There are many types of hacking techniques hackers can use to break into one’s computer and steal private information. Can you become their next target?
Anyone who uses a device to connect to the internet is vulnerable to hacking attacks.
Hackers turn to computer hacking for multiple purposes. Some of the worst things hackers can do if they get access to your computer are:
- Steal your bank information and money
- Get hold of your usernames and passwords
- Open credit cards in your name
- Use your Security Number to steal your identity
- Sell your information to others
With these risks in mind, let’s take a look over the most common types of hacking techniques hackers use to break into devices so you learn how to protect yourself from computer hacking.
How do hackers get into your computer?
1. Hacking your computer through open ports
For hackers to hack your computer, they often rely on open ports. These are not the physical ports of your computer (such as the USB port) but the endpoints of the internet connection that gather the data packets based on their scope (sending an email, accessing a webpage). If these ports are open, someone can send them data packets containing malicious information and you’ll end up with a hacked computer.
To find computers with open ports, hackers use dedicates software. Each port can receive a certain type of information, so the hackers send data packets containing the information it needs for the targeted port. If the port they target happens to be open on your device, then the hacker gets access to your computer without any permission requested from your part. This process is automated, which means hackers are not targeting specific people but rather they send these data packets to thousands of computers so they locate vulnerable devices.
To prevent computer hacking through open ports, the first step is to enable a firewall and set it up to block as many ports as possible. The job of the firewall is to protect your ports from being accessed by third-parties.
2. Spyware in emails
One of the most commons ways of hacking someone’s computer is via their email. This method is also known as phishing.
Hackers often send fake emails containing either downloadable malware or malicious links. These emails will appear as being sent by someone you trust, such as your bank or someone you know, and they try to trick you into giving them personal information.
For example, you might receive an email from your bank asking for your username and password to confirm your identity. Needless to say, the webpage you’ll access is fake and once you type in your password, the hacker who sent you the disguised email will have access to your bank account.
These emails can also encourage you to download an attachment that contains malware so the hacker can get into your computer.
3. Downloadable malware
To prevent computer hacking, one of the most important aspects of your online surfing is to be very careful what you download online.
Often enough, hackers upload programs with malware on websites and disguise them as legit applications.
Say you downloaded a game and you need a crack to make it work. You go search for it online, stumble upon a website to download it from, and click to run it. You won’t know if the file you downloaded contains a malware, especially if you don’t have an antivirus software to warn you. And if the file is corrupt, the moment you open the file, the malware will take hold of your computer.
4. Malicious websites
Malicious websites are one of the common methods hackers use for computer hacking. Malicious websites are designed to install malware on your computer if you happen to access the site.
Usually, you have to take certain actions for the malware to get into your computer (like clicking a link, download a file, or either clicking on pop-up’s button). For example, a website might ask you to install a piece of software on your device so you’re able to play a video. Because it’s not uncommon for a site to ask for a dedicated software to get certain features and because the website looks legit, it’s an effective way for hackers to get into your computer.
The worst part about malicious websites is that there are cases when a file will be downloaded on your computer without requesting for your permission or tricking you into accepting the download with misleading messages. Once the malware takes hold of your computer, it will be tough to get rid of it. Furthermore, your antivirus might not be able to see the thread until the damage is done as hackers do their best to make it difficult for the malware to be noticed.
5. Unprotected networks
Using a WiFi connection without a password is an invitation for hackers to get into your computer. When you don’t use a password, the connection is open to anyone that lives or passes near your house. And the risks are huge.
For a hacker with a software dedicated for sniffing, it will be extremely easy to get into your computer and read all the data you send through the WiFi connection because it is not encrypted.
Another reason why hackers seek unprotected networks is for illegal activities. If a hacker connects to your router and uses that connection to steal someone’s money, for example, the police will knock on your door as they will track down the crime as coming from your house based on the IP address.
Even though there are ways to hack a WiFi password, the more complex it is, the harder it is to break. Make sure your router supports a strong encryption and always set up a password that’s difficult to hack.
6. Public WiFi
Even though free internet sounds exciting, especially when you must really check out your email, it can put your personal information at risk.
If a hacker has access to the internet router you’re connecting to, it will come easy for the hacker to get into your device and steal your passwords or private data.
Just because the WiFi network of your favorite restaurant is password protected, don’t assume it is also safe. You have no idea who has access to the router and they can turn out to be hostile. Moreover, hackers can create fake WiFi connections that appear as coming from a known place. For example, they might create a WiFi spot near a coffee shop using its name. People who see that connection will believe the signal comes from the coffee shop and use it to surf the internet, giving hackers access to their devices.
7. USB Drives
This computer hacking method is not as common as you must physically get in contact in the USB drive.
Sometimes, hackers infect a USB drive with malware software and they left it behind in coffee shops or public places. Someone passing by might take the USB drive and plug it in their computer. Needless to say that once the drive is in, the computer gets compromised and the hacker gets access to the victim’s private information.
This type of computer hacking is the easiest to prevent as all you need to do is avoid using USB drives randomly found or those given to you by strangers.