internet, will be encrypted, preventing the hacker from actually reading any of the data they are able to obtain.

5. Waterhole Attacks

If you’re someone who watches the National Geographic or Discovery channels, then you may already be familiar with the waterhole attack type. In order to target a place, in this particular situation, the hacker will attempt to hit the physical point, most accessible to them.

As an example, if a river source was to be poisoned, then it would adversely affect any animal that attempted to drink from it, during the summer time. Just like that, hackers will attempt to access the physical location that is most accessed by their victim(s). Such a place could be a restaurant, cafeteria or coffee shop.

Once the hacker is able to figure out your times, they can use this information to create their point of attack, which could be a fake access point (as previously discussed). Using this method, they could implement a redirect on your browser, so that it directs the victim to a site of their choosing. This way, they’ll be able to collect data form the user, making it harder for the hacker to be detected in the process. The one thing that you can do, to protect yourself from these kinds of attacks is to follow basic security principles, keeping your system secure with the latest internet security software, etc.

6. Bait & Switch

This kind of attack involves a hacker purchasing advertisement space on a particular website, which they’ll use to direct people to a web page filled with malware. They’ll make the most enticing ads, in order to encourage people to click on them. Once you go through to the website however, you’ll be immediately infected. This method is called bait and switch because they bait end users into clicking on an ad and then switch the website, so that it infects the user’s browser with a malicious file.

7. Malware

Viruses or Trojans are basically malicious files or programs that are installed onto the system of the victim, and used to send the victims data back to the hacker. These malicious files are capable of locking your files, diverting browser traffic, sniffing your confidential data, or spreading to other systems connected to your system on a network.

Each virus type has a unique name, whether its adware, worms, Trojans etc., I suggest you look them up, to learn why.

Now that you’ve read through 7 of the most common hacking techniques, you now know what you should be looking to avoid. Not all viruses or attack types are created equally, yet, they are all equally capable of causing harm to your system, and the data obtained on them. You want to avoid falling victim to these attacks, and to do that, you should look to adopt the best security practices.

Read more: How Do I Search for Duplicate Files and Remove Them?

Uchenna Ani-Okoye

By Uchenna Ani-Okoye

Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.

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