Computer Hackers

Computer Hackers
Hackers are popularly defined as computer experts who spend enormous amounts of time trying to breach the security of networks, web servers and email servers. Usually they use a selection of specialist software to identify any weaknesses, which they are then able to exploit. There are basically two main types of hackers, the first type is mainly consistent of intelligent adolescents who acquire their hacking knowledge by reading, by talking to people and by spending an excessive amount of time on their computer, learning the various programs, the source code and the commands. They are then able to solve puzzles that people with computer engineering backgrounds can?t solve. vast majority of hackers do it for their own personal enjoyment as they find it to be intellectual, mind stimulating, a challenge, and it also grants them immense amounts of power and control. Hackers generally seem to be primarily interested in the hacking of large corporations and authority?s security networks rather than attacking private individuals. It?s intellectual. It stimulates my mind. It?s a challenge. But these ?juvenile? hackers eventually get caught, and the reason they get caught is due to the fact that they?re not professionals.
The second type of hackers are however the professionals, they?re the ex-kgb agents, the ex-cia agents, the person from German intelligence, or the Israeli intelligence and they?re not going to get caught. A computer virus is a program (a block of executable code) which attaches itself to, overwrites, or otherwise replaces another program in order to reproduce itself without the knowledge of the user. A vast array of viruses are comparatively harmless and may be present for years with no noticeable effect. Some, however, may cause random damage to data files (sometimes insidiously, over a long period) or attempt to destroy files and disks. Others cause unintended damage. Even benign viruses (apparently non-destructive viruses) cause significant damage by occupying disk space and/or main memory, by using up cpu processing time, and by the time and expense wasted in detecting and removing them. There are several main types of viruses out there that hackers may use: v File Viruses ? A file virus is a virus that attaches itself to a file, usually an executable application like a word-processing program and in general file viruses don?t infect data files. However, data files can contain embedded executable code such as macros, which may be used by hackers, as a file virus infects other files when the program to which it is attached is run, it can spread across a network (often very quickly). v Boot-sector Viruses ? Boot sector viruses alter the program that is in the first sector of every disk. This is the space in the computer that automatically runs each time the machine is turned on. Generally, a boot-sector infector executes its own code (which usually infects the boot sector or partition sector of the hard disk), then continues the PC start-up process. In most cases, all write-enabled floppies used on that PC from then on will become infected. A PC is infected with a boot-sector virus if it is booted from an infected floppy disk in the A: drive. Boot-sector infectors are some of the most commonly found viruses, and they cannot normally spread across a network. They normally spread by accident via floppy disks which may come from virtually any source. v Macro Viruses ? Macro viruses are pieces of code found in data files that are run inside of an application program like Microsoft Word. Usually, macros are used to automate tasks and customize user settings. Besides individual document files, macro viruses often infect global settings files such as MS Word templates so that subsequently created documents from that template are contaminated with the infected macros. v Email Viruses ? An email virus comes as an attachment to an email message. It almost always comes as a file with the three-letter extension .vbs at its end. This extension stands for "Visual Basic script," meaning that the file is actually program code, or a script of actions to carry out. In the past, these script files have been used for helpful purposes, but hackers recently have started placing malicious code in them and emailing them to unsuspecting people. Hackers will often put a common extension, such as .jpg (images) or .mp3 (music), on the infected file to fool people. The rise of internet usage eases the lives of hackers as there are ways that you could shut down the internet in two or three hours, this does however require a vast amount of skill and knowledge and thankfully people who are working for things like organized crime, or in terrorist groups, don?t posses that type of skill set at this point. The major vulnerabilities are in the Microsoft products. Microsoft has a web server out that has 15 or 20 fairly large security problems with it. There have been three or four really major ones over the last couple of years. This is because there are a lot of programs available that one could just download, run, and it?ll re-write a web page for you. One such program gives you full access to a remote web server in about four seconds. There?s another one that will completely shut down the web servers in a second. There are all kinds of tools out there that these people can download and they don?t have to understand how they work. In order to help prevent hackers and viruses destroying data the following measures should be taken: 1. Hard Drive & System Privacy- e.g. Windows Washer 2. Internet Access Control (Software and Hardware Firewalls) e.g. Zone Alarm 3. Spyware? Protection & Prevention e.g. SpyBot S&D, Ad-aware 4. Virus Protection & Prevention e.g. Norton AntiVirus

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