Hacker: what it is, what it does and how it can attack

Hacker what it is what it does and how it can attack
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A hacker invasion can compromise not only your company’s data, but also affect your visitors and make browsing unsustainable. Therefore, learning the different methods used by cybercriminals is essential to take effective digital protection measures.

The Internet is a system in full and accelerated development. When Digital Marketing began to prevail it was very different, with pages that took minutes to load and extremely limited functionality. For example, the practicality provided by WordPress was unimaginable.

Despite this, there is a figure that has accompanied – and scares – the digital user since the dawn of the internet: the hacker. As the network develops and generates more resources for users and businesses, such as the ability to store large amounts of valuable data, hackers also improve their techniques.

But, after all, what is a hacker and what is the real threat they pose to the security of your website and your data? How to protect ourselves? We created this publication precisely to answer these and other questions that often generate many doubts in the corporate environment.

What is a hacker?

First of all, it is important to note that when we refer to a hacker, we are not always talking about a digital criminal. The use of this term is growing to refer to people or professionals who have skills considered advanced in some type of knowledge.

If you have experience with Digital Marketing management, for example, you must have already heard of a growth hacker, a professional whose job it is to seek opportunities to accelerate the growth of the company. In this article, we will not address aspects of this type of hacker.

Our hacker is undesirable. Like the one mentioned above, its activities are limited to finding loopholes, that is, security flaws. In this way, you can access restricted information and other people’s systems. In many cases, you can also remotely make changes to programs and devices connected to the hacked system.

You may be wondering: what are the motivations of a hacker? In fact, we can say that they vary a lot. There are rare examples of cyberattacks driven by ideals, valid or not. This is the case of the leaks of confidential information led by the group known as Anonymous.

In other cases, the motivation may be economic, to benefit from the sale of information or even from the use of the economic resources of the invaded person. Read on to learn more about what a hacker attack entails!

What does a hacker do?

To be a hacker, it is essential to develop knowledge in the area. For this reason, we can assume that hackers spend at least some time acquiring knowledge through experience or in-depth study of the operation of certain systems.

If he is able to find a breach in the security of a website, the hacker can enter your database , make changes, leak information and much more. As our daily lives are filled with increasingly digitized processes, the range of options for the hacker increases.

Take, for example, systems that manage smart homes, like the Amazon Echo. In the event that he is able to access it, the criminal can control everything connected to the system, from the lighting in the house to the operation of the electrical appliances. Dangerous, right?

Of course, things are not that easy. Large technology companies, especially Amazon, invest heavily in the security of their systems, precisely to prevent them from becoming vulnerable to attack and, therefore, lose confidence in the public.

The example, however, is interesting to stimulate the almost infinite possibilities of action that a hacker has. Two security researchers, Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger, demonstrated that even high-precision rifles can be hacked and controlled remotely.

Of course, so far we’ve focused our attention on the big picture, but you can already get an idea of ​​how damaging a hacker attack can be to a business, right? So how do we protect ourselves? To get started, you need to understand how these attacks work. Check out the next topic!

How does a hacker attack work?

As you can imagine, there is no homogeneous form of cyber attack. However, we can say that most of them occur from the identification of a failure in a software. In fact, it is not always fair to classify them as errors, but rather as gaps.

The moment a software “opens its doors” to receive or send the file, no matter how fast, may be the opportunity that the hacker needs to invade the system. Many of them do this by creating a fake file that enters the program as if it were another common piece of data for the operation.

To better understand the diversity present in hacker attacks, we have separated some of the most common so that you know them and, thus, begin to prevent them. Follow us!

Troy Horse

The Trojan Horse attack is one of the most common attacks on the internet and it lives up to its name. The term refers to the mythical site of Troy when, to invade the city, the Greeks pretended to retreat and left a huge wooden horse as a gift, which had a group of Greek soldiers inside.

Returning to the concept of hackers, the idea is similar. The malware accesses the machine posing as a harmless file. Once inside the computer, it spreads and has the potential to dominate the entire system, spying on and stealing data .

Although it is destructive, it is a relatively easy attack to avoid. In addition to having the software focused on avoiding them, you can invest in training so that your team learns to identify and avoid files that are considered suspicious.

DDoS

DDoS is short for Distributed Denial-of-service, which can be loosely translated as Distributed Denial of Service. The idea of ​​this attack is to overload the server, causing enormous slowness and making browsing practically impossible.

In many cases, a DDoS attack creates a mechanism to redirect the visitor from one website to another, managed by hackers. To avoid this and maintain the reputation of the company, it is essential to ensure the security of the DNS.

To do this, the hacker uses various sources – hence the term “distributed” – to optimize the flow of traffic on a server to unsustainable levels. If your website receives a DDoS attack, for example, it may become inaccessible to public access, once it will be congested with “ghost” access.

Phishing

This term comes from English and means fishing, undoubtedly an appropriate analogy for this type of hacker attack, which consists of throwing traps in the hope of achieving their objectives.

Usually carried out by email, this technique uses social engineering to trick the recipient and influence him to make some type of data available on a voluntary basis. In a basic example, the hacker may pose as a bank manager to acquire information about the victim’s account.

In the same proportion that it is common, it is possible to prevent it with extreme efficiency. In fact, basic internet security guidelines are generally sufficient to prevent this type of attack.

Brute force attack

Not all hacking methods have to do with cheating or strategies to introduce malware into a system. Some are simply based on brute force attacks. In a broader conception, we can use as an example a thief who, when trying to open a safe, simply tries all the possible combinations.

In the digital environment, this relates directly to your login credentials and passwords. When engaging in this type of practice, the criminal tries, using a trial and error strategy, to obtain the necessary combination to enter your system.

It sounds like a huge job, and indeed it is. However, many hackers use specialized applications to speed up this process by trying different combinations in a short time. Some practices can prevent this type of attack such as:

  • set a limit on login attempts;
  • structure two-factor authentication;
  • implement captcha;
  • use long and complex passwords.

How can a hacker attack a company?

In addition to the techniques mentioned in the previous topic, hackers can use various other forms of attack. This means, in short, that the virtual security of your company depends on a total protection, that eliminates the possibilities of a criminal invasion.

Even so, we know that many companies suffer from these types of problems. Understanding the reason behind these intrusions is important to continually improve your digital security strategy. After all, the destructive capacity contained in this type of attack is no secret.

This reality leads many entrepreneurs to focus primarily on hacker protection software. While generally effective, this solution can be useless if not accompanied by other measures, as these attacks can occur in a number of ways, starting with human error and failure.

A company’s data can be compromised due to the individual action of an employee who can access it. If you fall for a phishing attempt or inadvertently install a Trojan Horse, it may take a while for management to identify the invasion, making combat measures difficult.

Also, it is important to note that these types of invasions do not always occur remotely. Companies with excellent digital security protocols also guarantee the protection of their hardware. In this way, devices containing confidential information are kept isolated and sealed.

Therefore, it is easy to conclude that a company that wants to protect itself against hacker attacks must be prevented on all fronts. Here are some more specific examples of the most common attacks in the corporate environment. Keep reading!

What are the most common cyberattacks in companies?

It is not news that data is among the most valuable assets of any company, so protecting it should be a priority. Knowing this, cybercriminals focus their efforts on accessing them, either to resell them or to use them for other purposes.

It is necessary to understand that company data is not always the end goal, but the means for the hacker to achieve something more. If someone can access your account on a social media, for example, they can impersonate you to deceive your followers.

In the context of companies, phishing is also a practice that continues to be of great relevance. Remember the example we saw, in which the hacker posed as a bank manager to obtain bank details? In a corporation, you can impersonate the chief financial officer to request transfers, for example.

Another type of procedure that has the power to generate large losses is called Ransomware, which works as a kind of virtual rape. The cybercriminal accesses and blocks all or part of the files on the server and demands a ransom, usually payment in cryptocurrencies.

How to prevent your company from suffering a hacker attack?

As you have seen, the hacker has the ability to generate losses and major headaches for managers and anyone involved with the digital security of the company. The good news is that there are several ways to prevent an attack. Now we are going to comment on the main ones!

Embed data security in company culture

It is useless to protect yourself from hacker attacks if your employees are not prepared to do so, especially those who deal directly with the data, websites and other digital assets of the company. For this reason, it is worth investigating the level of knowledge of the teams on the subject and emphasizing its importance.

It is important that this be introduced into the culture of the company, from conferences, institutional materials, training courses, etc. In this way, everyone will be less susceptible to hacker attempts.

Update the system frequently

Never postpone or reject an update suggested by the software you use, as they are resources used by developers to improve the service, mainly through bug fixes. If left unattended, these loopholes can be the hacker’s entry point.

Establish a password creation policy

It sounds trivial, but it is a fact that many companies protect their information with passwords that are too simple and easy to memorize.

Indeed, this is a practice that should be avoided by defining a policy for the creation of passwords that are considered secure in order to rule out the possibility of brute force attacks.

It is worth using special characters, numbers, and upper and lower case letters. Also, to strengthen security, it is important to work with two-factor authentication whenever possible.

Prioritize security when hosting your website

When choosing a hosting service for your website, consider, in particular, the conditions offered in terms of security. It is important to prioritize services that have resources capable of quickly identifying and eliminating potential threats.

A host that has, for example, a firewall application, can monitor all website traffic and verify the origin of your access. With the help of state-of-the-art technology, it is possible to keep the data safe and at the same time ensure the stability of the page.

The hacker represents a threat to anyone who uses the internet to carry out transactions or simply store information. When we talk about the company, the damage can be even more significant. For this reason, it is essential to prioritize digital security in any type of management.