Antonio Brown - page 2

Antonio Brown has 15 articles published.

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

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?

in Hacking
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.

Top 7 Most Notorious Hacker Groups in the World

in Hacking
Hacker Groups

Many of the largest hacks that have occurred were orchestrated not by individuals but by organized hacker groups.

In this article, we take a look at seven of the most notorious hacking groups in the world.

Anonymous

Anonymous has an extensive portfolio of victims from government institutions to multinational companies. It is a decentralized hacking group known most for its hacktivism and Guy Fawkes masks. 

Top on its victim list is the Pentagon, the headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense. Most of the group’s attacks have been backed by a specific reason.

For instance, the group hacked Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal in 2012’s Operation Payback for after they refused to process payments to WikiLeaks. What’s more, Anonymous also jumped into action during Occupy Wall Street by hacking the New York Stock Exchange website.

Lizard Squad

Lizard Squad is another notorious hacker group. This underground organization has claimed responsibility for two major attacks. The first and the biggest of them is their DDOS attack on Facebook, which put the social media network offline. The second was an attack on Malaysia Airlines.

Malaysia Airlines disputed the hack, stating it was as mere redirection of their domain. Another big hacking event involving them is the hack of Microsoft Xbox Live and Sony’s Playstation Network in August 2014.

Authorities made arrests in England and the US after the Sony hack included them placing the ISIS flag on Sony’s server. The Lizard Squad hacker group also claims they took the internet of North Korea down with a DDoS attack.

LulzSec

Lulz Security (LulzSec) came into existence as an Anonymous spinoff after the HBGary Federal hack of 2011. LulzSec has a motto that states “Laughing at your security since 2011.” This hacker group took the CIA site offline.

During its initial years, LulzSec also hacked Fox.com, then Sony Pictures. LulzSec is also known for taunting victims after an attack just like a prank. A statement called the “50 Days of Lulz” announced the break up of the group in June 2011. Nevertheless, the group returned with an attack on the News Corporation in July 2018. 

In 2012, the FBI arrested LulzSec members after the group’s leader, Sabu, turned them in.

Chaos Computer Club (CCC)

Founded in Berlin during the early 1980s, Chaos Computer Club (CCC) is reportedly the largest hacker group in Europe. Chaos Computer Club mainly focuses on testing the security of platforms on the internet and identifying various flaws. 

The landmark of Chaos Computer Club operation was their hack of Hamburg Bank where they took 134,000 Deutsche Mark. They returned the money the next day.

Most importantly, this act made them a more welcomed hacking institution known for stress testing the security infrastructure of online platforms. Discussing the hack with OWNI, early CCC member Andy Müller-Maguhn stated: “We needed a lot of legal experts to advise us what we could or could not hack, and to help us distinguish between legal activities and grey areas of legality”. 

Other interesting exploits of the Chaos Computer Club hacker group include a protest against French nuclear tests, hacking finance apps on live TV via Microsoft’s ActiveX; exploiting the COMP128 encryption algorithm of a GSM customer card, and analyzing the German federal government’s malware.

Syrian Electronic Army

The Syrian Electronic Army is a hacking group that sympathizes with Syria and has shown support for the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The group targets organizations that have shown opposition to the state of Syria.

Attacks from the Syrian Electronic Army make use of spamming, defacement, malware, phishing, and denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Oftentimes, the group leaves the Syrian flag on a victim’s website.

The group has targeted the Facebook and Twitter accounts of President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, technology companies and news outlets. 

Syrian Electronic Army has taken an ironic and jovial tone over the years. For instance, the notorious hacker group tweeted from BBC Weather: “Saudi weather station down due to head on-collision with camel”.

Tarh Andishan

According to Iran, the US and Isreal created a virus called Stuxnet that jeopardized the country’s nuclear power ambitions. After this attack, the Tarh Andishan hacker group sprang up as a response.

The group includes up of 20 members mostly based in Tehran, Iran according to recent estimates. One of its biggest attacks is its series of attacks which gave them access to airline gates and security systems in South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

Iran’s Tarh Andishan uses self-propagating software, systems, backdoors, code injection, and other techniques.

Bureau 121

North Korea is a name you don’t hear often regarding developments on the internet. However, all of that changed after the famous Sony hack in November 2014.

Bureau 121 is a North Korea-based hacking group rumored to be run by their government. According to defectors, military hackers live extravagant lives in North Korea. The government also makes a conscious effort to handpick top students from the “University of Automation.”

The group also operated proxies around the world due to North Korea’s poor internet infrastructure. The attack on Sony in 2014 was a proxy attack. That particular hack cost Sony about $15 million.

Interested in watching how these hacker groups operate? Check out our list of Best Hacker Movies and Documentaries to learn more!

Top 7 Creepiest Dark Web and Deep Web Stories

in Deep Web
Deep Web Stories

The dark web is known for some of the most bizarre finds on the internet. In this article, we will highlight some of the craziest and creepiest dark web and deep web stories that have ever emerged from this hidden part of the world wide web.

Cannibalism – Human Meet Cooking and Selling

As crazy as it sounds, there are people interested in eating human meat. There are also restaurants that cook and sell human meat.

These restaurants will obviously not have their information roaming on the open parts of the internet. Instead, human meat food joints have their locations listed on the dark web.

This dark web story is one that makes you wonder if everything you have seen in the movies is real. Until now cannibalism was attributed to very few remote tribes.

To find out that people are looking for cooked human meat is one of the weirdest deep web stories ever.

Bugchasers (STD Spreaders)

Have you ever heard of people openly claim that they are interested in spreading STDs? There are dark web stories surrounding such people. 

These people are called “bugchasers“. There are several darknet websites that support the idea of spreading STDs. The darknet ensures that these like-minded people get to interact with each other.

HIV, Chlamydia, and Syphilis are the most common STDs among bugchasers who boast about spreading these diseases. For instance, a group of men was injected with HIV positive blood as a way to reach climax during a sex party in 2007.

A lot of dark web forums with scary deep web stories that include numerous accounts of people spreading STDs intentionally.

CreepyPasta Comic

One of the most troubling dark web stories is the CreepyPasta Comic. You might have heard of digital paranormal activity. Thought of it as a myth, this story could change your perception of it.

CreepyPasta Comic is a Korean comic that starts like a normal scary story that gets creepy the more you read it. The author of the deep web comic book designed the website in a way that leads to paranormal activity.

According to people who have read this book, as you move through the pages, a ghost takes control of your mouse. Other paranormal activities have also been experienced by readers of the book.

Bad Self Eater

The end of time is a very popular theme in society. In this dark web story, a social experiment based on the apocalypse goes wrong. 

Bad Self Eater began in 2016 by a man who physically started dropping fake currency notes with fearful things printed on them. These fearful things seemed very real as it fed into conspiracy theories like the Illuminati, end of the world stuff, apocalyptic symbols, and hidden messages.

These notes spread all over with people actively tiring had to get their hands on them sparking more controversy, theories, and meanings. 

All these notes had the “barselfeater.com” URL in common. Upon visiting the site, visitors will be greeted with scary music and a countdown.

Rumors began to spread that the countdown was hinting the apocalypse and the end of the world. The countdown finally ended and none of the expected outcomes happened. Instead, a video appeared on the site of a man educating people on problems related to abortions.

Mariana’s Web

This is one of the most uncertain dark web stories out there. Mariana Web is a supposed hidden site with information on secrets about the earth.

The site is named after Mariana’s Trench, the deepest point on earth because Mariana’s web is buried very deep even on the deep web. It is believed that this site exists even though there is very little evidence to show that.

The site is reported to contain information about communication with other life forms, the location Atlantis, and a subset of the internet used extra-terrestrial beings to monitor us.

Human Experiment

Conducting an experiment on human beings is wrong by all standards. Yet, there are dark web stories that include such activity.

Human experiments have been conducted by some of the most sadistic people to walk this planet. Adolf Hitler, for example, had an entire department for experimenting on human beings.

Some people on the dark web can also be mentioned in the same conversation as Hitler as they seek to do exactly the same.

There are supposedly many websites on the darknet that invite people to participate in human experimentation. These disturbing ads target orphans and kidnapped people.

As crazy as it may sound these sites exist. Fortunately, however, many of these sites have been taken down by the authorities.

Anonymous $255,000 Job

Some deep web stories have very few incentives to attract people but this particular one promises people $255,000.

Aside from the fact that being a job listing on the dark web makes this a scary offer, the job description is extremely ambiguous offering only the points listed below as what is needed for the job.

  • Combat experience
  • 6 months on a ship
  • No communication with the outside world
  • $255k is the total payment for 6 months

A quarter of a million is a lot of money. Yet, the job description and situations surrounding the job listing makes it sound very dangerous.

From the deep web stories above it is very obvious that the dark web is not a safe place. You should be very careful when you access the dark web. You don’t want to become part of such horror stories.

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