Not so long ago, the very idea of being hacked was indeed terrifying but it was also seen as a rarity, something that only happens to other people. Fast forward to 2015 and we seem to be suddenly facing an onslaught of hacking that has rapidly turning into a serious epidemic. If huge conglomerates such as Sony and eBay are affected by these hacking techniques, what chance do we individuals have of steering clear from the potentially devastating effects of a modern day hacker? Here we look at the most 5 common ways that an individual, just like you, can be hacked:

1- Trojan Horse Programs

Undoubtedly the most common way to get hacked is by the Trojan Horse program. A fairly harmless and even familiar looking computer program can pose as a helpful thing, while secretly masking a potentially destructive virus. Quite often will the Trojan horse malware sit dormant within your hard drive and then one-day spring to life, much to your dismay. Your computer will then become infected with a nasty virus and your system configurations will start to change without you being asked. A highly concerning situation and one that is all too common in 2015.

2- Back-Door Programs

Also known as remote administration programs, these usually come in the shape of Netbus, SubSeven and BackOrifice. They will install themselves without your knowledge and once they are up and running, your entire computer system can be run by remote users. This can be especially harmful if you happen to have banking access or other sensitive data set up on your personal computer. Hackers can also gain access to your machine’s webcam or microphone, creating a serious issue with your very own personal privacy.

3- Denial of Service

You may easily think that your computer is simply working its socks off or perhaps has crashed, but an actual Denial of service attack is far from a routine set of processing commands. Whether your website is personally being attacked or your computer’s bandwidth is being used to execute an attack on others, you may experience horribly slow load speeds due to the hijack.

4- Intermediary For Hacking Attacks

Make no mistake, malicious hackers are very sneaky and love shifting the focus of blame to innocent pawns. They can hijack your device as a launch pad for attacks on other innocent users and their hardware or software. This typically happens by way of a Trojan Horse program that infects a particular computer and then sits and waits for further instructions. When those instructions come, all hell breaks loose! The compromised computer, or computers, will launch the Denial of Service attack on command and even though your own PC may escape most of the damage, you will still be connected to the overall attack and could well be looking at inclusion when the whole shebang is investigated at a later date.

5- Packet Sniffing

This is a technique that captures valuable data from information packets travelling over specific networks. Passwords, names and other pieces of vital information become compromised as the ‘sniffers’ collect data and eventually use it to commit crimes such as identity theft. Traditional network setups that include dial-up, DSL and cable modem users are the typical targets for this hacking approach. Conducting business over a shared Internet connection at a coffee shop or hotel make you and your communications particularly vulnerable to sniffing.

Avoid becoming a part of these attacks by not interacting with sketchy websites or downloads, keeping all of your software updated, and taking caution on unknown networks.

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