Last updateWed, 13 Dec 2017 8am


The Dangers of Hacking and How to Protect Yourself

Hacking 1With hacking at the forefront of the news lately, is it possible to ever truly be secure on the in¬ternet? For those unaware with hacking, it can be defined as us¬ing a computer to gain unauthor¬ized access to data in a system.

In today’s heavily dependent technological society, it is nearly impossible for hacking to cease any time soon. With websites like WikiLeaks, the Yahoo hack¬ing scandal and television series focused on hacking like “Mr. Robot” – it seems as if we can¬not escape the idea of living in an insecure cyber society.

WikiLeaks is a multinational media organization which spe¬cializes in obtaining persecuted documents. It was founded by Julian Assanger, who started his hacking career as a teen¬ager. Most recently, WikiLeaks has been a popular news topic because of the upcoming presi¬dential election. In March of 2015 it became publicly known that Hillary Clinton had been us¬ing her private email server for official communications, rather than her State Department email account.

The emails were hacked from the accounts of both Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta. FBI director James Comey identified 110 emails containing classified informa¬tion, with 65 being secret, and 22 as top secret, according to USA Today.

Obviously, this came at a time which was right in the middle of her campaign for president. Now, with the upcoming elec¬tion, Clinton is asking the peo¬ple of the United States to put their trust in her, even with all of these scandals behind her.

A senior information technol¬ogy (IT) student Katie Skudera said, “With all of the findings that WikiLeaks uncovered, it’s definitely hard to put my trust in a candidate like Hillary. It’s also scary to me that things like Hill¬ary’s emails are anonymously uncovered. Our cybersecurity isdefinitely at stake.”

Hacking 2Another organization trying to win back its audience’s trust is Yahoo, which is one of the most popular websites used for news and email. It was hacked in 2014, exposing tons of infor¬mation including names, email addresses, phone numbers, secu¬rity questions and answers. Its 1 billion monthly users were urged to change their passwords, and have trust in Yahoo to prevent this from happening again.

Jamie Kretch, a specialist pro¬fessor and Chair of the Computer Science and Software Engineer¬ing department, advised, “It’s re¬ally just about being smart about what you open and don’t open regarding your emails. If you see an email from someone who you should be able to trust, content wise, be smart when reading it. If I see something from a student saying, ‘Isn’t this impressive, Click here!’ I’m going to use my best judgement and not open the email, for it is probably a virus waiting to be opened.”

The hackers were from a for¬eign government which used its military intelligence to breach the system. After the uncover¬ing of this hack, people were left wondering if their accounts were going to be safe again. It also leaves many of us as college students wondering how to pro¬tect our own accounts on various websites. The answer? Cyber¬security specialists say to use a different password for different accounts. Too often we use the same one across the board, mak¬ing it easy for hackers to infil¬trate our information.

Lastly, "Mr. Robot" might be a fictional TV series, but its mes¬sage is too real world to not be taken seriously. The show fol¬lows Elliot Alderson, a cyber¬security engineer. He joins a group of hackers, with their end goal being to erase all debts by attacking a large corporation, E Corp. This show gives insight to the dark and mysterious world of hacking, giving viewers a taste of what hackers actually do for a living and why this is something to be talked about.

Sure, all of this seems too big to ever affect any of us at Monmouth, but that is hardly the truth. Senior computer sci¬ence student Christian Rebelo believed the hacking problem in our country will only continue to worsen.

“Typically most hacking is done through phishing scams. You get an email that seems im¬portant, and you log in. But then when you realize that its not the website you thought, the hack¬ers have already obtained your information,” Rebelo explained. “That’s the part that most people forget about. It’s hard for us to sensor our emails, and know what is real and what is not. We have the trust, essentially in these websites that we don’t even think twice. But again, in today’s society its about think¬ing twice, and being more aware of these issues we’re facing.”

Clinton and her campaign are not the only ones who can fall victim to being hacked. By be¬ing aware of scams and carefully choosing emails to open, as well as creating a plethora of pass¬words, we can ensure that we will not be the next person to be hacked.

IMAGES TAKEN from wonderhowto.com

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