Hacking

How Do You Know If Someone Is Watching You Through Your Phone?

in Hacking/Privacy
how do you know if someone is watching you through your phone

The unfortunate reality is that your phone camera can be accessed and switched on without your consent. How do you know if someone is watching you through your phone? Find out in this article!

How Do I Know If Someone Is Watching?

It is not easy finding out if someone can see you through your phone camera. The methods used to hack your phone to install spyware are not easily discovered. It takes specialized software applications to detect spyware on devices.

However, there are a few things you should look out for.

1. Your Camera Is Acting Weird

If, for some reason, your camera is acting out of the ordinary, that may be a red flag.  

Things that show your camera has been compromised include sudden photographs in your camera app you did not take yourself. Further, your camera app appears in recent apps even though you have not opened it.

The camera is very sensitive since it works hand-in-hand with built-in microphones and speakers on your phone. Access to your camera by hackers makes it easier for someone to watch you through your phone.

2. Strange Files

can someone see you through your phone camera

Beyond identifying unexpected videos and images among the files on your phone, other strange files signify a compromise. If you see files with unusual extensions you did not install yourself, you should be alert.

You should always check out for files you did not create since hackers need to install software on your device to make their work easier. 

For instance, an app on the ethical hacking platform Kali, called Metasploit, uses Adobe Reader 9 (a very popular document reader) to gain access to devices. 

The hackers behind the program found a way to exploit file installation loopholes to have remote access to devices. 

Hackers can use this method to steal documents, photos, and videos, and upload incriminating content to your device. Always delete strange files as soon as you identify them on your phone.

3. Apps Running in the Background

In some cases, malware is attached to regular looking applications. 

This has happened more frequently on Android devices as bad actors have managed to slip bad applications into the Google Play Store. Also, don’t download apps from unsecured or random websites.

When you identify apps running in the background for no reason, it might be a sign that someone is watching you through your phone.

Apps in the background are also characterized by sluggish device performance, high data usage, mysterious pop-ups, and a decrease in battery life.

Now that you have identified what to look out for, the next step will be what to do to prevent someone from watching you through your phone. 

How to Prevent Someone From Watching You

someone is watching you through your phone

The best solution to preventing phone spies will be to stay away from all applications you are not sure of. However, you cannot be too careful since these attacks evolve frequently.

Here are some ways you can prevent someone from watching you through your phone.

Scan Frequently

It is best practice to scan your device regularly to check for potential compromise or unknown software. For things like this, a manual scan will not be enough.

You will need specialized software like antivirus applications to detect spyware. You should also note that some applications that claim to be antivirus software are spyware themselves. Only use apps that have been reviewed and verified by industry experts.

Check App Permissions Frequently

App permissions have been prioritized by the most popular mobile operating systems, Android, and iOS. These permissions are displayed before you download the app or right before the app is about to use it.

Sometimes app permissions that have been granted in the past are used by applications to track you through your phone. Permissions like access to the camera and location can be used in the background by apps for tracking.

To prevent this, you should reduce permissions granted to apps you do not use frequently. Also, you can disable permissions for apps when you are not actively using them.

In conclusion, it will be very difficult for hackers to gain access to your device if you take your cybersecurity seriously. In the event that the unfortunate happens, being alert will help you detect any changes on your phone. 

Finally, putting small stickers on your phone’s camera lenses is a simple and cheap way to prevent anyone from looking at you through your phone’s camera.

OnlyFans Hack: Did the Popular New Platform Get Compromised?

in Hacking
OnlyFans

OnlyFans has become one of the most popular sources of adult content, and just like other sites in the space, it might have suffered a breach. The reported OnlyFans hack is not close to other major adult site hacks like Ashley Madison or WifeLovers. However, it entrenches the narrative that these sites are major targets for hackers and need to work on their security.

In this article, we look into the OnlyFans hack claims and what that means for users.

Did OnlyFans Get Hacked?

In February this year, over 1.6 terabytes of content from OnlyFans appeared online from what looked like a hack. The majority of the content came from female pornographic content creators.

Journalist Vonny LeClerc was first to mention the issue. LeClerc, in a now-deleted tweet, pointed to a link where people could view the stolen data.

Head of marketing at OnlyFans, Steve Pym, responded to Vonny LeClerc’s tweet to explain the situation:

“We have investigated claims of a site wide hack and found no evidence of any breach of our systems,” he said. “The content contained in the supposed ‘leak’ seems to be curated from multiple sources, including other social media applications.”

The leak includes several videos and images from OnlyFans specific creators.

OnlyFans has become the new heaven for online adult content creators. It allows influencers, models, artists, and even ordinary people to share content for pay. It rose to prominence after similar platforms stopped operating due to the FOSTA federal bill.

The OnlyFans hack or leak will affect the revenue of creators. Several victims rely on their exclusive OnlyFans content as their significant revenue stream. Unfortunately, the premium content that was exclusive to OnlyFans is now available for free.

A couple of Twitter users attempted to profit from the OnlyFans leak by selling the stolen content at a discount. Further, Twitter was quick to suspend such accounts to prevent further damage.

Is OnlyFans Free Of Blame?

Other reports also claim the leak included up to four terabytes of content with the username of creators attached. To clarify, it seems to be a collection of content from OnlyFans content creators across several platforms into one large free file.

OnlyFans’ claim that it was not breached may be valid. Regardless, it shows that there are vulnerabilities with the distribution methods of the platform. Sites that sell video and images usually make it hard for these media to be downloaded. Some platforms make it impossible for you to take screenshots or screen record.

At the time of the leak, OnlyFans did not have these strong measures in place to protect content on the site.

OnlyFans sent notices to platforms where the stolen content was being hosted to take it down. What’s more, OnlyFans is providing support to victims of the leak.

What the Fappening 2.0 Can Teach Us About Personal Cybersecurity

in Hacking
the Fappening

A major hack that led to the release of intimate photos of celebrities resurfaced again in 2017 dubbed the Fappening 2.0.

In this article, we look at the event and what it can teach us about personal cybersecurity.

What is the Fappening 2.0?

In 2014, a major leak occurred that included several intimate photographs of celebrities and other known people. The unfortunate event repeated itself in 2017, leaking private photos of hundreds of celebrities.

Fappening 2.0, also known as Celebgate 2.0, started with the circulation of private photos of Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried on the dark web. Later, these images found their way to 4Chan and then to Reddit. According to a report by Softpedia, the Fappening 2.0 affected several dozen other celebrities.

Rose McGowan (actress), Paige (WWE star), Katie Cassidy (actress), Alyssa Arce (model), Rhona Mitra (actress), Analeigh Tipton (figure skater & actress), Kristanna Loken (actress), April Love Geary (model), Iliza Shlesinger (comedian), and Lili Simmons (actress) were among the victims.

Just like the first Fappening event, these images were stolen by targeting cloud accounts containing pictures of these celebrities. 

One of the hackers arrested concerning Fappening 1.0, Edward Majerczyk, revealed the method through which he obtained these pictures. According to Majerczyk, he sent phishing emails to his victims that appeared to be security messages from Internet Service Providers.

The Department of Justice reported that “Majerczyk accessed at least 300 accounts, and at least 30 accounts belonging to celebrities” from November 2013 to August 2014.

Anyone could be in this situation due to the general lack of security consciousness among internet users.

The rest of this article looks at measures we can take to avoid being victims of hackers.

What the Fappening Can Teach You About Cybersecurity

the fappening 2.0

People use the internet for several things, and one of them is to share private information like photos. However, sending private information across the internet is risky without the appropriate protection.

When you share information, the protection of the data depends on the parties you share them with. This is very true for private content usually shared among couples. Your other half is required to protect the data as much as you do to prevent loopholes that can be exploited by bad actors.

One of the effective ways to ensure security on both ends is to use applications that exist for the private exchange of information.

Chat applications like Signal and Telegram (secret chat feature) provide better security for intimate conversations.

Signal

Signal is a privacy-centric messaging app that uses end-to-end encryption by default. Moreover, Signal doesn’t store any message metadata or use the cloud to backup messages like What’s App.

Using this application for general chats, especially private chats, is a better option than using most apps. For instance, the European Commission asked staff to move all instant communication to Signal in February 2020.

Telegram Secret Chats

Telegram’s secret chat is popular among young people for intimate conversations. This feature is different from regular chats and requires you to start a new “secret chat” conversation with people to use it.

Secret chat uses end-to-end encryption by default and leaves no trace on Telegram servers. Also, you can’t message forwarding from secret chats, and you are informed of any screenshots or screen recordings done by the other party.

More Steps to Protect Your Privacy

Beyond using private chat platforms, there are other steps to take to ensure that your private data is protected.

Avoid Auto Backup of Photos on Cloud

Do not backup intimate photos on the cloud. In most cases, you do not intentionally save these photos or videos to the cloud as back up to cloud storage is mostly automatic.

To avoid saving unwanted photos to your cloud storage, disable automatic backups, or frequently check your cloud storage application to remove unwanted images permanently.

Use Strong Passwords

Always us strong passwords set for your personal accounts like email and social networks.

A strong password can not be guessed easily based on your personal information. Also, avoid using the same password for all accounts on the internet.

Additionally, a second layer of security makes it more difficult for hackers to access your accounts. Two-factor authentication (2FA) and security device keys are excellent tools to protect your most important accounts.

Don’t Fall for Phishing Emails

It is unlikely that you have not yet received phishing emails given their prevalency today. Most are easy to recognize as they are obviously not from a real service provider. However, hackers are getting more and more sophisticated.

To ensure you don’t fall for a phishing email, avoid clicking on links in emails and do not download attachments. Unless you are expecting an email from service provider, it is better to access the platforms directly. And not through links in an email.

The Bottom Line

The burden to keep yourself safe on the internet starts with you. Something like the Fappening could happen to you too if you fail to take personal cybersecurity seriously.

If you decide to keep private information online, make sure you take the neccessary steps to ensure that bad actors can’t access it.

More importantly, if you want to be sure that private pictures cannot leak online, you simply shouldn’t take any.

You should also read our article on the Top 5 Privacy Tools You Can Use To Protect Yourself Online.

Top 5 Dark Web Hacker Forums

in Hacking
hacker forums

Hacker forums are among the most active communities in the underground market. You can hire a hacker to undertake a penetration test or pay someone to hijack a social media account for you. Additionally, dark web hacking forums are a place to discuss a variety of hacker-related topics anonymously.

In this guide, we will share a list of hacker forums that you can find on the dark web.

Diving into Hacking Forums

hacking forums

According to investigations published by security firms and cybersecurity experts, the number of hacking communities on the dark web is on the rise.

Most of the hacking forums are closed to the public and one must request an invitation to join. Also, the majority of these groups focus their discussions on specific topics and practices, such as DDOS attacks, social media hacks, data theft, etc.

However, not all hacker forums are a hotbed of criminal activity as often depicted in the media. Some hacker communities work for social causes like highlighting oppressive governments or providing censorship-free platforms for citizens.

Torum

Torum claims to be a non-profit cybersecurity forum that was launched in 2017. The hacker forum has a self-governing structure that confers authority and privileges based on seniority, with new members having to share a minimum of 10 posts to unlock key features.

The forum’s three main sections include:

  • Beginner
  • General, and
  • Main

New users have to post at least three times in the beginner’s lounge section to post in other sections. The general section is for public announcements or to spark new marketplace discussions about topics such as carding, vendors and dark web marketplaces. Users can also post challenges and puzzles in this section as well as create CTF/hacking teams and share training videos.

The main section contains the majority of the educational and informative posts with popular threads covering topics such as cryptography/malware, denial of service, social engineering, website pentesting, etc.

http://torum43tajnrxritn4iumy75giwb5yfw6cjq2czjikhtcac67tfif2yd.onion/index.php?sid=dd899d947f96f6d5ddca67c7b5b19f62

BHF

BHF is a dark web hacker forum that boasts over 200,000 members. The site allows you to access the platform without registering including the threads and messages. However, if you need to reply or access any protected messages, you will have to sign up. The forum is mostly in Russian so you either need to be using Google Chrome or any other browser with an auto-translate feature.

The forum shows an impressive level of traffic even by popular dark web standards. Discussion threads are updated on an almost real-time basis, with some topics attracting over 100,000 responses. Certainly, a prime attraction to the forum is its ‘contests.’ The contests include competitions and giveaways such as bitcoin prizes, VPN accounts, and other items.

The forum provides users with programs related to Hash, SQL, Checkers, Proxy, Bruteforcers just to name a few. Furthermore, the BHL marketplace facilitates the purchase of leaked databases, user passwords, accounts, codes and even trading of cryptocurrencies. If you are looking for digital marketing tips and tools you can access them on the ‘WebMasters’ section.

https://bhf.io/

0Day

0Day is one of the more advanced hacker forums that also doubles up as a marketplace. Forum members can browse the forum without registration though you will have to load funds in order to trade on the platform.

You can purchase/test exploits from categories such as private, remote exploits, local exploits, web applications, dos/poc, and shellcode. In addition, you can follow the review in the comment section of each exploit and share your feedback with other members.

http://mvfjfugdwgc5uwho.onion/

HackerPlace

Hackerplace is a deep web hacker forum that acts like an online directory, listing various hacking and programming related materials.

You will not only find discussions, but can also access marketplaces, search engines, and other services. You can browse and select a thread about hacking books to access up to 100 cybersecurity and hacker titles.

http://hackerw6dcplg3ej.onion/?c=home

Hack Forums

Hack Forums is a hacker forum on the clearnet that you can access without a Tor browser. The site claims to have over half a million users which would make it one of the largest hacker communities online. In order to access any of the threads, registration is mandatory.

While not your typical dark web hacker forum if you consider its stringent registration procedures, the site is not without its merits. To begin with, users can access a number of security and hacking tools for free. This includes BIP39. Epoch Converter, Base64 Encoder/Decoder, Hash Encryption and many more. You can browse and share posts about basic and advanced hacking, website hacking, as well as access hacking tutorials.

Interestingly, the forum strives to remain on the right side of the law and, therefore, restricts the sharing of any personally identifiable information. Also, the forum logs, monitors, and shares IP addresses and other private details with law enforcement agencies. While useful if you are looking for information the forum is not anonymous, unlike its .onion counterparts.

https://hackforums.net/index.php

Having said that, all the hacker forums listed are a rich source of information and a platform to connect with fellow hackers on the dark web.

Top 3 Dark Web Podcasts in 2020

in Deep Web
Dark Web Podcasts

The dark web can be very confusing. There is a lot of jargon and misinformation that makes it hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. However, all hope is not lost. Besides the numerous online communities, there are also dark web podcasts that can help you learn more about the deep web, dark web, and darknet.

In this article, we introduce you to our top three favorite dark web podcasts that you can listen to in 2020.

Darknet Diaries

darknet diaries

Darknet Diaries is a podcast that was started in 2017 by Jack Rhysider. This podcast is dedicated to “covering true stories from the dark side of the Internet. Stories about hackers, defenders, threats, malware, botnets, breaches, and privacy.”

While Jack wanted for such a podcast to exist, he found out that there was none. That drove him to create the Darknet Diaries. The first episode for Darkent Diaries was aired in October 2017. For the most part, Jack worked alone on the first 40 episodes.

After the 40th episode, Jack got additional researchers, editors, writers and graphic designers to help with the work. Besides the Darknet Diaries, Jack also runs a tech and podcasting blog and has also appeared on several podcasts. Since its establishment, Darknet Diaries has produced over 60 episodes.

Cyber Talk Radio

Cyber Talk Radio

Cyber Talk Radio is another great darknet podcast that you can listen to. Brett Piatt is the host while James Woodward and Juan Diaz both work as producers for the podcast. The show is sponsored by Jungle Disk, LLC, which is a cybersecurity suite designed for small businesses. Bret, James, and Juan all work for Jungle Disk, LLC.

Cyber Talk Radio is a weekly podcast that focuses on computer security and the Internet. Their tagline is “From the dark web to your radio dial.”

With over 150 episodes under its belt, this show has also hosted guests for various episodes. With the guests, Brett has been able to host expert interviews on matters of cybersecurity.

The Dark Web Vlogs

Dark Web Vlogs

The Dark Web Vlogs is another exciting and thrilling deep web podcast. The podcast is hosted by an ex-CIA agent known as The Ghost. Today, The Ghost works as an Independent Operative focusing on mysterious and unbelievable cases. The host responds to requests to assist in some of the most bizarre cases that exist in the world. Individuals who reach out to the host do so because they cannot get help elsewhere or it is just not possible. In her podcast, she talks about these requests and how she helps the individuals. To ensure complete privacy, she does not use the real names of the people who reach out to her. The Ghost does her podcasts in the form of stories where she narrates the requests and the events that unfold once she accepts a request.

According to The Ghost, “These jobs are outrageous, mysterious, and unbelievable, from reaching out to other dimensions and worlds to other beings, as well as the paranormal, CERN, The Vatican, humanoid robots, and inner earth. Lizard People, Giants, Aliens and more.”

If you are looking for a thrilling podcast to listen to, The Dark Web Vlogs is a great place to start!

If you want to learn more about the dark web, you can read our article on the best dark web books or just keep browsing the Dark Web Journal.

Top 10 Hacking Tools, Apps, And Software You Should Know (And Probably Fear)

in Hacking
hacking tools

In this article, we discuss some of the most known hacking tools, apps, and software to make you aware of some of the most pressing cyber threats out there.

John the Ripper

John the Ripper also referred to by its initials JTR, is one of the most well-known password crackers. This hacking software can crack even the most complex passwords out there. It’s an excellent security tool to use to test password strength in your operating system. This password cracking tool mainly performs dictionary attacks. It takes text string samples from a text file that contains complex and popular words that can be found in a dictionary or from real passwords that have been cracked before. It encrypts them in a similar manner as the password that’s being cracked and compares the results to the encrypted string.

Although it’s an ethical hacking tool, John the Ripper can be used to decipher algorithms and passwords such as Kerberos AFS, Hash Lan Manager, DES, MD5, Blowfish, and MySQL, among others. In addition, it’s an open-source, multi-platform tool available for Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux. 

AndroRAT

One of the most commonly used hacking apps for Android is AndroRAT. AndroRAT is an abbreviation of Android and RAT, which stands for Remote Access Tool. This tool enables hackers to remotely control almost everything on an infected device, such as call logs, contacts, and even locations via Network/GPS.

In addition, a hacker can also open a URL on the device’s default browser, take a picture, stream videos, and sound from the microphone or any other source. They can also place a call or send a text message.

Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker

Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker is one of the most dangerous hacking tools for iOS. In fact, most government organizations use this tool. The tool was initially designed to help extract scientific information. However, its ability to copy any targeted gadget remotely transformed it into one of the most famous iOS hacking apps. It’s for this reason that the Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker is more of a hacking gadget than it is a programming tool.

With this tool, you can break passwords on an iPhone, decrypt iOS backups using GPU acceleration as well as iCloud Keychain, and files from the iCloud. In addition, this tool can download iCloud backups, sync data with or without an Apple ID password or get data from Microsoft accounts.

Metasploit

Metasploit is an open-source project for pen-testing. It’s one of the most popular hacking tools available today. The Metasploit hacking software can be described as a collection of hacking tools and frameworks that can be used to carry out different tasks. In fact, Metasploit is a must-learn tool for anyone that wants to become a penetration tester.

This software provides users with vital information with reference to known security vulnerabilities and aids in IDS testing strategies, plans, methodologies and the formulation of penetration testing for exploitation. There are three different versions of the Metasploit software:

  • Pro – suitable for IT security teams and penetration testing
  • Community – ideal for infosec students and small companies
  • Framework – excellent for security researchers and app developers 

Metasploit also supports different operating systems such as  Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows.

NMAP

hacking apps

Network Mapper, simply known as NMAP, is one of the most popular open-source hacking tools. It is mainly used for security auditing and network discovery. Thousands of system admins globally use it to monitor service uptime or host as well as manage service upgrade schedules.

As a tool, NMAP creatively uses raw IP packets to discover which hosts are present on the network, the kind of services the hosts are providing information on, the operating systems as well as the type and version of packet firewalls/filters that the target is using. With NMAP, the admin user can determine whether the associated nodes and network need patching. Also worth mentioning is that the NMAP tool has been featured in almost every hacker movie

Wireshark

Wireshark is free open-source hacking software that lets you analyze your network traffic in real-time. It has a sniffing technology that allows it to detect any network security problems. It’s also effective for solving common network problems.

Wireshark uses its sniffing technology to capture packets of data in the network in real-time and then display them in a human-readable format. This way, it becomes easier to identify any potential problems such as threats, low latency, and vulnerabilities.

THC Hydra

THC Hydra is another software that works in a similar manner to John the Ripper. It’s a very popular password cracker and has a very experienced and active development team behind it.

THC Hydra is a stable and fast network login hacking tool that uses brute-force or dictionary attacks to try different types of login combinations and passwords against any login page. It also supports several sets of protocols such as Mail (IMAP, POP3, etc), LDAP, VNC, SSH, SMB, and Databases. 

SN1PER

Sn1per is a well-known scanner for investigating vulnerabilities. It can easily be loaded into Kali Linux and has a free and paid version. This hacking app is perfect for scanning for vulnerabilities as well as for enumerations.

While Sn1per is an excellent application for ethical hackers who can find vulnerabilities on their servers or networks, black hat hackers can also use it for unsavory purposes.

Cain and Abel Hacking Tool

Cain and Abel (also referred to as Cain) is a very popular hacking tool. It was designed to operate as a password recovery tool for Microsoft Windows. However, off-label, black hat hackers can use it to crack different types of passwords by cracking password hashes or using network packet sniffing.

When used to crack passwords, this tool can use methods such as rainbow table attacks, brute-force attacks, dictionary attacks or cryptanalysis attacks. 

IronWASP

IronWASP is an excellent hacking tool for anyone that is keen on learning and performing ethical hacking. Similar to other tools we’ve mentioned in this list, IronWASP is open source and multi-platform. You can use it to audit public applications and web servers.

What makes this hacking tool appealing is that one doesn’t need to be an expert to use its main features. It’s entirely GUI-based and full scans can be done by just a few clicks.

If these hacking tools have sparked your curiosity about ethical hacking, check out our guide on how to become a hacker.

Is Hacking Illegal? Yes and No!

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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 Prevent Falling Victim to Phone Hacking

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phone hacking

Smartphones have become a necessity in the 21st century. Despite its amazing uses, the smartphone is a goldmine for hackers. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to avoid falling victim to phone hacking.

How to Prevent Phone Hacking

Safeguard your password

You must keep your password to yourself or only share it with a few people you trust (like your wife). Also, avoid using the same password for different social media accounts.

Use a mix of unobvious number and letter combinations that have a hidden meaning to you, and change them periodically. Alternatively, you could use a password manager.

Avoid using a public Wi-Fi

If you can, you should always use your mobile internet data and avoid public Wi-Fi. That’s because most public WiFi services are susceptible to hacking. They are usually not secure and cannot guarantee your safety.

Another way to stay out of the clutches of phone hackers is to turn off your automatic Wi-Fi connector. You can do this by visiting your mobile setting, thus, preventing you from connecting to any dangerous Wi-Fi network automatically.

Keep your operating system up-to-date

Download and install phone updates as soon as your device informs you that a new one is available. That is important so that phone hackers do not take advantage of an out-of-date operating system. Outdated software is more susceptible to security breaches.

A significant proportion of hacks exploit vulnerabilities that have already been fixed by software providers. So, do not expose yourself unnecessarily.

You should also not use unauthorized tools to unlock your phone – known as “jailbreaking” on iOS or “rooting” on Android – unless you know exactly what you are doing. Security breaches are easier to execute on these kinds of phones as you are no longer legally protected by the software provider.

Be Careful What You Download!

Whenever you install an app on your smartphone, you are often asked to grant it various permissions, including the ability to read your contacts, messages, access your camera or listen in to your microphone. Once you grant an app access, it can pull your personal data from your phone.

There are legitimate applications that need these capabilities, but it could also be open to abuse. Especially, for applications that you are not familiar with. Do not accept any access requests without thinking. That includes even apps you download on your phone’s app store. Sometimes, it takes weeks before malicious apps are spotted and kicked off an app store.

Whenever you are trying to download a third-party app from an app store, always ensure that it is a legitimate application.

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.

What is a Red Hat Hacker?

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red hat hacker

There are several different types of hackers. Black hat and white hat hackers are arguably the most known. However, there is also the red hat hacker, who we will discuss in this brief guide.

Introducing Red Hat Hackers

Red hat hackers operate in a similar way as the white hat hackers. Both are considered ethical and vigilante hackers. However, to counter the bad guys, red hat hackers use different methods than their white hat counterparts.

For example, they could decide to launch aggressive attacks on black hats by uploading viruses and try to access the hacker’s computer to completely destroy it.

Characteristics of Red Hat Hackers

  • Red hat hackers operate by their own rules. Rather than reporting malicious hackers, they shut them down by taking aggressive actions.
  • They possess a mix of white and black hat hackers’ characteristics. That is, they could use unethical tools or methods for ethical reasons.
  • Red hats are among the smartest in the hacking industry and there are not too many.

How to Become a Red Hat Hacker

what is a red hat hacker

Desiring to be a red hat hacker means you want to be an ethical hacker. Here is how you can get started:

  • The fundamental hacking skill is computer programming. If you don’t know any computer languages, you could start with Python.
  • Get a security certification and find yourself a security position in an organization.
  • Learn the tools of the trade and get yourself ready to hack soonest with your Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH) approval.
  • To get this CEH, you will need to understand certain skills like penetrating testing, reconnaissance, footprinting and social engineering.
  • Learn everything about the CEH. Google is very handy. But there are also other resources that can help you prepare you for what’s ahead.
  • You will also attempt the CEH examination to qualify you for the task and you can get right on with it.

Preserving the data of computer users and saving them from the torture of falling victim to malicious hackers are golden responsibilities for red hat hackers. While their methods may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they usually get the job done.

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