Julian Assange, a computer programmer, always felt strongly about censorship in the media and government. His passion for open information sharing became his obsession and soon he was working as an international activist. Determined to find a way to share covert information with the world, he founded the website WikiLeaks. Initially, the website was open to whomever cared to contribute. On the site, Assange released previously sealed confidential documents and explained through anonymous sources the true stories behind current events.
Gradually, the site drew more and more attention – from those who supported the site and those who found it to be a threat to national security. In recent news, Assange was arrested in Britain to face unrelated charges. In protest to his arrest, WikiLeaks’ supporters hacked a variety of websites that detached themselves from WikiLeaks, either vocally or monetarily, following Assange’s arrest.
Sounds complicated and important doesn’t it?
Most of us know that hackers tend to attack celebrities, large businesses, and important companies, but what about the everyday computer user? What if we aren't making headlines or making millions? Do hackers also target us, sitting at home, doing nothing more important online than paying bills?
The short answer is – absolutely.
Hackers fall into a few different categories, including those who hack because they can – as a way to amuse themselves or impress others. These hackers, sometimes called “kiddy hackers,” do pose a danger to you because they don’t care who they hack – they’re testing their skills. For more deliberate hackers, they may target you because you make it easy for them to get into your system. I decided to ask a hacker what makes a computer attractive to break into and here are a few answers...
How to Attract a Hacker to Your PC
- "Use really obvious passwords." Is your name Ann Elaine Smith? Then please by all means, use Elaine as your password for everything. Also, if you use a random word, please don’t mix in numbers and symbols. Use something easy to remember, like the make of your car (Toyota) or your favorite color (blue). Choose something easy for both of us.
- "When you find a password you like, stick with it!" If you find a good password make sure to use it for everything. Banking, email, personal website... no matter what the security level of the site, just keep using that same password so that I’ll know what to use. Oh, and be sure to keep that password for years - don't change it every few months.
- "When I send spam to you, please open it." Just in case you forget the other tips, go ahead and open whatever ‘special offer’ I’m sending you. Once you do that, I can install my keylogger or other malware to track your every move. I’ll also be able to access and even control your computer from the comfort of my own home.