What is hacking ?

Hacking refers to attempts to gain information from otherwise undisclosed areas. Hacking is the most commonly known computer crime, however, people refer to hacking as committing any criminal act using a computer while this is not the case. Hacking is similar to breaking and entering however instead of breaking into a house you break some one's computer security and entering is similar to accessing someone's computer files, once in, they steal your files and use them for personal befit. While it is not a prerequisite most hackers are also virus creators. There are two types of hackers black hat hackers and white hat hackers, black hat hackers are the ones who are there for malicious purposes such as stealing, storing or vandalizing data. While white hat hackers are legally intruded who are hired by administrators to test the system for security flaws. There are also many other variants such as gray hat hackers which is between black hat and white hat hackers.


                      Piracy refers to the unauthorized duplication of computer software. 

Software piracy

As mentioned, software piracy is the unauthorized duplication of computer software. Although most computer users today are aware that unauthorized use and duplication of software are illegal, yet general disregard is shown towards treating software as valuable intellectual property. Common forms of software piracy are

1.Softlifting: It refers to purchasing a single licensed copy of the software and loading it onto several computers contrary to the license terms.
Example- Sharing licensed software with friends, Co-workers, and others.

2.Uploading and downloading: It refers to making unauthorized copies of copyrighted software available to end users connected to a network.

3.Software counterfeiting: It refers to illegally duplicating and selling copyrighted software in a form designed to make it appear legitimate.

4.Hard disk loading: It refers to installing unauthorized copies of software onto the hard disks of personal computers, often as an incentive for the end user to buy the hardware from that particular hardware dealer.

5.Renting: It is the unauthorized selling of software for temporary use, like renting a video.

Software piracy means denial of intellectual property rights to the software creator or developer. It is not ethical to use someone else's property without his/her content and without giving him/her the benefit of it. Developing a software application involves a major investment of time, money and effort. Software piracy denies the creator the revenue he/she deserves and harms paying customers, who ultimately bear the cost of illegal use of products. Piracy limits the creator's ability to be competitive, leading to higher-priced, less advanced products for customers.

Software piracy can be controlled by copyrights, patents, and trademarks. A copyright is the exclusive property right of the owner, creator, developer, author of a work, granted by law. It gives the owner an exclusive right to protect his work in all forms. A patent refers to the special power of monopoly granted by law. Without obtaining a license from the patent holder, the work can not be used or reproduced. And a trademark refers to the registered word, text, logo depicting the identity of a product, work or a company.

Getting protected

Before you implement protection measures for your computers, you must be aware of the forms of attacks that hackers may launch. In the following steps, we are going to discuss different forms of attacks that generally take place.

1.Spamming: Spamming refers to the sending of bulk-mail by an identified or unidentified source. In non-malicious form, bulk advertising mail is sent to many accounts. In malicious form(e-mail bombing), the attacker keeps on sending bulk mail until the mail server runs out of disk space.

2.Computer viruses: Computer viruses are malicious codes/programs that cause damage to data and files on a system. Viruses can attack any part of a computer's software such as boot block, operating system, system areas, files, and application-program-macros. 

3.Worms: A worm is a self-replicating program which eats up the entire disk space or memory. A worm keeps on creating its copies until all the disk space or memory is filled.

4.Trojan horses: A Trojan horse is a program that appears harmless(such as a text editor or a utility program) but actually performs malicious functions such as deleting or damaging files.

5.Sweeper: This is another malicious program used by hackers. It sweeps or deletes all the data from the system.

6.Denial of services:  This type of attack eats up all the resources of a system and the system or applications come to a half. Example of such an attack is flooding a system with junk mail.

7.Password guessing: Most hackers crack or guess passwords of system accounts and gain entry into remote computer systems. And then they use it for causing damages in one or another form.

There are other forms of attacks also such a sniffing, packet forge spoofing, IP spoofing etc. But we are not discussing them as in order to understand these, one needs to know the working of networks.
piracy software

Protective measures

Now after knowing different forms of attacks, let us now discuss different protective measures that may be taken against such attacks.

The entire computer security is based on a system of safeguards that are designed to protect a computer system from deliberate or accidental access and/or damage by unauthorized persons.

The combination of identification, authentication, and authorization can control access to a system. This combination is very useful, especially in network security. Various techniques used for network security are .......

1.Authorization: Authorization is performed by asking the user a legal log in id. If the user is able to provide a legal log in id, he/she is considered an authorized user.

2.Authentication: Authentication is also termed as password protection as the authorized user is asked to provide a valid password and if he/she is able to do this, he/she is considered to be an authentic user.

3.Firewall: A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network is called Firewall. Firewalls are a mechanism to prevent unauthorized internet users from accessing private networks connected to the internet, especially intranets.

Securing Data

Though controlled access to a system indirectly secures data, yet there are some other measures that must be taken in case data gets corrupted even after taking security measures. These include taking backups from time to time, preparing recovery mechanism, maintaining transaction logs and having a proper disaster recovery plan. Data security also involves measures like a secured waste, effective passwords, internal controls, conducting audits, and using cryptography.

Computer crime

Computer crime or the electronic crime may include thefts or actions in the electronic form that causes damage or difficulty to other computer users. Computer crime may be of following types ......

  • Theft of computer time.
  • Theft, destruction or alteration of data.
  • Theft, destruction or manipulation of programs.
  • Hacking.                                 

Some white-collar crimes are

  • Theft of data or software.
  • Theft of documentation.
  • Sabotage.
  • Illegal modification of data.
  • Forging or falsification of data.
  • Embezzling funds.
  • Fraud in figures.
  • Installing 'Bugs'.
  • Selling reports, paper output.

 Reasons for computer crimes

Computer crimes take place more often because of nearly no detection and prosecution. Major reasons for computer crimes taking place are .....
  • Little understood by police, courts.
  • Low detection rate, often accidental.
  • 3-defined laws.
  • Data 'value' hard to define.
Clearly defined laws and strict implementation of these laws can reduce computer crimes to a great extent.

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