Computer hacking is the act of modifying computer hardware or software, in order to cause damage to sensitive data on a computer or to simply steal confidential information. Computer hackers often target home and office computers that are connected to the Internet. The Internet is a gateway for a computer to connect to the world, which also makes it vulnerable to attacks from hackers from across the globe. What are the consequences of computer hacking? Let us find out.
Effects of Computer Hacking
Computer hacking is a breach of computer security. It can expose sensitive user data and risk user privacy. Hacking activities expose confidential user information like personal details, social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account data and personal photographs. User information, in the hands of computer hackers, makes it vulnerable to illegitimate use and manipulation.
Hackers may even delete sensitive information on gaining access to it. Deletion or manipulation of sensitive data with intent to achieve personal gain is another effect of computer hacking. A user whose computer has been hacked is at the risk of losing all the data stored on his/her computer. Manipulation of sensitive user data is a grave consequence of hacking.
Identity theft is another important consequence of computer hacking. Identity theft is a fraud that involves pretension to be someone else, with intent to gain unauthorized access to information or property. It refers to an illegal use of someone else's identity for personal interest or gain.
The advances in technology have led to the evolution of key-logging software, which is capable of tracking and recording every key stroke by the user, thereby stealing passwords and account details. Another serious effect of computer hacking is the denial of service attack. The DOS attack, as it is called, refers to the attempt of making computer resources unavailable to authorized users. Often, websites fall prey to denial-of-service attacks, whereby they are made unavailable for long periods of time, causing inconvenience to users while also hampering website business.
Computer hacking can lead to theft of critical business information. Important information about business clients and customers can be lost or manipulated through computer hacking. Hacking can expose email addresses to hackers, which they might use for spamming and hampering email privacy.
Information critical to national security, confidential government data, information related to national defense, security and crime, if exposed by means of hacking, can have grave consequences on the welfare of the nation. Hacking of highly sensitive data can potentially risk the national security and stake the overall well-being of the country's citizens.
Hacking can be used to convert computers into zombies i.e. Internet-enabled computers that are compromised by hackers or computer viruses. Zombie computers are used for fraudulent activities like spamming and phishing.
How can you find out whether your computer has been hacked? An unexplained decline in computer performance, an unexpected increase in file size, unexplained modifications to files, sudden changes in network settings of the computer and frequent disk crashes are some of the warning signs of a hacked computer. Installing reliable antivirus softwares, enabling a firewall before connecting to the Internet and installing operating system updates on a regular basis, can help help you combat hackers.
What could happen to you in case you hack a computer? Well, computer users have a right to secure personal information under the data protection act. Not abiding by this act can have serious consequences like heavy fines or imprisonment. The degree of punishment depends on the severity of the damage resulting from computer hacking. Hacking is a computer crime.
If only one could 'hack the brains' of hackers and 'delete' such destructive thoughts of hacking from their minds.