The image above is what I would imagine quite a few people project in their mind’s eye, thanks to Hollywood and 24 hour cable news reports on the subject of hacking.
When one hears the term “hacker”, you may conjure up images of maxed out credit cards, and drained bank accounts. You may think of a dubious apartment complex in a foreign country running some international money laundering scheme. And while this does happen, that should be only part of your concerns.
Hacking takes place for a number of reasons;
Social activism, AKA hacktivists.
This is just a small sample of the reasons you or the company you work for may be targeted. In recent years, attacks against infrastructure has to rise started to rise to the top of the list. A coordinated attack on our electric grid, transportation systems, potable water systems, mass transit, and oil and natural gas transportation systems can have dire consequences.
At one of my previous employers, the subject of security came up one day. There was a discussion between a few software developers and the IT guy about an inquiry on the product that was being manufactured. The inquiry was on the subject of security. I remember the conversation very well. “IT guy laughing says security, we pass data back and forth in an ascii format, who is going to know what the data is? And if they did what are they going to do, change a pressure value, turn off a PID process? Who’s going to hack us? And why?”
I’m sitting at my desk, and not being a part of the conversation, I’m screaming in my head WHO? ANYONE WHO WANTS TO CAUSE MAYHEM!! WHY?!?! BECAUSE THEY CAN!!!
The thing I think a lot of people don’t understand is – ANYONE CAN BE A TARGET AT ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON..
Another belief I think quite a few people have – hacking is done by computer experts. In the past that was mostly true.
Nowadays, hacking can be performed by anyone with an internet connection and a little skill. Your average high school student is more than competent to do some damage.
In fact, you can have a whole tool kit to cause mayhem in a few minutes. All you need is a broadband internet connection, a usb flash drive, and knowledge and software to make the usb flash drive bootable with a .iso image. The last part can be figured out quickly with a search on Google, and some software that automates all the steps.
And Voila, you have yourself a hacking OS That can be ran booted up and ran on the usb flash drive, on just about any pc / laptop.
Kali Linux 2 GUI Menu
Let me introduce you to Kali Linux 2, an OS made for hacking. An OS designed to do nothing but cause grief. And this is just one of many distros and tools out there!
This is why it’s important to listen to your IT department. Those rules that you may find silly serve a very important purpose.
Most hackers gain access to the system through phishing attacks.
That’s why you should be super vigilant, follow the rules, and don’t inadvertently assist those who want to take your money, your livelihood, or your life.