They have infiltrated major companies’ security systems (LinkedIn, Target, Sony, Premera Blue Cross, and Anthem, just to name a few), costing them millions of dollars and forcing them to lose their shareholders’ trust.
However, these criminals have done something much more invasive than that; by hacking into big business’s security systems, computer hackers have made one of the most precious things in the world extremely vulnerable and unprotected: your personal information.
Now many people will naively think that computer hacking is incredibly difficult to do; however, if you watch this video, this guy makes it look pretty darn easy…
Warning: video contains adult language.
Isn’t that insane?!?
Now, unless you’re a techie that’s been around computer software for a long time, there’s a chance some of that info went over your head. Let me try to make it easier to understand…
First of all, It’s important to understand that the hacker in this video wasn’t hacking a real company – this was a demonstration he had set up to show you how easily it’s done.
First, he analyzes the security system software, and finds its vulnerabilities (its weaknesses, if you will), that will allow him to access and exploit the system.
And by exploit, I mean he gains complete and utter control of the other computer, and all the information inside of it (like your passwords, bank account info, etc.).
Then, he talks about a “buffer overflow.” Essentially, a “buffer” is a space in computer memory. So when the computer is accepting more coding than it can handle in that space, this causes a buffer overflow.
The danger of the overflow is that the computer will allow the execution of the excess code, thereby causing problems and preventing it from staying “secure.”
Note: some security systems have good code, which will never accept too much data (therefore preventing buffer overflow). However, as is obvious from Target’s and LinkedIn’s experience, companies do not always have good code.
So basically now the hacker’s job is cut out for him; he’s found the system’s vulnerability, and has therefore created the exploit – the coding (in this case using the Python coding language) – to hack into the system and take advantage of that security weakness.
He first tests this exploit on his own system to ensure it works (and of course it does, the man knows what he’s doing).
Now that he knows this, he can send the coding to the other computer, and can therefore control that computer and see all the information inside (and even cause certain websites and applications to pop up on the screen).
Now I want you to focus on one very important quote that George Hotz (or “Geohot,” as he’s known in the hacker world) said about hacking:
If I was actually targeting someone, I wouldn’t pop up web browsers letting them know that I’m there. So I can do whatever I want; I have a shell, so I can like navigate around their computer, see what’s on it without them even seeing anything. That’s the key; and then I can get persistence as well, which means that even if they reboot their computer, I still have access.”
Did you catch that? Computer hackers can be hacked into your computer, lurking in your files and gaining access to your personal information without you even knowing.
Although this is a terrifying thought, there are ways to help make it more difficult for hackers to access your info. We want you to be prepared as possible for every type of crisis (especially one as dangerous as this), so here’s a list of…
5 Ways To Keep Your Computer Safe From Hackers
1 – Change Up Your Passwords
A majority of the population habitually use the same passwords over and over again for various websites. However, this is one of the worst things you can do; once a hacker gains that one password, you’re giving him access to all of your info on those websites.
Right now while you’re thinking about it, log onto the websites you use and have information stored on, and change your password.
And this time, make each website’s password different. Sure, this might be a pain to remember, but it’s better than leaving yourself vulnerable to an attack.
Which leads me to my next point….
2 – Do NOT Store Passwords On An Electronic Device
Many people don’t want to forget their passwords (or even their PIN numbers), and therefore just type them into their phone/tablet. However, if a hacker gained access to this device, you would be allowing him to steal all those passwords and numbers you care so much about.
Unfortunately, technology hasn’t yet provided a system that is safe to keep passwords on (and it’s still dangerous to have them on notepads on your desk should the wrong person take a peek).
Note: Remember that by leaving passwords on your desk this also leaves you vulnerable if your house is broken into as well. Make sure your home is secure with our tips here.
However, there are certain tricks you can use to try to help you remember complicated passwords.
One such example is to take a site (say, for this example, Facebook), and then take the first letter of the site’s name – “F.” Now, think of something/someone memorable that starts with the letter F – such as your uncle Frank.
Now think of something meaningful about Frank, such as the time he took you to see your first football game when you were 10 years old (which might have been in the year 1977). And let’s say the name of the stadium was Mile High.
Your new password for Facebook is: Frank10_1977@milehigh
Granted the most persistent hacker can inevitably break through, but this complicated password will have lots of them scratching their heads and moving on to easier victims.
So now you might be asking, “Why is the password so complicated?” Well, let me tell you…
3 – Stay Away From Easy Passwords
So many people these days come up with the smallest, simplest passwords – things with short, common words like “hunting” or “survival.” However, these are some of the easiest passwords to crack for hackers – mostly because there’s really not much to hack. It’s too simple.
It is much more difficult for hackers to figure out your password when it contains lots of numbers, letters, and symbols.
Note: It’s also incredibly important to not create your passwords with easy sequential orderings, such as “abc” or “123”. These sequences are very easy for hackers to figure out, and are often the ones they attempt first when trying to figure out your password.
4 – Change Your Passwords Often
Now that you’ve set up a strong password, you’re going to need to change it every so often to keep the hackers guessing. After all, if you leave the same password on the site for a while, it may just be a matter of time until you’re prey to an attack.
In addition, changing your password limits the amount of time hackers have access to your valuable info. If you never change your password, they can glean as much information as they want, for as long as they want.
If you do all your browsing, internet surfing, etc. on your personal computer, we recommend you change your password every three months or so. However, if you’re using public computers, it should be more often.
5 – Take Advantage Of Two-Factor Authentication
Many websites are now taking extra precautions to protect your privacy, and are offering 2-Step Verification. This is another layer of security to help you make sure the only person that is accessing your info is you.
Here’s how it works: To set it up, you give the website your phone number (as long as your phone can receive text messages), and the website will then text you with an authentication code. This helps them make sure that you’re a real person, and that the number is valid.
Then, the next time you visit that site, you’ll plug in your username and password like normal, and hit submit.
Only this time, the site will not allow you immediate access; instead, it will send a 6-digit code to your cell phone via text message, and make you plug in that code before allowing you in.
These websites also often provide backup options, such as allowing you to give it a different phone number to text if you lose your phone.
Basically the major takeaway you need to be receiving from this article (besides all the helpful information) is that YOU have to protect YOU. Your cell phone provider nor your internet service provider can truly protect your information.
You have to control that which is in your means to give yourself the best chance at not being hacked and keeping your private information private.
And speaking of keeping your private information private, that reminds me – hackers don’t have to go through your computer or you cell phone to access your information.
Hackers can also steal your identity and your credit card information while your credit cards, drivers license, etc. are still in your wallet/purse.
How is this possible?
Certain hackers maintain their expertise in what’s known as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) skimming. And the bad news for us is that, nowadays, certain debit cards, credit cards, drivers licenses, and passports come with an embedded RFID chip.
These hackers have RFID chip readers, which they can use to transmit info from your card to their computer wirelessly. By doing this, they can find out your name, the country you’re from, and even get whole credit card numbers out of your wallet with just a scan.
These sneaky hackers can do all of this without you even knowing, and they can scan your back pocket, purse or wallet from a few feet away, making them an invisible attacker when in a crowded room.
Luckily, there are ways to thwart off these attacks; one of them is called an RFID-blocking shield. These card shields are composed of a special alloy, which blocks the transmitter and makes it much harder for the hacker to access your information.
Top government spies and reps. use this same technology to keep their identities and private information safe. And I figure, if RFID blockers help keep our government’s precious secrets hidden, then these sleeves will surely help keep mine private as well.
Luckily, these sleeves don’t weigh down your wallet; each one weighs only 1/2 an ounce, so you can comfortably be using a few of them in your wallet/purse and not even know the difference.
Plus, they’re super long-lasting, allowing you to remove the card and slide it back in time and time again with no rips or tears.
It’s time to take back our right to privacy by taking control of what we can. And for me, that means wearing an RFID-blocking card shield.
Check them out in our online store here. They even come in 4-packs, so you can use them each for your debit card, credit card, passport and driver’s license. Or, if you have extra cards you need to protect, you can increase the size of the pack in the drop-down menu on this link.
Nobody should be able to steal your personal information. With these sleeves, you can relax knowing they’re working hard to help keep your private info safe and secure no matter where you go.
Click here or on the image below to get yours today.