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True Hackers and the Monsters we Inventby@oliveremeka
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True Hackers and the Monsters we Invent

by Oliver IfediorahOctober 12th, 2022
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A lot of people don’t understand what hacking means and overlook easily fixable mistakes they make that exposes their online accounts or devices to the easy control of anyone at all. Careless mistakes from people and ignorance of social engineering tricks are the easiest ways that people can loose their software or hardware systems to hacking. Hackers use psychological tricks known as ‘social engineering’ to get people to expose their accounts and devices to vulnerabilities that the hackers can easily exploit. These mistakes which are generally easy to fix are highlighted below for correction.

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Being very active on Facebook exposed me to a good number of people who keep creating one account after the other and repeatedly send me friend requests. This is also true for other social media platforms and online accounts in general. What is interesting is that when I ask why they keep creating new accounts, the answer is always the same:


“My account was hacked!”


At first, I used to believe this but as the rate of this account loss continued to rapidly increase even though social media platforms kept improving their security standards, I began to suspect that something else was at play.


I eventually figured out that a lot of people just don’t understand what hacking means. This makes them overlook easily fixable mistakes they make that expose their online accounts or devices to the easy control of anyone at all ( i.e., both hackers looking for vulnerabilities to exploit and ordinary people who unintentionally stumble upon the vulnerability). Thus, when they lose control of their device/account, they assume that hackers magically hijacked it and they learn no lesson from the experience making them likely to repeat the same mistake(s) they made.


Some of such mistakes are discussed in this article to demystify the understanding of some people about hackers which could expose them to more vulnerabilities.


How you can lose your account

As stated above, many people who lose their online accounts believe that they were hacked. This is not always true however as there are other means through which one can easily lose their online account. These include;


  • Violating platform policies
  • Being inactive for a long time
  • Non-verification of credentials
  • Forgetting or misremembering your log in details


Hence, before one concludes that their account has been hacked, they should first try to verify if the problem is not from any of the factors above.


What you should know about hacking

Hacking basically means manipulating a system or device to behave in a different way from how it was built to. In the world of information technology, it involves messing with software or hardware systems for any purpose whatsoever (usually with malicious intent). Hackers generally employ technical skills to hijack systems but it is very important to note that HACKERS ARE NOT MAGICIANS!


In addition to technical skills, hackers use psychological tricks known as ‘social engineering’ to get people to expose their accounts and devices to vulnerabilities that hackers can easily exploit. Careless mistakes from people and ignorance of social engineering tricks are the easiest ways that people can loose their software or hardware systems to hacking.


Careless mistakes that can expose you to hacking

People make some mistakes with their information systems which makes them easily vulnerable to anyone who decides to compromise such systems. This may be a seasoned hacker or someone who just stumbled upon the vulnerability. These mistakes which are generally easy to fix are highlighted below for correction.


  1. Using weak passwords. A lot has been said about password security but sadly many people still use weak passwords to enable them easily remember it. However, they forget that using an easy password means that other people can also easily figure it out with a little information about the user. Thankfully, online platforms are now demanding more secure passwords when one is creating an account.
  2. Login accounts on strange devices. For one reason or another some people log in to their online accounts on other people’s devices and their details could remain on the device after they use it. This exposes the account to being hijacked.
  3. Allowing strangers to handle your device or connecting strange input drives to it. This exposes you to malware infection or information theft as the stranger can easily check your browser for login details.
  4. Using untrusted sites or software. This exposes such devices to all sorts of malware infections.
  5. Recording login credentials insecurely. Some people like to record their login credentials so as not to forget them but this requires safekeeping else anyone could use such details to hijack the owner’s account or device.
  6. Avoiding antivirus software. This is a big problem because antivirus software acts as a gatekeeper to alert users to and protect them from vulnerabilities on their devices which most people are ignorant of.


Common Social Engineering tricks to avoid

  • Phishing: This is when hackers use email or text message scams to try and get people to reveal important information that they can exploit. They could also impersonate service providers or relatives in doing this. Such messages should be ignored as service providers usually don’t ask people to mail them sensitive information.
  • Bating: This is when hackers use the promise of a reward to get people to expose sensitive information. Such promises should be ignored as they are often scams.
  • Scareware: This is when hackers bombard people with threat alarms through a site or software to get them to expose themselves to vulnerabilities. Threats about a device or account from unofficial sources should be ignored.


General steps to protect your accounts and devices

  • Use strong and different passwords for different accounts
  • Record login details that are easy to forget but secure the information
  • Endeavor to set up a recovery mail or phone number in case login details are lost
  • Always use antivirus software
  • Don’t login accounts on strange devices as the details can be saved without your knowledge
  • Protect your device from strangers and strange input drives
  • Avoid untrusted sites and software