Why Does A Hacker Hack?
There are different reasons why hackers do what they do. Some do it for money as there are benefits of financial gain in hacking. Others may do it for social and political campaigns using this skill to destroy important data to hurt important persons (or personalities) in order to air their grievances. A hacker that does this is usually referred to as a “cracker” as their motivation is to destabilize the security of important networks or security systems. Some hack just for fun of it as it serves as a sort of climax to them. A cracker was once quizzed by a website called “safemode.org” on why he vandalizes web servers and his response was “hacking an important site is like a drug to him which he can’t get enough of” so he does it over again. Presently, we are plagued by a new type of hacker - someone that lives close to us. On a daily basis, we have so many people downloading basic applications that lets them try to break into wifi connections. Some hackers engage in this just to listen in on what other people are doing on the web. Some other hackers do this to poach another person’s identity.
The Most Common Attacks
1. Session Hijacking
This is a type of attack whereby a hacker utilizes a package called “packet sniffer” to obtain an unsecured (unencrypted) cookie which gives access to a website. It is the act of stealing another person’s access to a website; usually done on public wireless networks which helps the hacker impersonate the real user when his session I already providing access to the website’s content. Session hijacking doesn’t give access to passwords and usernames so once the user is done surfing the web and logs out, the hacker also loses access to the user’s session.
2. DNS Spoofing
This attack occurs when there is a breach of the security of a computer whereby a particular data is compromised by replacing the original data with a malicious data via the Domain Name Server (DNS). The hacker replaces DNS records with another malicious website usually by changing the IP address of the domain name to the malicious one so that when the user tries to login to a website, the user is instead redirected to the malicious server which appears as the original website intended.
3. Man-in-the-middle Attacks
In this case, the hacker attacks the two ends of a communication; that is the sender and the receiver. A hacker can gain access to the two ends of a communication by intercepting each user’s system and tries to act as the real person at both ends. This can be achieved if the hacker logs into an unencrypted wifi. The hacker intercepts the exchange of the sender and receiver with the users unaware that their exchange has been hijacked thereby giving out sensitive information to the man posing as both the sender and the receiver which is in fact the hacker. All messages being passed is intercepted by the hacker so it gives him access to sensitive information such as bank and credit card details which later used to inflict major financial crises to the victims.
This is a process in which an attacker gains access into a system via interception of data sent between a computer or smartphone and other devices by sniffing. In this type of attack, a malicious document; usually in form of virus such as Trojan can be sent to an unsuspecting user as a normal message and the user tries to access the message which proves fatal to the user’s computer or mobile phone.
5. Mass Meshing
This is a method of cyber-attack in which is known as mass SQL injection. In this type of attack, hackers contaminate websites with different types of viruses and malwares and thereby redirecting users to these dangerous websites causing fatal attacks to the users’ computer systems.
The Most Common Targets
Hackers are motivated to attack different types computer systems and networks and those listed below are the most attacked as they seem more appealing to hackers
1. Corporate Networks
Computers in a corporate organisation are often high valued targets for hackers even though a whole lot of resources are expended in securing these computers. They are usually prone to attacks because important customers’ data and sensitive company information are confined within their database which is heavily fortified with sophisticated firewalls.
2. Web Servers
These are computer systems where important websites are located. These systems usually contain sensitive data such as the financial records and details of customers. This is a very enticing system for hackers to target as they attack these systems to reveal customer information to the general public such as the Ashley Madison attack.
3. Personal Computers
Personal computers are renowned to be the most attacked computer systems as they hold important and private user information and records. They are usually prone to attacks because they don’t possess the same security structure as web servers and corporate organization’s computers and they are the most widely used computer systems apart from mobile phones. It’s the easiest to attack and requires low skill levels of hacking.
4. Tablets and Palm Top Devices
These are smaller types of computers and are easily distinguished as they are portable mobile devices which can be moved around effortlessly. They are as prone to attacks as laptops and personal computers and an attacker can easily gain access into them usually via wifi networks in public places.