What Is Hacking?


Note: Although the rest of this page will continue to use the common terminology of hacker, technically a hacker is just a really good programmer. The correct term for a person that breaks into computer systems is cracker.
Hacking is the act of electronically gaining access to a computer, or other system, without authorisation.
Usually this is done by finding a system that is insufficiently protected or that has a security hole that has not been patched.

Why Do Hackers Hack?

Why does anybody do anything? Some do it for fun or for the challenge. Some do it for ideological reasons. Some do it for financial reasons.

Why Should I Care If I Get Hacked

On a personal level, you may have sensitive information on your computer such as bank details or even just login details for websites that could be stolen by a hacker. Even if this is not the case if a hacker has control of your system and they are feeling malicious they could crash your computer or lose your data anytime they felt like it. Another possibility is that they could use your computer to store illegal files that they do not want to keep on their own computer.
On a good computing citizen level, a hacked computer can be used by the hacker to attack other computers, flood web servers with so many requests that people wanting to view the site cannot get to it, launch viruses, and so on. Such uses use your internet connection and clog up the net. Everybody, including you, pays indirectly for the capacity needed to absorb such events. Every vulnerable computer that is secured is one less available to hackers for such mischief.

How Do I Secure My Computer


Make sure you install security patches released by the makers of your operating system and the programs (especially programs that work over the internet) that you use.
* Be wary of free programs. If you are not already familiar with a program research it through a search engine before using it to check whether anybody else has had problems with it.
* Run a virus checker, such as McAfee VirusScan, over ANY program you get from the internet before running it whether you got it from email, the web, instant messaging or any other route. This should check for any known trojan code that may open up a "backdoor" into your computer.
* Always run a firewall, such as McAfee Personal Firewall Plus, on your computer. This will both make it more difficult for a hacker to directly attack your computer by only allowing through to your computer certain types of internet traffic and ,if a program with trojan capabilities does end up on your computer, then a firewall will make it far more difficult for that program to access the internet or for anybody on the internet to access that program.