Security : Hackers are good or bad ?

Security : Hackers are good or bad ?

Most people believe hackers are criminals who gain illegal access to computers to steal data or money. This is not correct.

A hacker is certainly a computer security expert who has the skill and experience to write computer software that can bypass security on your home computer or a business network.

Hackers would argue this is a hobby not a crime. For some, it?s a job as large corporations and government departments employ them to find and plug security holes.

The bad guys are really ?crackers? ? these are computer experts with the same knowledge and experience as hackers, but instead of treating their skill as a hobby, their objective is to gain some political, financial or other gain by breaking in to an organisation?s computer security.

To insiders, this comes down to white, grey and black hats.

White hat hackers are the good guys ? they work to boost computer security

Grey hats are really good guys who act the wrong way ? for instance a grey hat might breach a computer system to advertise the vulnerabilit

Black hats are crackers ? they are out to make political, personal or financial gain by breaking in to other people?s computer systems.

Can I stop hackers intruding in to my system?

Yes and no. Lots of firewalls, computer security and antivirus programs will stop hackers.

The trouble is it?s like having a security system on your house or car. It?ll put off the less experienced but won?t stop a determined intruder.

That doesn?t mean firewalls and other security are no good, it just means some crackers write better code.

What to do if you are hacked

First, switch off your computer and disconnect from the internet.

Next call your internet service provider (ISP) and tell them you think you have been hacked. They have data logs of all their server activity and more sophisticated methods to track a hacker and should act immediately.

Next, if you think you are a victim of identity theft or a fraud, call the police.

How do I trace the hacker?

Unless the hacker is inexperienced, you won?t. You may trace a web of computers that originated the attack, but the user is unlikely to be involved or aware of what has happened.

The hacker will probably have used a ?zombie? – computer taken over by malware ? to mount the attack on you.

If I find the hacker should I retaliate?

No.

Firstly, if the hacker has cloaked the attack through a ?zombie?, you are attacking an innocent third party.

Secondly, your retaliation may be a criminal act as well.

This article was written by eCommerce Associates Limited for eCommerce Associates for Mcafee Downloads Internet Security

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