Data hijacks are more common than you think. The hijacker may be just sitting across the aisle or street or may be thousands of miles away, while sucking up the data from your mobile device or desktop computer.
What really happens?
The file sharing password can be compromised and all the files on your computing device can silently travel over the network cable or wireless to the receiving device. Anyone watching the attacked device would presume that the computer is having a bad day. The system may flicker and flash creating an impression that files are coming in so fast that the firewall is unable to cope with it.
But, this is a brute force attack that stoves-in the software firewall and can be sensed by persons in the know. Otherwise, most hacking attacks are invisible. Let us look at some of them:
- Using dialing software or modems to dial up to a connection, is a common method of hacking. The software or the modem dials through a random set of numbers till a connection is made. If the number is known the connection can be easily made.
- The DSL or cable connection may be used to connect to computers with persistent connections. A scanner program sequentially pings the IP addresses of the networked systems to check whether the system is up and running.
- Network sniffing programs may be used to reveal the vulnerabilities of a computer network. Computers which have already been infiltrated by Trojans can be exploited by anyone who has the IP address.
- Hackers may even use legitimate administrative tools like whisker to identify the target machine’s operating system and the un-patched holes in it.
- Mis-configured firewalls or routers are excellent entry routes for hackers.
Once they have access to the network, hackers can create authentic looking user accounts using the system administrator’s password. They can alter or delete system logs and erase evidence of access. They can misroute traffic or exploit the advantage by launching a denial of service attack. Hackers can steal sensitive information from compromised computers without leaving a trail.
Users’ cannot plead helplessness. Most security hacks and routes are known. So, security is what they make of it. Security becomes all the more urgent when computing is transferred to the cloud. Vulnerabilities must be checked, plugged and routines can be created to ensure that hackers do not have a field day with their networks.