About ten (or more) years ago, hacking was something new to many of us. We knew that hacking was bad, but we had no concrete idea what it really was. Today, as hackers of every age are everywhere, the general public is more aware of them and what they do; but there are still quite a number who need to understand what it means when a website, social media account or email is hacked.
There are different methods used when hacking a website. The most basic one is to steal email addresses and passwords, along with credit card information. Many hackers also try to find flaws in a website (i.e. an SQL injection attack, which will be discussed further later on). What follows are some of the many ways a hacker hacks into a website.
- The first thing that a hacker does is find the right website to hack. This can be done by Google Dorking, a process that involves the use of Google in your search for websites that are vulnerable and can be hacked. They type particular terms or keywords into the search box in order to locate a website that they can hack. You’ll find lists upon lists of Google Dorks that you can use as hackers regularly post them all over the Internet.
- Hackers use specialized programming languages such as Python. Additionally, they use tools that can help improve their skills – and this can be accomplished with the help of Hack This Site, a website that aims to teach, train and hone skills on hacking. It is a legal and free training option for aspiring hackers – or for those who want to further improve their hacking skills.
- A lot of seasoned hackers use a vulnerability scanner to find out if a certain website is inviting and open to attack or not. For first time hackers, this can be of good use, too, as it practically does everything for them in terms of reading and rating the vulnerability of a website. The main function of this scanner is to assess the weakness (or weaknesses) of a website. Two of the most popular are the Nessus Vulnerability Scanner and the Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner.
- There are two methods that are most popular with hackers – both the newbies and the old timers: DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service and SQLi or SQL injection. They can attack a website using any of these two methods.
In the DDoS method, traffic is the name of the game. In this scenario, multiple compromised systems attack a single target, which causes a denial of service. Since there is flooding of messages and an overload of connections, the targeted system shuts down and its users are left with nothing to work with. Most compromised systems carry the Trojan virus, which is an awfully destructive program that disguises itself as a reliable and clean application.
The first thing that hackers do if they use the DDoS method is to check the vulnerability of the website they are targeting. Then they use a good cracking tool (such as LAN detector, password cracker, password recovery tool, algorithm decoder, WIFI sniffer, etc), which are plentiful online. Once they have found one, hackers will load it into the compromised systems. Flood attacks will then begin to happen.
If the hackers choose to use the SQLi method, what they mainly do is attack a website and steal personal information from it. There are a lot of tutorials and free-to-use applications for SQLing. These applications are known as SQL injection tools. Some examples of this app include Havij, The Mole (an SQL injection exploitation tool) and BSQL Hacker.
Now that you have an idea of how hackers get into a website, it will do a lot of good if you exercise stringent security measure for your website, social media or email account. Here are some useful tips:
- In preventing SQL injection attacks, you need to perform data validation. The best way to do this is to treat all data – especially unknown ones – as malicious. In order to prevent SQL injection, all that you need to do is alter or change the data before sending it over to the system’s database.
- Avoid using passwords that are too common or easy to memorize. Choose unique ones that the general public does not know about. Your birthday, wedding anniversary or pet’s name is a BIG NO NO! Use a password generator in finding a strong, unique password.
- Find an authentication tool, like Google Authenticator, in order to protect your website or email from hackers.
- Turn off your remote login all the time as this is often used as an entry point for malware and virus attacks.
Photo courtesy of dustball.