Humans are creative. Hackers are motivated. Cyber criminals are using a wide array of tools and tricks to access information and infiltrate accounts. Understanding those tools is the first step in fighting back.
Keystroke logging tools
Keystroke logging tools allow hackers to see every keystroke used on a machine. Keystroke logger tool malware is often installed undetected, typically with a seemingly harmless or even helpful program. Once running, it records every keystroke used on the device, harvesting passwords and the sites they’re being used on.
There aren’t any huge red flags to alert users that their keystrokes are being logged, but because these tools are typically a form of malware, up-to-date antivirus software should alert and protect your system from it.
Keystroke logging tools can also be physically connected to a machine between the keyboard and computer. A visual inspection will reveal the device and it can be easily removed.
Brute force cryptography software
Brute force cryptography software is used for discovering third-party passwords. The software simply computes every possible character combination in an attempt to crack passwords. First it looks for individual words, then a combination of words together or separated by commonly used characters. After that, it adds a string of numbers to dictionary defined words. It could take anywhere from minutes to years to crack a password, depending on how complicated the password is. It might take years, but theoretically, the software will always work because it has the computing power to try every possible character combination.
The more complicated the passwords you create and the more often you change the up will mean more time before being breached. Another way to combat this software is by feeding it false data, a new method called honey encryption. Honey encryption offers attackers fake data for every incorrect guess; if the correct information is found, it gets lost in the spoof data and can’t be properly deciphered.
Marketers aren’t the only ones to figure out that social networks are a lucrative tool. Cyber criminals are using social networks to target victims and spread malicious links. Because social networks are used for connecting and sharing information, they’re an ideal place for hackers to gather information for targeted attacks.
Be wary of links shared by unknown users, especially if you can’t see where they will direct you. If you are contacted by someone you don’t know, look them up outside of the networking site. And by all means, be careful of how much personal information you share on a social networking site.
With most of the tools in a hacker’s toolbox, to work, there needs to be an element of ignorance on the victim’s end. Sharing information and keeping up to date on threats is an effective defense against cyber criminals. Make sure education is in your toolbox and shared with all employees.