Hacking is the act of getting unauthorized access to information or data in a computer system. Hackers can use different methods to gain access to computer systems using different types of hacking.
In this article, we will explore the different types of hacking, types of hackers, and what you can do to avoid getting hacked.
Types of Hacking
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1) Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a form of luring users to provide vital information such as passwords or credit card information. The malicious attackers disguise themselves as reputable companies or employees. Phishing can further trick users into activities like clicking on malicious links that may install viruses or lead to other forms of attacks.
2) Clickjacking Attacks
Almost like phishing, clickjacking tricks the user into clicking on links. The links in this case can be disguised as other functions such as the like button. Even worse, the elements a user may click on are sometimes invisible, making the user vulnerable in such cases.
The links accidentally clicked on can lead to unintentional cash transfers, virus downloads, product purchases, and links that install malware into computer systems.
Malware is the short form for malicious software that a user installs unintentionally. Malware can be harmful to computer systems, networks, or programs and may lead to systems crashing.
Malware can include spyware, trojan horses, viruses, worms, or ransomware.
4) SQL Injection Attack
SQL injection is a form of attack that injects an SQL code into an application, allowing the attacker to view, or even modify data in a computer system. The malicious code can allow the attacker to execute SQL statements within a system.
Other than manipulating data, the attacker can get access to sensitive information, customer information, intellectual properties, and more.
5) Denial of Service
Also known as DOS, denial of service is a form of attack that denies the user access to certain functions in their computer. An attacker can disrupt the network or the machine itself to make the user unable to do basic tasks.
Ways that a DOS attacker can use include jamming a network with traffic or sending a code that initiates a crash to the network.
Though denial of service rarely leads to theft, it can be a method to aid another form of crime.
6) Cross-Site Scripting
These are also called XXS attacks, and attackers use them to inject scripts into web applications used by others. These attacks can enable hackers to bypass access. The danger with XXS is the ability of cyber criminals to inject inaccurate data into trusted websites and execute other forms of data breaches.
7) Session Attacks
In a session attack, a hacker can take over access to users’ online accounts or accounts, taking over control to get access to sensitive data like personal information, passwords, and other private data.
A hacker can execute the attacks through methods like using packet sniffers to intercept communication between the user and the server. A session attack can lead to the installation of malware and a denial of service attack.
Types of Hackers
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a) White Hat Hackers
White hat hackers are the good guys that are referred to as ethical hackers. The hackers gain unauthorized access without criminal or malicious intent. Ethical hacking and certified penetration testing methods can be used to identify weaknesses and security flaws in computer networks in an attempt to have a more robust cybersecurity system in place.
The hacking process is often monitored, and results are compiled into a report that can then be used to avert and anticipate future threats and fix identified weaknesses.
b) Black Hat Hackers
Unlike white hat hackers, black hat hackers are the “bad guys” who pose online threats to user systems. Black hat hackers can use attacks to demand ransom, gain unauthorised access to systems, steal information, and carry out different forms of criminal activities.
c) Gray Hat hackers
Grey hackers lie somewhere in between white and black hat hackers. A grey hat hacker would do something like hacking a system to identify its weaknesses without any permission, then later approach the owner with the report and offer to fix the system.
Some grey hackers can hack into systems just to show off their hacking techniques and technical skills without any ill intent, but without permission either. Most grey hackers are out there to prove a point that the internet is not a safe place to do any business.
d) Red Hat Hackers
A red hat hacker is more like a grey hat hacker, but to send a message. The message can be political, social, or more inclined to vigilante-like activities. Unlike the grey hat hacker, the red hat hacker is not after any payment and may often hack into systems for fame. Red hat hackers often try to hack government systems or systems of high-ranking organizations.
e) Green Hat Hackers
Just like the name suggests, a green hat hacker is still “green” when it comes to matters of hacking. A green hat hacker is not malicious but may unknowingly cause harm to systems. Green hat hackers do not have the technical knowledge to bypass the security set up by most organizations.
f) Elite Hackers
These are experienced hackers who are extremely skilled and can carry out black hat hacking or white hat hacking. Some elite hackers prefer grey-hat hacking to show how good they are. However, when elite hackers become cyber terrorists, they can cause a lot of damage.
g) Script Kiddies
Script kiddies are amateur hackers who use languages and programs written by others to hack. The hackers can not write most of their programs. A script kiddie is more likely to be a black hat hacker.
h) Blue Hat Hackers
Blue hat hackers use their hacking skills to create robust systems that can not be easily hacked into. The difference between a white and a blue hat hacker is that the blue hat hackers do not try to bypass systems or expose flaws but improve security measures instead, by providing security intelligence.
i) Malicious Insiders
Often underestimated, a malicious insider is perhaps the most common type of hacker. Most confidential data theft is a result of insiders who are under duress to do so or for personal gain. While we think of criminal hackers as those skilled hackers behind computers, they can be employees sitting at a desk without much knowledge of computers.
How to Avoid Getting Hacked
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- Avoid clicking on ads or strange links
- Use unique passwords for different accounts
- Change the default usernames and passwords on your smart devices and router
- Use a VPN
- Do regular software updates
- Install antivirus software
- Undertake security awareness training
- Use two-factor authentication
- Do not log in as an admin by default
- Use a password manager
- Avoid credential reuse
Frequently Asked Questions
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i) What is the biggest hack in history?
The three billion Yahoo accounts hack in 2013 was the biggest cybersecurity hack in history, leading to the theft of names, accounts, personal information, contact details, and more.
ii) What are some hacking movies?
There are exciting hacking movies such as “Black hat”, “Takedown”, ‘the Italian Job”, “Tron”, and more. You can find tv series like “Mr. Robot”, “Person of Interest”, “Leverage”, “Silicon Valley”, CSI: Cyber”, and more.
iii) What do hackers use for hacking?
Hackers can use programs and hacking tools like network mappers, Nikto, Kismet, Acunetix, Aircrack-Ng, and more.
While there are different known types of hacking, technology is changing at a fast rate, and more ways are coming up. Remember, as long as someone can access your information without your permission that is a hacker.
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