What is a Hacker?
A Hacker is a computer expert who spends their time trying to find ways to break
into other computer systems and/or computer software. They also try to find ways
to make software act in ways it was not meant to do. The Hackers motives are
usually to see if they can get into the system or not. For the most part, these
Hackers are only a minor nuisance and don’t cause too much trouble.
What is a Cracker?
A Cracker or Criminal Hacker is the same thing as a Hacker except that their
motives are different than a Hackers motives. A Cracker breaks into a system or
software for Criminal purposes. They may wish to steal something and / or they
may wish to disrupt the system that they are in. Crackers are far worse than the
Hackers and Crackers are a real problem in today’s high tech society. If you
don’t take some steps to protect yourself from them, it will only be a matter of
time until they cause you some trouble. Here are a few steps you can take to
help protect you from Hackers and Crackers.
Firewall: If you are using DSL or Cable then a firewall is a must. With DSL and Cable, your internet is on all the time. The Hackers run programs looking for computers connected to the internet by their IP address. Once found the evil hackers then try to find a way to break into your system. One of the things that the Firewall does is to mask your computer so that the Hacker’s probe comes up negative. If you have Windows XP then you should activate the already included Firewall Program. If you don’t have Windows XP then you can use a program similar to Zone Alarm.
Anti Virus Software:
Regular Anti Virus – Make sure you get yourself a good general purpose anti virus software and set it to automatically run every week. Keep your virus definitions up to date so it can always catch the newest viruses.
Trojans: A Trojan virus is a program that installs other software on your system. They can also give the hacker other means to enter your system and do just about anything. Your general purpose anti virus software will get some of these and some of them will need special anti Trojan software to get rid of them.
Spyware: This little buggers are really common and easy to get infected with. Spyware is software that gets installed onto your computer without your knowledge or consent. Some are used for tracking and some are used to influence search results or cause all sorts of popups. If you have a lot of spyware on your system, it will start to slow down. The thing about spyware is that your regular anti virus software will NOT get them.
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Any passwords you need to use in relation to your System should be secure passwords. They should be at least eight to ten characters long with a combination letters and numbers with at least one special character. Don’t use your name, god, your children’s names or you pet’s name.
Careful with Emails:
Many hackers send Virus’s and Spyware in email attachments. Never open an email attachment from a stranger. Never open an email attachment that is an executable program unless you really trust the source. Sometimes hackers will send virus’s through infected computers so you feel safe opening the attachment. Make sure you anti virus software also scans your incoming emails.
Latest Patches for Your Operating System:
Keep your operating system updated with the latest patches. Hackers are always looking for ways to exploit main stream operating system software. As soon as the manufacturer finds out about it, they release a fix or patch. If you don’t update your system with these fixes, you could be vulnerable to hackers.
Keep away from Cracked Software:
You should keep away from cracked software for more than just the criminal or moral reasons. Crackers or Criminal Hackers obviously can’t be trusted. They have been known to put Trojans and other malicious code into the cracked software. You think you are getting your software for free when you may be letting a hacker into your system. Be smart and pay for all your software.
Test Computers Security:
I found a website that will test your computer security for FREE. It’s called Shields Up. It will test your internet connection, probe your ports and give you a report. It will give you an idea on how secure your connection is.
Backup Sensitive Material:
Regular backups of sensitive or important material should be part of your routine. If you have files, documents or photos on your system that you can’t loose, then back them up. Save a copy to another computer or even better a CD / DVD.