Cyber Hacking: The Computer Underground

19th May 2016 · Kevin Howes

Welcome to the Computer Underground 

Whether you’re a SME or global business, over the last few years, cyber security and hacking has become a huge topic in the security industry but what exactly is a ‘hacker?’

The Computer Underground Players 

In the computer security dimension, a ‘hacker’ can be defined as someone who seeks to exploit weaknesses in a computer network or computer system. Hackers are considered to be extremely talented programmers who can range in motives to attack unsuspecting businesses and individuals. Hackers tend to source out weaknesses in pursuit of financial gain, protest, a challenge or even enjoyment.

Cyber Hacking
Within the security industry, research suggests that the supply of data-stealing products and services is on the rise (*). The availability of services combined with the high skill sets of hackers has enabled a perfect playground for cyber crime. In the last year, there have been over 2.5 million reported cyber crime incidents and one in five victims of cyber crime felt they were specifically targeted by hackers (*).

According to Fortune* there are four types of hackers; Nation States (military and government intelligence), Organized Crime, Hacktivists (political protests) and Insiders (seek to exploit secretive information).

Is your business at risk? 

When it comes to your business or personal accounts, one of the most common threats of cyber crime is e-mail spam. Spam emails currently accounts for 90% of e-mail traffic which can provide a lot of opportunities for hackers.

In terms of larger cyber-attacks, Roger Thomson, the CTO of Exploit Prevention Labs claims that most companies fail to react to the forever changing threat of cyber crimes. Individuals and businesses are thought to think they are protected against hackers by anti-virus software and firewalls, however they need to be patched and run anti-exploit software (*)

How to protect yourself and your business

Be aware of the risks. An understanding and education of hackers and cyber crime can help fight and reduce an organisation or individual’s risk of cyber-attack. Naive staff and individuals can create weaknesses that hackers can pounce on, so by recognising threats and making changes is vital. It’s important to be aware of key bits of information that hackers are looking for, which can include user IDs, passwords and financial documents:

  • Confidential information
  • Accuracy of information
  • Decision making information*

In order to reduce security risk, monitoring can also play a big part in protecting an organisation. This means monitoring what goes in and out of an organisation and keeping up to date with processes.

If you would like to find out more information about hacking and cyber security, please take a look at these articles:

*Fortune – Four Types of Hackers

* – Hacking Poses Threats To Business 

* 25 Million Cyber Crimes Committed in the UK per Year 

* – Is Your Business at Risk From Cyber Attack?