Your computer – a hackers playground.
Is your computer a hackers playground? Technology has developed to such a degree that our cyber-culture relies on it. Daily, we use the computer-generated network for communications, entertainment and business needs. We ‘trust’ the internet to look after our bank accounts and personal information securely. So, at Beach Marketing, we take online protection very seriously.
We recently became aware of an attempted attack on a site we manage. On entering the URL I was presented with a page that displayed statements like
We are back once again knocking snicks and snitches doors cause your crimes is something we don’t forgive’
The hackers tag was gracefully called Fallag Kill3r. The main aim was to share their message with as many people as possible, regardless of belief or religion.
Hacking is done for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s executed by vigilante groups who are trying to raise awareness about a political issue. Sometimes ,its an individual just trying to cause disruption. At it’s worst it’s threats made by foreign governments or militaries aiming to undermine their enemies.
As a digitally-minded person, I was interested to understand how the hack had been initiated. Looking behind the website I could see files that were placed in the root folder and filenames that stood out as unusual. Somehow the hacker had created a gateway, a back-door entrance to the website.
Your Computer – A hackers playground – Looking the hacker in the eye
I wanted to get inside the hacker’s mindset to understand how the programmer had found avenues to contaminate and destroy online platforms.
After researching the Internet, I started to gain some understanding. There are thousands of videos on YouTube that discuss hacking. There are even ‘how to’ tutorials. For instance, if you wanted to hack into a Facebook profile there are videos that show the step-by-step process. I wasn’t about to waste time trying them out so whether they work or not is another matter.
I started to focus on WordPress hacking. It seems there are hundreds, even thousands of after-dark computer nerds. They can be 9 years old or 60 years old. All sitting down in front of a laptop trying to find the next WordPress loop hole. It was clear that one of the main threats to WordPress sites are out of date plugins.
Your Computer – A hackers playground – Weak Plug-Ins
It’s a simple process to index the internet searching for weak or out of date plug-ins. Initially, written commands send parasite files which embed themselves to re-configure the site and allow unauthorised access. I couldn’t believe Firefox has an add-on which can auto process 100 passwords a second. You can easily download a file that contains hundreds of the most common passwords. This will then sift through and auto-fill the password field until a match is found.
If your password is weak I would recommend changing it to something more obscure. But it’s not just the password. In a lot of cases I have seen WordPress admins leave the user name as ‘admin’. This can be 50% of the hacking process. Consequently, at Beach we felt it was vital to come together and focus on securing our digital services for our clients. Ideally, creating peace of mind and knowing that whilst under our management all files and information are safe and protected. Particularly in the light of GDPR.
Your Computer – A Hackers Playground – Defence is key
So, our security service works by mirroring the website and all its contents. Making it impossible for the site to be infected. It also uses intelligent IP address recognition so any admin user must be whitelisted to access the sites core files. In addition, backups of the site are scheduled daily so data is always stored safely. This encompasses previous online purchases and any changes to content. One vital add-on is a Domain Name System (DNS) Reporter which detects when data is changed without authorisation.
Whatever threats are lurking, be sure that Beach has you protected.
Our top 5 tips to keep yourself protected online:
- Choose strong passwords.
- Control access to your machine.
- Use secure connections.
- Use desktop firewalls.
- Most importantly, stay informed of the latest online safety news.