8 Common Ways Hackers Break into Computer Systems

hacker computer systems

Hackers break into computer systems to steal data, funds, and critical business information without the owner’s consent.

Any connected system is at risk of being exploited by computer hackers. If cyber criminals gain access to your system, they can engage in financially and personally costly activities that are difficult to recover from.

They can use your credit cards, ruin your credit standing, empty your business accounts and obtain cash advances in your name. Hackers can also sell your information including business secrets to third parties.

To protect your computer network from hackers, it is important to understand the techniques hackers use to get into computer systems so that you can better defend against them.

1. Phishing
This is a form of social engineering that may be executed via email, SMS, or voice calls. A Phishing email is the most common method by which hackers compromise business systems.

Phishing that is tailored to a particular target is known as spear phishing. Phishing messages are designed to fake familiarity with the intended target. A user may receive a fake email about a product they use or a store they shop at to help create engagement with the malicious email.

Phishing emails may contain malicious attachments or links which are designed to exploit the vulnerability in the victim’s system or application such as the browser when opened. Hackers may also directly request personal information via email.

2. Drive-by Downloads
Hackers may implant malicious code on a hacked website or even set up a new domain themselves. The site automatically downloads and runs malicious scripts on unsuspecting visitors’ devices.

This method of gaining access to a target system is quite popular because it has the potential of infecting a large number of devices.

Drive-by download infections can be targeted in which actors specifically research the website used by a target and infect it with malware.

A malicious website may also offer trojan software disguised as a legitimate application in order to infect visitors’ PCs.

3. Remote Network Scan and Exploitation
Software used by businesses often contains bugs that can be exploited. A business application may also be improperly configured which introduces a security hole by which an attacker can gain access to the system.

Hackers can scan a network to identify security vulnerabilities on target networks which they then exploit to install malware and gain control of the system.

4. Cracking or Stealing Credentials
Many companies have a remote login system for their workers so they can access the company server for work purposes. If these credentials fall into the hands of hackers, they can easily login into the system and impersonate employees.

Weak passwords can be guessed by cybercriminals. They may also obtain passwords via bogus password reset requests.

5. Wi-Fi Attacks
Many organizations offer Wi-Fi connectivity whether through a third-party service provider or self-deployed one.

These WiFi networks present opportunities for hackers to get into business computer networks. All they need is to move close to the wifi coverage area and connect to the network by guessing, cracking, or even imitating a signed-in device.

Access to a corporate or public wifi network allows hackers to carry out various operations such as sniffing users’ credentials, executing a man-in-the-middle attack, and even redirecting victims to malicious websites for further compromise.

6. Installing USB Malware
People often associate computer hacking with compromising a system remotely. However, hackers sometimes prefer a hands-on approach to gaining access to a computer.

This involves mailing or physically delivering an infected USB device to a work environment and tricking an employee to plug it into the computer system. They may also recruit an insider to help them with USB malware installation.

The USB devices used for this kind of operation are usually configured to automatically run malware upon insertion into a compatible system.

7. Hacking Mobile Devices
Mobile devices offer a lot of convenience for employees but they are at a high risk of getting lost or stolen.

When a mobile device is stolen, it is often trivial for knowledgeable attackers to compromise the device, especially those with weak passwords or outdated OS.

Physical access to a device gives hackers unlimited access to a mobile phone which may contain sensitive data as well apps for accessing business data.

A mobile device may also be compromised by tricking victims into installing mobile spyware for controlling remote devices.

8. Hunting Credentials on Third-party Sites
Attackers don’t just give up if they can’t breach a system directly. They may investigate other services used by an organization’s employees and attempt to hack the service.

Hackers may also seek out databases of leaked username and passwords from popular online services to see if a target’s email and password is in the public domain.

Passwords obtained from third-party online services are then tried against the original target.

How to Protect Your System from Hackers
1. Install a spam filtering system.
2. Deploy properly configured firewall for your systems and network.
3. Update your OS, browsers, and other applications regularly.
4. Always use unique complex passwords for different websites.
5. Set up a backup and recovery system for your business.
6. Avoid using public Wi-Fi network always sit behind VPN when using them if you must.
7. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware programs for your system.
8. Deploy two-factor authentication for all your organization’s login systems.

An insecure computer is vulnerable to hackers and other cybercriminals. You should take the necessary steps to protect your organization from malicious programs and entities that can expose your business and customers’ data.

Want to protect your computer network from hackers? Contact us to learn more.

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