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Defining and Understanding Cybersecurity

Definition: Measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) against unauthorized access or attack. 

In industry those who are protecting their company’s computers and computer systems are known to be in the Blue Team. Those who are trying to get into said systems of a company or individual are known to be in the Red Team

  • Blue Team is the normal IT and Systems Team at companies, with many companies having a dedicated Cybersecurity Team. They are known as the Defensive Team. They are setting up firewalls, ensuring passwords are secured and encrypted, and continuously checking for attacks. 
  • Red Team is not necessarily the “hackers” you normally think about. They are known as the Offensive Attack Team. These are trained professional who imitate hacker skills and work for companies to find vulnerabilities. 

So what about the hackers that I have heard about or seen on TV and Movies? That is where we then use the terms white hat, gray hat, and black hat hackers. The main distinction between the different hacker hats is permission to hack.  

  • White Hat hackers are hired by a company or individual to test the security of their company computer system or person computer system. They have permission from the company or individual to look into their system and report their findings. They are normally in the Red Team. 
  • Black Hat hackers are the “hackers” that you hear about on the news who steal information from companies and individuals. One group you may have heard about is the Anonymous hacking group. These hackers don’t ask for permission of the company or individual, and they don’t notify them. 
  • Gray Hat hackers are the in between, they attempt to hack into a company or individual and then inform them that they were able to get into their computer or computer system. These hackers don’t ask for permission from the company, but they do reveal their findings to the company. These hackers may be in the Red Team, but are also known to be individuals or groups making sure that the community is safe and secure. 

Hacking does not look like this:

What we’ve seen on TV and Movies are inaccurate representations of how hacking works. There are many forms of hacking, and the one that we’re going to talk about is someone possibly having your credentials and gaining access into your personal accounts. 

Why does that matter to me?

It’s just me, who would try to hack me? I’m just a nobody on the internet.

When news break about a hack, we normally hear about XYZ company was hacked and had data stolen from their company. Sometimes it ends there, but that’s just the beginning of the hack. The information they stole can be emails, passwords, addresses, credit card info, etc., from the company, and your information can be there.

Your information is valuable to YOU, your privacy is important. Now, someone out there has your information and who knows how many people have seen that information as they sell the data online.

After a hack, you hear that you should change your password on that platform, but how many of us use the same password for multiple websites? If you do use the same password for multiple websites, you’d have to update your password for almost all the platforms since the hackers can try your email and password on any platform they think you use.

  • Yes, this includes similar passwords! If your password for Facebook is “password1234” and your password for Twitter is “password4321”, they look the same to a hacker. They will try multiple variations of the same password since they know a majority of people either use the same exact password or a variation of their main password.

Hackers aren’t getting into your account because they are targeting you, they probably had a list of emails and potentials passwords, and wanted to check which ones works.

Let’s use an example. Let’s think of the company as your apartment complex, the emails as your apartment doors, and the passwords as the keys to the doors. Now imagine the hacker as someone who bought a copy of a keychain that contained copies of all the keys in your apartment complex, they probably bought the copy from the hacker who stole the keys from the apartment complex and they made dozens of copies to sale. They doesn’t know if all the keys will work (some people may have changed their locks after hearing about the situation), but they know that some of them will work as some people have been too busy to change the lock or don’t believe someone would come and check their door. The hacker will go around trying keys on different doors, and eventually, they enter your apartment. They only go in and see what they can take without your knowledge but don’t want to make it obvious that they’ve been in your apartment so that they can continue coming back and checking for more and more valuables.

Now back to your account that was accessed, these valuables can be credit cards, addresses, phone numbers, etc., things that the hacker can note down and you’ll never know or pay attention to if they were taken.

Your information is valuable! We know your information and privacy is valuable at StreetCode Academy, and we want to make sure that we give your the knowledge and tools to increase your personal cybersecurity. Follow along as we go through quick and easy things you can do to protect yourself. 

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