Hackers have an arsenal of tools to access your computer. Let's look at some common hacker tricks, and some easy ways to avoid them.
Phishing is still the most common hacking technique. Most advanced hacking attempts are initiated through phishing emails or messages.
The messages are disguised as a business or even a person you know. The hacker may impersonate them with a spoofed email.
Phishing emails always tell a story to get you to click. Something is urgent, "compromised", or free.
Never click on links you weren't expecting. If you get an "account compromised" email, log into the account in a separate tab and verify for yourself.
And always check the sender's email address. An email address like email@example.com is probably a fake!
The cookies in your web browser (Brave, Chrome, Safari, etc.) store personal data like browsing history and saved passwords.
A typical hacker trick is to send data packets through your computer. If they can get access to your cookies, they can sign into accounts as you on a browser.
This is easy to do if the website you're using doesn't have an SSL certificate.
When you're browsing the web, make sure the site begins with HTTPS:// and not HTTP://. Sites with HTTP:// are less secure and more susceptible to cookie theft.
Keyloggers are hacker tricks designed to fly under the radar.
A keylogger is just a small piece of hardware or software that can record every keystroke. If installed, it will capture usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and more.
Software-based keyloggers target the programs installed on a computer, like web browsers.
Hardware devices target keyboards, electromagnetic emissions, smartphone sensors, etc. A hacker will just wait for the right time and plug it in.
If you're in a public place, don't leave your machine unattended.
Fake Access Points
Hackers love public WiFi. They can use software to fake a wireless access point. The fake AP connects to the real one.
The idea is to name it something like "Starbucks WiFi" or "Airport Free WiFi" and trick people to sign in to it.
There will usually be a fake sign-in portal that asks for basic info like email or a phone number. Once you get connected to the fake WAP, a hacker will try to access your data.
You should verify the names of any public WiFi networks before signing in. Also, adding a VPN is a nice bonus.
Denial of Service
Denial of service attacks (DDoS/DoS) are hacker tricks that take down websites or servers by flooding them with traffic.
The attacker floods the target with so many requests that it overwhelms it, which makes it ineffective.
To do this, hackers will deploy botnets or zombie computers that have a single task, and flood the target with data requests.
To guard yourself against these attacks, password security is a must. Hackers love to make bots out of computers with weak passwords.
Also, make sure your computer is up to date. Updates contain security patches that fix known flaws.
Never click, use your own link. Verify all senders if you think it might be a phishing attempt.
Only use sites with HTTPS; HTTP is not secure.
Keyloggers usually come in through phishing attempts or scam sites. Also, hardware keyloggers are old but still used. Don't leave your computer unattended.
Always use public WiFi with caution. Double-check the name of the connection, and use a VPN if you can.
DDoS attacks can be deadly, but you can start protecting yourself with strong passwords and updates.