You've heard the term hacker, you know they can cause damage and create havoc, but do you know what a hacker is? A hacker is a programmer able to get into a system or gain unauthorized access by skillful strategy. Hackers can be useful for maintaining a system and is constantly searching for security deficiencies. They can be the guardians of the security system. They also can turn that around and do more harm then good. A hacker is a skilled programmer who can write software expertly and swiftly. They can crack nearly any code and get into any computer system. Some of the more famous computer systems that have been hacked are corporations such as McDonalds, and to federal websites that have extremely sensitive information. Highly skilled hackers have hacked into Griffith Air Force Base, NASA, the US Department of Justice, and the US Air Force. Hackers have their own underground network where they exchange triumphs and share techniques to hack into new programs or skirt any protective software.
How can you protect yourself and your computer against hackers? Your computer may not be NASA quality or have sensitive and confidential information like the Department of Justice, but it can cause you some problems. A good hacker can get into your computer, steal passwords, pin numbers or codes to your financial sites.
How do you stop this attack on your system? One of the most important guards you can have in place is a fire wall. A fire wall will help keep hackers from getting into your system and sending out your personal information. Antivirus software will scan incoming files and e-mails but a fire wall stands guard outside the system to block any communications or information exchanges from sources that don't have your permission. If you use a high-speed Internet connection, you may have the same security concerns that any big organization or corporation has. It filters the information coming through the Internet connection. It can flag a packet of information that could potentially be harmful to your computer system.
Some systems come with a fire wall already installed; it just needs to be turned on once your get your computer set up. You can get separate software that will run in the background while you work, or you can get an external hardware fire wall that includes fire wall software. There are several fire wall software programs on the Internet that can be downloaded free. Be sure the sites you are using are trustworthy and have a good reputation.
How do fire walls work? A fire wall filters incoming data and lets only the ones considered safe to come through. Information is checked and is matched to specific defining characteristics. If these characteristics are not matched, the fire wall will not allow the information to go into your system.
Hackers also use Web browsers such as Netscape and Internet Explorer to get into your computer system. You can make your system more secure by increasing your online security. You can find the security feature by going to "Tools" or "Options" on your task bar.
A good fire wall can protect you from the creative ways that people use and misuse unprotected computers. It protects from remote login so a person can't view or access your files or run any of your computer programs. It keeps hackers from hijacking your e-mail. Once a hacker gains access to an e-mail address, it can then use that address to send unsolicited junk e-mail to thousands of users.
E-mail bombs can be used as a personal attack on your personal computer. Someone sends you the same e-mail thousands of times until your e-mail system can't accept any more messages. For someone who works from home this could be a catastrophe.
Spam is junk mail, usually harmless but it also often contains links to Web sites that may install a "cookie" on your system that creates a backdoor for a hacker to enter through.
Your newer system might also have free software that closes holes in the system that hackers can use. These patches can be found on the website for your system's manufacturer and can even be set to be installed automatically whenever a new patch is issued for a newly found problem.