Hacking 101: Understanding How Hackers Gain Access to Passwords
In order to protect your identity it is important to first understand how a person can break into your computer and steal your files. Once you understand the common methods a hacker uses to acquire your password it is easier to protect yourself. A hacker has three common methods that they can use to hack a computer and find the password or account information.
- Brute Force or Dictionary Repetition Hacking
- Social Engineering or Phishing
- Administrator Back Door
Brute Force or Dictionary
When a hacker wants to find your password he uses brute force hacking methods. This method attacks a person’s computer using dictionary software that will recombine English dictionary words with thousands of different variables or combinations.
When the hacker runs the dictionary hacking program, it starts off with the letter “a” and varying different combinations. Afterwards, it moves to full words to try to break the password. The program is capable of making 50 different attempts to crack your password each minute. After several hours or days the program is finally able to crack your password.
Social Engineering or Phishing Attacks
Social engineering or phishing is today’s way of getting a person to divulge their password. A hacker will try to use different methods and personal contact to learn your password. Some hackers have gone as far as interviewing shoppers in front of markets. A person stands in front of a store and when shoppers leave tries to get them to take their survey.
Other ways a hacker can obtain your password is by phone. They will call your phone posing as a bank representative to verify your home phone number and account number. The third way is through emails, deception or masquerading as an authority. This involves luring their victims to a website that mirrors a legitimate website. There the unsuspected victim will enter their account number and user password.
Administrator Back Doors
The hacker gains access to a company’s network through an administrator account. Once inside the hacker has access to the company’s user accounts and passwords. Most operating systems have a hidden back door that only the network administrator knows about. However, today hackers have found a way to penetrate these hidden back doors. Once inside, they go to work and start harvesting the administrator’s accounts, user accounts, and client accounts. Furthermore, they retrieve all the passwords from the system.
It is important to understand the methods a hacker uses to gain access to your computer, password, and important information. The more you understand about their methods the easier it will be to defend yourself. Therefore, you must pay attention to anyone calling you on the phone or asking you to take a survey. Furthermore, your password is your first line of defense against a hacker. That is why it is so important to create a secure password that is hard to break.