Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown has 12 articles published.

Antonio is a freelance contributor who primarily writes about crypto-technologies and the internet. Antonio Brown is a pseudonym.

Hacker for Hire: How to Hire a Professional Hacker in 2020

in Hacking
Hacker for Hire

Companies hire hackers to strengthen their IT security. Due to the nature of the hacking profession, finding a hacker for hire can be a daunting task.

In this article, you will learn how to hire a professional hacker for your company without having to search the depths of the dark web.

What is Hacking?

Before you hire a hacker, you will have to understand what exactly they do. Hackers are individuals who identify and exploit the weakness of digital systems to compromise them.

Hacking as a skill may be for negative or positive reasons. Despite the popular notion that hacking is mostly for malicious purposes, companies hire hackers to boost their cybersecurity.

The significant difference in hackers can be identified between black hat hackers and white hat hackers. Black hat hackers infiltrate computers through devious means, steal information, and usually leave networks infected with viruses. Conversely, white hat hackers work with companies to find potential exploits in their systems to prevent other hackers from taking advantage of them.

If you are hiring hackers for your company, you will then be looking for ethical hackers. So, how do you hire a professional hacker? 

How to Hire A Hacker

professional hacker

You can hire a hacker without visiting the dark web where most people assume they lurk. Currently, there are many professional hackers available for hire. Most top of the line ethical hackers have the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification.

Before you hire a hacker, you will have to put together guidelines for your new employee. You have to be clear on what exactly you want to achieve by hiring a hacker. 

Firstly, you should verify the background of the hacker to confirm that they are indeed ethical hackers. This is to prevent a possible scenario where you hire a security professional who doesn’t have the companies interest as a priority.

Secondly, based on the task at hand, you may need a hacker with more experience in a particular field like penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, or security protocols.

An interview should help you assess the skill set of the potential hacker by asking essential questions like, “What type of hacking are you best at?”, “Do we require an external penetration test?” or “Do we need an application security review?”

Aside from hiring hackers to work on your product directly, you can also hire them as security analysts or consultants to supplement your existing security team.

Further, the terms of the agreement between yourself and the newly hired hacker must be well stipulated to prevent complications moving forward.

How Much Should It Cost?

The amount of money you pay for a hacker depends on the nature of work and duration for which the work will be done.

For as low as $5, you could hire a hacker on the popular freelance website like Fiverr. However, research conducted by INFOSEC suggests that the average annual salary of an ethical hacker is $71,331.

This number may seem high, but considering the frequency of data breaches and its impact on online businesses, ethical hackers deserve their paychecks.

For instance, the average data breach in 2018 led to a loss of over $3.8 million. This trend has led to more projects hiring hackers in recent times.

In case you are working on a low budget or lack the approval to hire a professional hacker, you may employ a penetration tester to help you secure your online systems. 

Where to Find Professional Hackers For Hire

There are several platforms where you can find professional hackers to improve your cybersecurity. Here is a list of such platforms:

Dedicated Ethical Hacking Groups

Also, some cybersecurity solution companies provide hacking services in addition to other services.

Freelance Sites to Find Hackers

Hiring Black Hat Hackers

hire a hacker

Hiring a black hat hacker to gain access to an individual or company’s computer system is a crime, and this publication does not condone criminal behavior.

However, the reality is that this is a more common occurrence than you may expect. Most individuals and companies that hire black hat hackers find them on the dark web. Interestingly enough, some black hat hackers have come out of hiding on the dark web into the open to accept gigs.

Some website provides access to hackers that perform questionable and unethical activities such as gaining unapproved access to email accounts or mobile phones and distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks.

Law enforcement agencies are also clamping down on these sites to protect internet users. For example, the U.S Department of Justice shut down 15 domains that were selling DDOS attacks in 2018. The FBI has also introduced measures to prosecute black hat hackers as well as the individuals who purchase their services.

Final Thoughts

The demand for ethical hackers is in high demand. As a result, ethical hacking will become an increasingly profitable career in the future.

Check out our article on Top 10 Best Hacking Books for Ethical Hackers in 2020 to learn more about how to become a professional hacker.

Top 5 Privacy Tools You Can Use To Protect Yourself Online

in Features/Privacy
Privacy Tools

In 2020, privacy tools are more important than ever.

The status quo of digital privacy continues to deteriorate due to the increase in demand for user data, an essential part of the monetization practices of big tech firms. The rush for user data means that every single activity online is being tracked and monitored to serve you with personalized ads.

In this guide, you will find a range of privacy tools and applications that can help you to protect yourself in today’s digital world. We have split them into five groups.

Privacy Browsers

Privacy browsers offer advanced privacy options beyond just incognito or private modes provided by mainstream browsers. Here are some privacy browsers you may want to try:

Tor

The Tor protocol is an important and unique tool for people who value their privacy. Tor is an open-source onion router that has been in existence since 1990.

It was initially built by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to protect U.S. intelligence communications on the internet. It later got released to the public as the Tor project, which includes the Tor Browser and Tor Software.

Tor protects you from traffic analysis. This tracking technique is used to monitor your path on the internet to track your interest and behavior online.

You can access Tor through the Tor browser, which is a multi-purpose application that gives you a direct connection to the Tor network without third party applications.

Brave

Brave is an open-source browser with high-level ad-tracking controls. The development team behind brave is active and releases updates frequently.

Currently, Brave blocks cookies, ads, and adds https connections to all sites you visit. What’s more, Brave also includes cryptocurrency reward options, which makes it different from other privacy browsers.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

privacy applications

Arguably, the most popular way of protecting your IP is through a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs create encryption on your device that hides your IP address when you visit a web site.

This method is not always entirely secure as some VPN service providers keep logs of sites you visit as well as your IP address.

VPNs can be free or paid. Thankfully, paid VPN options are not very expensive, with lots of options to choose from.

Here are VPNs you could try out:

Encrypted Communication 

The usage of unencrypted email and instant platforms compromises your privacy. Service providers in this sector also scan messages for content that predicts user behavior and interests.

Consequently, your messages on most platforms are not entirely private and may get into the hands of bad actors. To ensure safer communication on the internet, privacy tools like Signal and ProtonMail are useful.

Signal

Signal is a mobile messaging platform known for its privacy features. Unlike most messaging applications that require you to enable secret/encrypted chat to have private conversations, Signal is encrypted by default.

The platform also introduced the cryptography tool used in most messaging platforms for disappearing messages; a feature Signal has had for a while.

Further, Signal is lightweight and has always stood its ground when pushed by pressure groups to give out user data.

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is a private email service provider that allows you to send emails in an encrypted environment.

Moreover, ProtonMail allows you to set up an account without giving away any personal information. The email platform is available on the web, iOS, and Android.

Privacy Search Engines

Privacy search engines allow you to find information on the web without tracking. If you already have a VPN, you might not need a privacy search engine. Some of these search engines provide great privacy tools for free.

Some of the best privacy search engines include:

StartPage

For a long while, StartPage was the default search engine on the Tor browser. StartPage shows search results based on the results from more than one traditional search engine.

Also, StartPage comes with a feature called Anonymous View. This allows you to visit websites you find via the search engine in a private window that blocks cookies and ads.

DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is the more popular among the two privacy search engines in this list. You can search for information without tracking from big names like Google and Yahoo by using DuckDuckGo.

The quality of search results is still maintained because results on DuckDuckGo are obtained based on Google’s search results. DuckDuckGo also ensures that most connections you make with websites are encrypted.

Password Managers

Finally, password managers allow you to create secure accounts across the internet. A protected account means less possibility of hacks and information leaks. This utility makes password managers good privacy tools.

A password manager stores all your important information from usernames and passwords to bank details and loyalty schemes. These applications also auto-fill forms on your behalf, provided you have already saved the information.

Here are some of the best password managers

If you want to learn more about digital privacy, check out our guide “How to Protect Your Privacy Online in 2020”.

You Found Your Email on a Dark Web Database: Now What?

in Deep Web
email found on dark web

Snap! You just found out your email is on the dark web. 

How did your email end up on the dark web? One of your favorite platforms could have been hacked and you were affected. Alternatively, you could have fallen for a phishing scheme that managed to capture your data.

The first thing that people do when they find their email on the dark web is to panic. You first have to ascertain the severity of the issue, before you make calls to the bank or start deleting accounts. 

In most cases, having your email merely on the dark web is not a problem just because it is there. In this case, your email is now an email that can be seen publicly.

The issue lies in the possible scenarios that may follow after your email lands on the dark web. With your information on the unsafest part of the internet, your identity could be related to a lot of activities that might put you at risk.

Hackers and scammers crawl the dark web frequently to find new user data to target. Even though finding your email on the dark web looks harmless initially, it might become something you never expected.

At this point, you need to act quickly to secure yourself and data. 

Scan Your Device and Applications

is my email on the dark web

You must understand the potential loopholes on your device and applications that may be leaking your data. This is crucial to prevent a similar situation in the future and stop more data from being leaked.

A virus scan on your device to check for any existing malicious software that may be stealing your data is needed. Malware can monitor your activity, log your keystrokes, and steal your passwords. 

If you find any suspicious files or apps that may be in this category, you have to remove them and change your login information instantly.

Once you are done checking for malware, you can then move ahead to the other measures you need to take.

Change Your Passwords, Make Them Strong

It would be best if you changed the password of your email as soon as it ends up on the dark web. Changing your password is essential because most emails on the dark web become targets for hackers or scammers.

Further, your email also gets marked for phishing attacks. It gets difficult for hackers to succeed in taking over your email when you change your password. 

There is a catch to this. You will need a strong password to ensure the total safety of your email. Here are some tips to follow.

  • Your password must be lengthy. (8 words +)
  • Don’t use your name or real words
  • Combine lowercase and uppercase letters
  • Add symbols and numbers

Beyond the email in question, you should also update the password of other applications you have used the email for.

Add Extra Security

After changing your passwords, you should also consider adding extra protection to your email.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a verification method that requires an additional piece of evidence for authentication.

2FA can be set up to send a code to your mobile number to verify all new sign-ins. In case your password gets compromised, the hacker will still have to enter your 2FA code to access the account.

Get A Second Email

Your primary email contains a lot of sensitive information that must be protected. To avoid sharing this email on several platforms, you should consider a secondary email.

This is an optional step, but one you should consider. You can jump on any of the email service providers to get a new email for random sites you visit that require your email.

Check Your Financial Apps

Finally, you should check your financial accounts when you find your email on the dark web. You might not have lost any funds because your email is out on the wild, but its good practice to ensure you are safe.

Check your accounts for mysterious transactions you did not make by yourself. You should also set up alerts for your financial accounts just in case hackers attempt to steal from you later on.

If you are not comfortable using your account just as it is after your email is found on the deep web, you can visit your bank to change your passcodes and other verification requirements. 

Am I Completely Safe Now?

You are certainly safer than you were before taking these steps. If you stay away from unreliable and suspicious sites, you will most likely not end up in this situation in the future.

However, large scale data leaks – that include your email address and/or login information – are always a possibility.

What is Ethical Hacking? A Beginner’s Guide

in Hacking
Ethical Hacker

Hacking is usually perceived to be a harmful activity based on the fact that most hacking exploits that make the news are negative. Contrary to the image the media paints about hackers, there is also ethical hacking.

Ethical hacking is a term used to describe the process of identifying potential threats on a system by hacking it. The person who does this is called an ethical hacker.

Most importantly, ethical hackers seek to understand security problems that exist with technologies to prevent exploitation by malicious hackers. 

What is ethical hacking

This type of hacking takes different forms from system hacking, web application hacking, and web server hacking to hacking wireless networks, and social engineering.

Although ethical hackers do not have the same intention as malicious hackers, they still have to think like them. This thought process allows them to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited by other hackers.

Your hacking activity is ethical if it follows these principles:

  • Permission: Ethical hackers always seek authorization before conducting penetration tests.
  • Respect for privacy: Ethical hackers respect the privacy of individuals on a platform and the company behind the platform.
  • Ethical hackers close loopholes found during their test to prevent other hackers from taking advantage of them.
  • Finally, ethical hacking requires you to inform software developers of the cracks you found in their code to help them improve their platform.

Ethical hackers usually check for changes in sensitive data, data breaches, and injection attacks.

How Can You Become An Ethical Hacker?

Anyone can become an ethical hacker, provided you have the required skills. Ethical hacking is a viable job in the information and communication sector.

To become an ethical hacker, you need to have programming knowledge, scripting knowledge, networking skills, database knowledge, and a professional level of proficiency in the use of various operating systems.

Famous Ethical Hackers

Joanna Rutkowska

Rutkowska is a cybersecurity researcher from Poland. She has built an operating system called Qubes OS, which focuses on user security.

Her ethical hacking presentation in 2006 made her popular in hacking circles. She demonstrated the vulnerabilities in the Visa kernel during her presentation at the black hat briefing conference.

She went ahead to give more presentations on hardware security loopholes, including an attack that targeted Intel Systems. Joana Ruthkowska has become a significant feature at several cybersecurity conferences worldwide.

Charlie Miller

Popularly known as one of the few hackers to kill the myth that Apple devices are secure, Miller has been exposing vulnerabilities in Apple products since 2007.

In 2008, he won the Pwn2Own contest in Vancouver. Charles Miller was the first to locate a critical MacBook Air bug at the hackathon. 

In addition, he also discovered a bug the following year connected to the Safari browser. He won $10,000 and $5,000 respectively for his ethical hacking exploits in those two years.

Mark Abene

Phiber Optik, real name Mark Abene, is a famous ethical hacker who pioneered changing the perception of white hat hackers. Optik was a prolific hacker in the late 80s and 90s.

Moreover, he debated and defended the definite advantages of hacking as an essential tool for the ever-growing tech industry. Optik worked for UBS, First USA, KPMG, and American Express.

Check out the Top 10 Best Hacking Books for Ethical Hackers in 2020 to understand what it takes to become an ethical hacker.

What Are Warez Sites?

in Hacking
Warez

Warez sites are online platforms where you can download pirated software. Additionally, they also provide scripts and trojans for gaining unauthorized entry into systems.

The word warez (W4r3z) is the plural representation of the word “ware” (computer ware). Warez sites copy software and make them available to all. Hackers crack and remove codes that protect software products to open it up to users who can’t access it.

Pirated computer software has become extremely popular for various reasons. Some software is expensive, making it difficult for some users to afford it. Additionally, people patronize pirated content because of regional availability issues. Certain software products are not available in some countries, which makes it impossible for users to access it legally.

Early Day Warez Sites

In the late 90s, warez sites began to spring up due to the increase in media on the internet. The biggest warez site scandal was with Napster, an audio downloading platform.

Napster was built by Shawn Fanning for himself and friends to trade mp3 files over the internet. Later, the number of files on the site and users increased, making it one of the most popular file download sites then.

As of February 2001, Napster had 80 million users per month. In July 2000, Metallica accused Napster of copyright infringement. In a case that lasted for about a year, Napster reached a settlement with Metallica.

Moving forward, more warez sites paid attention to copyright issues. Nevertheless, there are still several warez places that don’t regard copyright issues, especially on the dark web.

Due to the nature of warez sites, it’s essential to take measures to safeguard your privacy before visiting them. Some of these sites include dangerous pop-ups and background code that track your activities online or may cause your device to be compromised.

Currently, most warez sites rely on ads to generate revenue. In recent times, Google Ads has banned such sites, causing their revue to drop.

Are Warez Sites Illegal?

Warez sites
A Warez Seach Engine

The legality of warez sites differs from country to country. It is crucial for you to check the laws in your jurisdiction should you decide to use a warez site.

Based on general copyright conventions, running a warez site is seen as a form of copyright infringement punishable by law as a crime. For instance, several site owners have been prosecuted and convicted for trade-in warez products.

However, some countries do not prosecute site owners and even encourage such sites. For example, Iran doesn’t forbid people from running warez sites in the country. Microsoft has been used illegally in the country, according to records from 2004.

There is really no need to access these sites unless you are up to something. As a result, we would not recommend that you visit any. Not only could you easily catch malware but you are also likely going to break the law by downloading a file.

Top 3 Best Hacking Simulator Programs

in Hacking
hacking simulator
Image by GeekPrank

Hacking simulator games or programs create a demo environment for you to learn and test hacking skills. Hacker simulator programs are great for aspiring hackers who want to acquire technical skills in an intuitive manner. 

There are several hacking simulators with a focus on hacking techniques and the use of principles of hacking. Beyond just learning how to hack individually, some of these hacker simulator programs hold annual competitions where you could even win money.

In this guide, you will find three of the best hacking simulators you can find in 2020.

NITE Team 4

Nite Team 4 is a hacker simulator game that is built around the theme of a hacking training booth camp. The text-based puzzle-like gameplay incorporates real-life cybersecurity skills like forensics, exploit research attacks, port scanning, and data gathering. 

In this game, you play the role of a hacker who completes puzzles to get the information needed to complete tasks and progress to the next stage. What’s more, you can also play in multiplayer mode where you partner with other players to solve more complex tasks. 

Further, the game operates competitions around real-world scenarios, which require a lot of effort to crack. Players that perform well in these missions win bounties and earn higher spots on the platform’s ranking list.

There are about 25 certificates to earn by playing this game.

Hack The Box

Hack the Box is a web-based hacker simulator. It is a platform where you can check your hack penetration testing skills. Also, the platform’s vast catalog of experienced hackers makes it a fantastic community to learn.

hacker simulator

Various levels of difficulty are built around real-life activities and are frequently updated to express the ever-changing nature of the hacking world.

Before you start the game, you will have to get an invite code that you can attain through a task that requires you to use your hacking skills. If you are unable to hack the code, you won’t be able to use the hacking simulator platform.

You start the game as a hacker trying to penetrate various machines. The more devices you hack, the more points you gain to increase your Hack the Box rank.

Bandit

Unlike most of the hacker simulator platforms mentioned on this list, Bandit is one for absolute beginners. If you just started learning or you now want to learn, Bandit is a good simulator to try out.

You start the game by completing straightforward hacking tasks. The more tasks you complete, the more levels you unlock. There are a total of 34 levels for you to get through. Finally, despite its fundamental nature, the higher levels come with more complications and require you to up your hacking skills. 

Other great hacking simulator platforms you can try out include Uplink, Hackmud, and Hacknet. Alternatively, you can try pranking your mum using GeekPrank, which simulates movie-style hacking on your screen.

If you want to learn more about hacking, check out our guide on how to become a hacker.

WiFi Hacking: How to Protect Yourself in a Public WiFi Network

in Hacking
wifi hacking

Public WiFi networks are popular among tourists, business travelers, and pretty much anyone working out of a café. However, using a public internet connection can make you a potential victim of WiFi hacking.

In this article, we will look at the best ways to protect yourself in a public network. 

What is WiFi Hacking?

Wifi hackers scan IP addresses in a network and choose addresses to attack. Their attacks can take different forms, including a type where the hacker intercepts information traveling from one point to another on the same network.

Wifi hacking can also result in the installation of malware on your device. Hackers may exploit loopholes in networks to upload malware, which can affect all devices connected to it.

Here is how you can protect yourself:

Use HTTPS Sites Only

WiFi hackers attempt to collect data through the connections between sites you visit and the network. It is more straightforward for them to achieve this on HTTP networks because they are less secure.

To protect yourself from such exploits, you must use only sites secured with HTTPS connections. Most browsers, including Firefox and Chrome, tag sites that use unencrypted HTTP connections as “Not Secure.”

Only Connect to Encrypted Networks

Unencrypted WiFi networks are more likely to suffer attacks compared to their encrypted counterparts. In most cases, if a network requires a password for you to log in, it is encrypted.

You should also check the kind of encryption used by the network by checking its configuration. WPA2 is secure and trusted by industry standards. WPA or WEP encrypted networks are often not reliable.

Change File Sharing Settings

hacking wifi

It’s easier to have open sharing settings at home to allow seamless movement of data between your various devices. In cases where you connect to public WiFi networks, it can be very harmful to your device. Other users connected to the same network can gain access to your device through your open settings. 

To avoid this, you must ensure that you have changed your filesharing settings to limit access to other people on the same network. 

If you use a Windows device, open your “Control Panel,” then navigate to “Network and Internet.” After, browse to “Network and Sharing Center,” then click “Change Advanced Sharing Settings.”

Now you also have to disable printer and file sharing. What’s more, turn off network discovery and Public folder sharing.

For Mac users, go to System Preferences, then Sharing, and unselect everything. Further, you should also turn off network discovery, which prevents others connected to the network from seeing you.

You also have to tweak your Airdrop settings. Open Finder, click on Airdrop and pick Allow me to be discovered by No One. You can do the same on iOS by switching off Airdrop at Control Center.

After these steps, no one will be able to send you malicious files or steal files from your device. 

Read the Terms & Conditions

Several public WiFi networks come with terms and conditions. You must check these terms to ensure that there are no loopholes that could be utilized by WiFi hackers. 

Most terms and conditions are attached to protect the WiFi provider and usually have no malicious intent. Nevertheless, you should still look through it to be very sure. 

Enable Firewall

Enabling your firewall will prevent unapproved external access to your machine. Also, the firewall protects you from some types of data-based malware.

Even though activating a firewall may be annoying, it is crucial if you choose to use a public network. To make sure you are fully secured, you should also consider a powerful antimalware/antivirus application to run alongside a firewall. 

Avoid Revealing Sensitive Data

If you connect to an open WiFi network, you must avoid disclosing delicate data to stay safe.

For instance, if the sign-in page for the system asks for a lot of sensitive data, you shouldn’t sign in at all.

Personal data, like full name, home or work address, mobile number, and email address, are not necessary for signing up for a public WiFi network. If you have to use such networks, it is best practice that you don’t enter your primary number and email.

A WiFi hacker could sell the collected data on networks like these on the dark web

What’s more, you should refrain from accessing sites that contain sensitive information when connected to a public WiFi network. Avoid visiting sites like cryptocurrency exchanges, online payment platforms, and bank accounts. You should also avoid logging into social media or email accounts.

Accessing any online portal that may leak your personal information could be harmful to you, especially if you are not using a VPN.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

wifi hacker

Installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the most secure ways to use a public WiFi network. VPNs encrypt data moving to and from your device. The VPN connects you to a secure server, making it difficult for other users on the system to track you and steal your data.

In short, if WiFi hackers attempt to see what you are doing on the web by analyzing your data history, they will see nothing because of your VPN connection.

A VPN will keep you safe even if the entire public network gets hacked. If you intend to use open WiFi networks often, you should consider investing in VPN services.

The ultimate way to stay safe from public WiFi network hacks is to abstain from using them when possible. You should invest in big or unlimited data plans so that you can use your mobile hotspot instead.

If you still have to sign up, do that with a few networks as possible. The more networks you sign up to, the higher the chance of your device getting compromised. 

Is Hacking Illegal? Yes and No!

in Hacking
Is Hacking Illegal

“Is hacking illegal?” People often ask this question when they hear about hacking since it is mostly seen as a negative action.

In this article, we explore the legal implications of hacking based on global legal principles. The first thing everyone will want to know is, is hacking illegal? The answer is yes and no.

The answer is both affirmative and negative depending on the kind of hacking activity in question. Hacking is a very broad area that includes several activities that are either legal or illegal.

Hacking for research purposes, to find a bug or test the strength of a network with permission have no legal implications. On the other hand, hacking as part of organized crime or for political purposes will usually incur legal punishment.

Black vs White Hat Hackers

is hacking illegal

When looking at the legality of hacking, the two main divisions of hackers come to mind: black and white hat hackers.

Black hat hackers are individuals or groups that disregard ethics. They gain unauthorized access to computer systems and use it for financial gain and malicious intents.

Acts like hacking a company or a person without their permission are viewed as an offense under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 in the United Kingdom and the General Data Protection Regulation by the EU. 

A classic example of a black hat hacker who got into trouble with law enforcement for his actions is, Daniel Kaye. Kaye attacked a Liberian phone operator in October 2015, causing the nation’s internet to go down. The British hacker is now serving a three-year term in prison as a result of his actions. 

White hat hackers are on the good side of the law. They respect ethics and the global view of what is right. Due to this, their actions support organizations in making the security of their computer systems more robust. 

Nevertheless, white hat hackers can still get into trouble with the law. In 2017, an 18-year old ethical hacker was arrested after he had discovered a bug and reported it to authorities. 

In the middle of black and white hat hackers are grey hat hackers who do not believe in ethics but usually hack with good intentions. Hackers that fall in this category stand a higher risk of facing legal repercussions than white hat hackers. 

Punishment For Hacking

The punishment for crimes related to hacking differs depending on the severity and the extent of the violation.

In the US, obtaining national security information will put you behind bars for ten years while trafficking in passwords will land you a one-year jail term for your first conviction.

To conclude, hacking is illegal when a computer system or information is being accessed without permission. With written permission of the owner of a computer system, (white hat) hacking is generally legal. However, the exact legal framework surrounding hacking differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

How to Remove a Hacker from Your Phone

in Hacking
how to remove a hacker from your phone

Your smartphone is an essential part of your life and contains sensitive information about you. The delicate nature of your phone makes it a prime target for hackers.

In this article, we will explain how to remove a hacker from your phone and how to prevent it from happening in the future. 

What is Phone Hacking?

Phone hacking generally involves spyware like applications or websites that steal information such as passwords and credentials from your mobile device.

These hacks take different shapes and forms. For instance, in 2016, over two million Android phones were infected with malware that was using internet bandwidth in a botnet to exploit phones. 

Furthermore, 25 million Android users were affected by a malware attack that got onto their phones through the downloading of unofficial WhatsApp applications early this year. 

From the examples above, it might seem to some readers that only Android devices are at risk of suffering from phone hacking. This is a popular myth shared online.

iPhones are also at risk of getting hacked even though it hardly happens. This is due to Apple’s strict guidelines for accepting applications on the App Store. Most Android users suffer from phone hacks because they download applications from third-party sources.

How to Identify if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

In most cases, a hacked phone begins to operate slower and runs out of battery quicker. These symptoms, even though synonymous with hacked phones, do not necessarily mean your phone has been hacked. They may also be signs that you have to clean up your storage.

To clarify, you can go through these steps to check and remove a hacker from your phone.

1. Go Through Your Apps

Firstly, go through the applications downloaded on your device to see if there are any applications you don’t recall downloading. If you find any, it is a major red flag that indicates that your phone might be hacked. 

how to remove a hacker from my phone

Most of these hacks that take this form do not target just one user but the masses, in a way to steal important information from several mobile users. For example, the BankBot malware is a Trojan that displayed a phishing screen on several Android devices to steal banking credentials. 

What’s more, some categories of applications are highly known for being compromised. A lot of battery-saver and flashlight applications are frequently used as vessels for attacking Android users. When you suspect that your device is being hacked, check for applications like these as they might be the cause.

If you notice these applications on your phone, you should delete them immediately and find the source application which installed the unidentifiable apps on your device. 

In several cases, most users notice a difference in performance after they uninstall these applications. 

2. Review Your Phone Bill

Not all phone hacks are tied to mobile applications. In certain instances, these hacks affect the charges you pay to your network carrier. 

If you begin to notice that you are sending messages from your phone that you don’t recall sending, it is time to investigate the possibility of a hack. 

You have probably been infected by malware that requires your phone to send or receive texts that produce profits for cybercriminals. To prevent your phone from receiving such messages, you must first text “STOP” to the number. Secondly, you should call your network carrier to block the number for you. 

You should also check to see if you have downloaded any third-party messaging apps recently. These apps may be the reason why you are sending or receiving such texts.

3. Clicked Links

While surfing the internet, certain pop-up ads or hidden links can open up our mobile phones for an attack. Several free download sites are filled with links that hackers use as gateways to attack your phone. 

Likewise, some of these links disguise themselves as anti-virus software alerting you that your phone is hacked and you should take immediate action by clicking the link.

If you remember clicking any link of that sort, you should check it out and delete them. 

4. Public WiFi

Public WiFi is another method hackers use to gain access to your mobile device. Based on research by Kaspersky Lab, 1 in 4 open public hotspots are unsecured. In worse case scenarios, some private WiFi networks in public places are traps to gain access to your mobile phone.

If you connect to public WiFi and begin to realize any symptoms described in this article, you should immediately disconnect from the network.

How to Remove A Hacker From Your Phone

If you are still having issues removing a hacker from your phone, then it is time for more drastic solutions.

Here are two steps to take to remove a hacker from your phone.

1. Run A Scan

You will have to download a trusted anti-virus application to run a scan on your device to identify malicious software. On Android devices, it relatively easier to be affected by spyware that can only be detected by ant-virus applications.

iOS devices are mostly protected unless you jailbreak your iPhone. You might not have done this yourself but someone else might have done it for you. 

To check if your iPhone is intact or not, you can download applications like Sophos to scan your device. 

2. Factory Reset Your Device

If, after running the scan and deleting the malicious files found, you still have problems with your device, you will have to remove a hacker from your phone.

Here is how to perform a factory reset on Android or iOS:

Android: Settings > System > (Advanced) > Reset options > Erase all data

iOS: Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings

Moving forward, even if you do not see these symptoms, you should regularly scan through your device. This is to ensure that your phone has not been compromised by a hacker. 

What is a Grey Hat Hacker?

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grey hat hacker

A grey hat hacker (also spelled gray hat) is a hacker or cybersecurity professional who violates laws or common ethical standards but without malicious intent.

If a black hat hacker discovers a vulnerability, he will exploit it and cause harm to others. On the other hand, a grey hat hacker will usually exploit the vulnerability to find a fix or alert the makers of the software.

The term, “grey hat” and its direct opposite “black hat” became popular in the late 1990s. The term was first used on record by DEFCON. The biggest hackers convention used the term in 1996 when it announced a Black Hat Briefings.

The color grey, in this case, is a middle ground between black and white. White hat hackers also exist and are considered ethical. In a world of black and white, hackers who find themselves in the middle are identified by the color grey.

Grey hat hackers explore the internet and hack various computer systems. However, he or she discloses loopholes to intelligence agencies, law enforcement or the affected corporations.

In some cases, a grey hat will charge a company a fee to help fix a vulnerability they have noticed. In such situations, the vulnerability could be extremely harmful to the platform in question. 

Top 5 Grey Hat Hackers

Here are some of the most known grey hat hackers who were motivated by varying reasons including profit and the quest to show the weakness in various computer systems.

what is a grey hat hacker

Gary McKinnon

McKinnon is known to be a very skillful hacker who was well versed in computer-related practices as young as age 14. His biggest exploit as a grey hacker involved the American Military.

McKinnon hacked 97 American military networks and left a “your security is crap” message on their network. 

Kelvin Poulson

Poulson, on the other hand, did it for recognition. He was known as Dark Dante at age 20.

He hacked into the LA phone networks to win an award on a radio show. Poulson also went as far as hacking the phone calls of “Hollywood Starlet” to prove his skills.

Anonymous

Anonymous is a very popular hacking group that is known for its various stance on global issues.

The group often hacks into networks of governmental organizations and influential websites to air their views on issues that interest them. 

Kevin Mitnick

Mitnick is another renowned grey hat hacker who began his exploits at an early age. He was reported to have made free calls using his hacked mobile phone and stole secret codes from Sun Microsystems and Novell during childhood. 

What’s more, he claims to have hacked phone calls of the NSA (National Security Agency).

“{}” 

A hacking group known as “{}”  hacked Apache.org in 2000. Instead of exploiting the loophole, the team sent an alert to the Apache crew to fix the problem. 

Despite their unethical stance, grey hat hackers are very important in strengthening the security of various networks. These hackers take bold steps to stress test various computer systems. Since they don’t pose any major danger, their work brings better results in the end.

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