Tag Archives: hacktivists

Clues & response if you are hacked

Just like driving a car, sooner or later you may have an accident no matter how secure you are. Below are clues to help figure out if you have been hacked and, if so, what to do. The sooner you identify something bad has happened, the more likely you can fix the problem.

Clues You Have Been Hacked

  • Your anti-virus program generates an alert that your system is infected. Make sure it is your anti-virus software generating the alert, and not a pop-up window from a website trying to fool you into calling a number or installing something else. Not sure? Open your anti-virus program.
  • You get a pop-up window saying your computer has been encrypted and you have to pay a ransom to get your files back.
  • Your browser is taking you to all sorts of websites that you did not want to go to.
  • Your computer or applications are constantly crashing or there are icons for unknown apps or strange windows popping up.
  • Your password no longer works even though you know it is correct.
  • Friends ask you why you are spamming them with emails that you know you never sent.
  • There are charges to your credit card or withdrawals from your bank account you never made.

How to Respond

If you suspect you have been hacked, the sooner you act the better. If the hack is work related, do not try to fix the problem yourself; instead, report it immediately. If it is a personal system or account that has been hacked, here are some steps you can take:

  • Change Your Passwords: This includes not only changing the passwords on your computers and mobile devices, but for your online accounts. Do not use the hacked computer to change your passwords; use a different system that you know is secure. If you have a lot of accounts, start with the most important ones first. Can’t keep track of all your passwords? Use a password manager.
  • Financial: For issues with your credit card or any financial accounts, call your bank or credit card company right away. Use a trusted phone number to call them, such as from the back of your bank card, your financial statements, or visit their website from a trusted computer. In addition, consider putting a credit freeze on your credit files.
  • Anti-virus: If your anti-virus software informs you of an infected file, follow the actions it recommends. Most anti-virus software will have links you can follow to learn more about the specific infection.
  • Reinstalling: If you are unable to fix an infected computer or you want to be surer your system is safe, reinstall the operating system. Do not reinstall from backups; instead, backups should only be used for recovering your personal files. If you feel uncomfortable rebuilding, consider using a professional service to help you. Or, if your computer or device is old, it may be easier to purchase a new one. Finally, once you have rebuilt your system or purchased a new one, make sure it is updated and enable automatic updating whenever possible.
  • Backups: A key step to protecting yourself is to prepare ahead of time with regular backups. Many solutions will automatically back up your files daily or hourly. Regardless of which solution you use, periodically check that you are able to restore those files. Quite often, recovering your data backups is the only way you can recover from being hacked.

CyberSecurity: Who are the real hackers & Who is targeting you?

As per Wiki: A computer hacker is any skilled computer expert that uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem. Some people call hackers a problem solver and Crackers are the ones who break the system.

In reality, Lots of people do not know who are the real hackers? And general thinking is that hackers are a group of people who have invisible power & anonymous to public life. Surprising but true that world has represented hackers someone invisible & wearing the hood with warm jacket & laptop. Only difference you could see that White, Black & Grey hood.

Whenever I see this many questions pop up in my mind: Do hackers really wear jackets with a hood? Is this some sort of logo & symbol to hold if you are a hacker (black, white or both) or wish to become a hacker. Do they belong to cold places? Weird questions but took a long time to get these answers.

So who are the Real Hackers (Crackers)?

Real hackers are not the one who wears a jacket & a hood. The whole world has portrayed them as someone like this, especially media always represent them with similar photos. But, The truth is they are normal people with bad intentions. In large, Every hacker falls into the following categories:

1 Criminals

This category of hackers are criminals who are mafia in the digital age. Just like old days, Mafia used to have men working for them. These criminals have organizations & employee the real hackers to break others system and Steal money from banks, individuals, blackmail someone with ransomware etc. These types of hacking also involved in frauds: Ads frauds, fake campaigns etc.

2 Hacktivists

Hacktivists word is coming activist like a social activist, environmental activist etc. Hacktivist is a group of people who come together with a common belief. The biggest example of such group is “Annonymous“. More information available in the wiki. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group)

3 Criminal Hackers

Criminal hackers could be a smaller group of people or individuals. It is tough to identify nature of these categories people, However, these types of hackers break some system & steal data etc or find vulnerabilities and pass their information to the bigger group (Big bang hackers group).

Another option is to sell their information on the dark web. In returns, They get their cut. It is a quick way to earn money. For example, If one hacker got 2k account details with credit card numbers, he/she can sell in dark web with $2 to $3 per details. The easy way to make money & not get into a bigger problem.

4 Competitors

The situation has become like Tom & Jerry cartoon. Sometimes tom wins sometimes Jerry & fight continues. In Cybersecurity, it is the same. Anti-virus, anti-malware & thousands of tools to protect organizations but there are some organizations who break others to prove their point. They create open source tools to break any system.

Hacking Small Companies Is Big Business https://biztechmagazine.com/article/2016/07/hacking-small-companies-big-business

There are individuals who break the Android, iPhone just shows that a particular technology isn’t secure even though it is secure up to some extent.

5 Foreign nations

Foreign nations are proactively targeting other nations & Countries like China, Russia has become symbols of such things. It is hard to believe one side of the story but there have been enough instances to believe that Nations like China is the biggest contributors in the whole cyber wars.

US Lawmakers Propose ‘Hack Back’ Law to Allow Cyber Retaliation Without Permission of Third-Party Country. It is a clear indication that Nations would go after each other more aggressively. https://followcybersecurity.com/2018/11/08/first-step-towards-cyberwar/

6 Disgruntled Employees

Last categories of hackers are very interesting one. These are the people who build software for someone then they decide to break the same system to teach a lesson to the same organization. Bad for the organization because the person knows in & out of the system.

We all may feel helpless when an organization or individual manager, VP follows unethical practice & unfair to the people. But not everyone feels helplessness & a few people may start targetting to the organization because of individual unethical behaviour.

In Cybersecurity world, ethics are the most important if you have got the power on your fingertips. A very thin line between good hackers & bad hackers. Maintaining ethics isn’t easy when you feel angry & betrayed.

Leave a comment if you have any suggestion to improve on my effort