15 Responses to How Hacking Works

  1. Daniel J Cambronero December 6, 2019 at 5:56 pm #

    I enjoyed this post in the blog in compassion to others because of its change of pace, with so many articles available to us about hacking and data breaching it is often easy to forget that although hackers are super tech geniuses, it is ultimately down to the user to practice safe password practices in order to properly protect your accounts.

    With data breaches becoming more and more common by the day, it often will leave you wondering not only if one of your accounts was breached and leaked but also, what information was leaked. If it were something as simple as what kind of car have you been trying to buy it should not be much of a problem however, if a situation like the one addressed in the comic were to occur in which PASSWORDS were not only leaked but then posted online along with your account details then some big problems might arise. Let us say for example, your Yahoo account details got leaked (which famously did happen), the information exposed would include: your yahoo email, your back up email, your first and last name, your phone number, your password and worst of all your security questions and answers. Reviewing the lost information with your first and last name along with emails people can sign you up for services you do not want to and you can even have your identity stolen. Your phone number can be sold to telemarketer companies and even now a days robo-call companies. Worst of all, your password and security questions are now available on the internet for everyone to see which although you might not think is bad, hackers are aware that users are lazy and do not want to come up with multiple passwords or security questions. In doing so, by gaining access to one of your passwords/security questions, the internet has now have effective gotten all of your account details for all of your accounts, as demonstrated when the stick figure says “Cool, Lets Try them all on Venmo”

    All in all, although we see hackers as these tech-savy gods, more often than not there is no one to blame but yourself if you fall victim to mass hacking due to the lack of one your account details. This is due to the fact of the users poor password and security question information management and lazily assigning the same for all accounts.

  2. Alexander Nowik December 6, 2019 at 7:55 pm #

    Wow. 55 words, and yet stills conveys a very clear succinct message. DON’T USE THE SAME PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING! The hackers in the second panel are clearly meant to be almost emotionless and have merely a laptop a piece. Hacking has become so dramatized in modern culture that people think that it requires someone sitting away all day trying to get your password, when it really is just them trying to get any password or email and then just trying them out in order to access important info. Having a different password for everything is really important and especially for your email and for anything with deeply private info (your banking information obviously). I really like this comic.

  3. Kathleen Watts December 7, 2019 at 3:38 pm #

    Our world now involves so much technology that you can’t fully stay away from it. If you do, you won’t really be able to get as far in life as your peers who do use technology. However, with our increasing online presence, we put ourselves in a lot of risky situations. A lot of our personal information is online now because it makes life easier. Rather than having to get your card out every time you buy something, now your information autofills. This leaves your finances in incredible danger. We simply expect companies to protect our money with their lives, but there is a lot of evidence that that is not their first priority. Yahoo attempted to bury the fact that 3 billion accounts may have been victims of a widespread attack in 2013. Marriot disclosed in 2018 that possibly 500 million user accounts were accessed while hackers remained in their system from 2014 until they were discovered in 2018. For four years, hackers sat in Marriott’s system without anyone knowing. In 2017, 209,000 Equifax customers had their credit card numbers stolen by hackers.
    Everyday, companies preach safe passwords and not repeating passwords, however, that is only a simple remedy to the real problem. Like the picture explains, hackers will get emails and passwords from one site and use that to access all sorts of information. If they can get into your venmo or paypal account, they can easily send themselves as much money as possible. But, like I said, people being diligent about keeping their passwords different is just a band-aid on a gushing wound.
    Consistently, companies are being hacked and the troves of data the store on their customers gets broken into. The hackers use this information to get other things from these customers. When a user keeps their password different, they are being reactive. The companies refuse to act proactively because they don’t fear being held accountable. As far as they are concerned, the hacker committed the crime, not them. However, they are starting to face consequences for their actions, or lack thereof. Yahoo, Marriott, and Equifax all either have or will face legal punishment. In 2017, Anthem Inc., America’s largest insurance company, reached a $115 million settlement after 80 million customer accounts were breached. After a breach with their credit and debit cards, Target reached a settlement of $28.5 million. These companies will continue to lose big as long as they continue to deny responsibility. Eventually, people will stop using their services if this continues. The lack of security companies put on their user data is just too much for hackers to pass up.

  4. Felipe Salas January 24, 2020 at 9:50 pm #

    I believe that this image clearly exemplifies how cybersecurity is misunderstood among the big majority of internet users. The comic shows how the average person thinks about safety when it comes to digital credentials. Creating complicated passwords may be somewhat effective, however, the average internet user uses simpler passwords repetitively. Despite the complexity of the passwords that a person uses, safety is not guaranteed. Regardless of how secure our credentials seem to be, many online accounts get leaked through unexpected breaches that can even affect big companies. Information can be stolen in large quantities to later be filtered so that only useful data is used. In the current times, hacking is no longer an arduous process that requires a person to sneak into another’s personal files in order to try and figure out which information can be valid. Credentials are being stolen with automated processes, which is very scary because it facilitates this means that hacking has become more efficient, fast, and easy. Average internet users like myself, do not worry a lot about cybersecurity. I believe that this should change. The risk is there, and if we can do more to avoid it, then we should. Complex passwords are not safer, all our information online has the risk of being exposed. In this society, It is a necessity to be connected through the internet, but we should understand how to use it in order to get dangerously exposed. The internet is so vast and we cannot trust anything really for the safety of our information, that is why we have to be cautious.

  5. Maria Brock January 31, 2020 at 10:54 pm #

    I find this article to be quite interesting. I have a few personal experiences with hacking relating to online presence that I feel relate to this topic matter. In high school I had experiences with cyber security including cat fishing and location tracking all based off of media apps. However the I have had one in particular that deals with hacking. It’s obvious that social media and the internet make it so much easier for people to stalk and invade the privacy of others online. Back in the day that kind of thing required physically looking through someones window or following them around. But with the internet constant tracking from multiple platforms can tell you someones every move from the comfort of your own home. To be perfectly honest, I’m unsure which is scarier.

    In the past year alone I’ve had multiple experiences with people with fake identities contacting me through social media. This has been on platforms such as Instagram and snap chat. even with privacy settings it is so easy to fake an identity, especially being a college student. In high school and college it’s easy to not know everyone at your school, so students look for mutual friends and contacts. I find more often then not that I don’t personally know the people I accept to follow me. At this point, the moment I see something fishy I just immediately block or remove the user. While I have always been aware of the true lack of security online, it’s impossible to not use social media these days because they are a essential components of getting in touch with people.

    In freshman year I had someone hack onto my google account, which we did all of our school work on. It turned into an investigation and the police were able to trace the IP. One of my classmates had watched me doing my assignments for months and left me comments on my drive for me to eventually find. For about a week I didn’t know who it was and I remember it being one of the scariest times for me, knowing I was being watched both inside and outside of school. The idea that a high school kid could hack their peer so easily opened by eyes to how easy it is for trained and skilled computer and technology users can get so much information in a few keystrokes. It’s even easy to google someone and find their address, family members, place of work, and tons of personal information.
    The experiences I’ve described are on the most basic and elementary level. In terms of companies being able to map, track, and get into our accounts on a larger scale is quite scary. There was a joke going around social media where people would show what their life would look like if an FBI agent was watching them through their computer camera. While it was played off as an internet joke, the idea of really knowing everything about a person based off of their web presence is astonishing. My classmates are right when they say that we really can’t trust anything/anyone anymore.

  6. Mason Lai February 2, 2020 at 3:08 pm #

    Every time you surf and search on the internet, you leave behind a digital footprint that can be tracked by others if you don’t correctly conceal your tracks. The internet we know can be compared to our planet Earth; huge, trackable and everything is enforced while the internet that not many of us know called the “Deep Web” is the complete opposite: gigantic, unknown and unenforced. I know for certain that most people are unaware of the facts and the dangers posed by using the internet; they lack safety and protection.

    The picture in this blog post proves how ignorant many people are about the internet. Most types of hacking nowadays occur over the internet where hackers often use many apps and techniques to try to encrypt and hide their identity while breaching their target and obtaining the information they sought and leaving without a trace. I personally know about hacking and how to deal with it because I have studied cybersecurity in the past and have been targeted in a scam attempt. The internet is not safe (especially the dark web): it is full of criminals and people with malicious intentions.

    One main help that anyone and everyone can use to protect themselves on the internet is to change their passwords occasionally. I personally change my password twice a year in order to reduce my risk of exposure to hackers and data breaches as well as avoiding other dangers that come along with it. To further increase protecting yourself on the internet, I would keep my devices whether that be my computer or phone up to date in terms of the software because updating your devices patches vulnerabilities and leaks that are detrimental to your devices because not doing so could end up with you losing your password.

    The hackers who are the masterminds breaching and stealing behind the computers possess technology and equipment almost like their prepared for war. If we are to protect ourselves, we must update our devices when an update comes out, have an antivirus always running in the background and acquire a VPN to keep our identity protected.

  7. Mya Jackson February 2, 2020 at 6:40 pm #

    I was really intrigued by this comic because it gives a very evident picture of what we all feel that it means to be “private” people. Just because someone gets hacked does not mean that it was by simply leaving a password lying around and having it be stolen. The right half of the the comic is more accurate in terms of how hacking actually works. It is necessary to have multiple passwords for different levels of media and technology due to the the lapses in judgement by most of society. The people that are hacking others, obviously do not have our email and password right away, somewhere and somehow these emails and passwords were leaked out on the internet. This gave hackers the ability to try multiple passwords to match the emails based off of the person and their likes/interests.

    As we spoke about briefly in class, Professor Shannon has many ways of keeping his internet life locked down such as having a private and extremely locked down Facebook and encrypting software from Switzerland. Additionally, in regards to privacy, we have to be aware that there is always someone watching our every move on the internet and anything we may think is private can be found. The best way to avoid hacking is not to try and never write down a password but make the passwords as difficult as possible as often as we can.

    The comic illustrates how ignorant people on the internet can truly be and is slightly trying to teach us that we have to be smarter about how we choose to show our lives. We are never going to outsmart hackers because they have computers that possess difficult and innovative technologies that are possibly built to hack out government even. The goal is not to stop and destroy hackers, but to slow them down just enough to maintain privacy.

  8. Ryan A Luckman February 7, 2020 at 8:31 pm #

    In today’s society where almost everything is electronic, there are people bound to try anything they can to try and get into their personal data. Everyone uses social media, many use online banking, and even pay bills directly over the internet. These low lifes decided that it is better to steal from others rather than go work for themselves to make money. What is intriguing is that the hackers have so much power to be able to do good than bad with it. The hackers prey on innocent people who know no better and try to only do what is right. When the hackers find out certain passwords, there is no limit to what they can do with your information.
    Knowing this, it is very important that people know the importance of changing passwords and keeping an eye on your accounts as much as possible. If someone made their webkinz password the same thing as their online bank password, things can go south very quickly. It is very important that we collectively teach the youth about the dangers of the internet, and not just with strangers, but hackers and keeping important information concealed as much as possible. This is why I find some of our in class discussions very important. Of course it is fun to be able to stay on track and just read the cases and discuss the topic of class, but it is very important to us as the future that we gain valuable information about the truth of technology. I find it interesting that our classes can drift off and take a very valuable turn into the reality of life. Many professors/ teachers sugarcoat things, but it is important to be able to magnify the truth so that this generation of students can be the safest and most productive in a very dangerous world.
    As the world continues to evolve, this article would be very insightful to those who are naive about the internet. The internet is filled with people who just want to take your money. Many of these hackers are from other countries as well, and are specifically trained to steal money from people. A good course of action for this would be including a technology safety course in schools so that the kids can grow up with the proper knowledge for the future.

  9. Arita Gega February 7, 2020 at 8:58 pm #

    I like how this blog post/comic highlights how simple hacking is for hackers. It is not this elaborate scheme, most of the time, but just something quick and simple that hackers can do, and can you blame them. People simply do not care enough to protect their accounts. Many use the same password and email on all of their online accounts. You would think that since technology is getting more accessible to people every day, that some would be concerned about how skilled hackers can become. Just the other day I learned that if someone saved a password on their computer, and I used it after them, all I had to do was inspect element and two clicks later their password would show up on the screen. A child can do that! I did not think it would be that simple until I tried it out for myself, and I learned it through a TikTok comment on accident. Now imagine some kid in their basement actually researching how to hack and getting good at it. People should not delete all of their accounts, but they should become more cautious. Just like Professor Shannon said, when someone can hack into thousands of accounts in mere minutes, why would they spend hours trying to get into mine. With more and more people using the internet, a little paranoia is good. Different emails and different passwords decrease your chances of getting your information stolen. Especially if you are using the same emails and passwords for accounts such as Venmo, where you can get your money stolen. Data breaches happen a lot, in 2019, over “2.7 billion identity records, consisting of 774 million unique email addresses and 21 million unique passwords, was posted on the web for sale.” I know that does not make me comfortable. When checking if I got hacked, it happened a total of six time with two of my emails, from data breaches in websites which accounts I did not even go on anymore. People should not be stupid enough to get their identity stolen because they use the same password, they used on their old Webkins account.

  10. Connor Strack February 10, 2020 at 2:10 am #

    I never thought that I could be so concerned from a panel comic with stick figures for people. Its very easy to remain blissfully ignorant to the availability of your most sensitive data online, and I never even considered using similar passwords in this light. Websites tend to really boast about their encryption abilities and security with the influx of data breaches which expose login information constantly plaguing the internet. It is crazy to think that all of your accounts online are pretty much only as strong as the security of the weakest website that you have the same passwords on. The website the comic is sourced from has more on the ability of artificial intelligence and technology in general that many my have been unaware of previously. Through these comics, it becomes clear that the effects of careless online activity can very well be detrimental.

    Referring back to our class, Professor Shannon always emphasizes his use of many different password safety tools across every website he uses. When I first heard his comments, I thought I was listening more to an overly paranoid perspective regarding the internet, but as I continue to see comic and articles like this, I come closer to the realization that it is truly not hard at all for this data to be released if you are not careful with it. Just recently, I received notification that my apple ID was logged in from Thailand, if not for this class and articles like this, I very likely would have dismissed this alert and maybe changed my password by a single character or so. Luckily, my passwords are now in the process of becoming unique and temporary so that my data is not likely to fall victim to any hackers who have the same mindset as those in the stick figure comic above.

    An interesting article I read furthering the discussion of password reliability was on https://securityscorecard.com/blog/password-complexity-analyzed, which restated the importance of unique and unguessable passwords by analyzing the results of nearly 30 million hacked accounts. The most guessable logins with less than 8 characters and no symbols were among the 50 most common passwords exposed. “123456”, “password1”, and “qwerty” were among the phrases that people thought were acceptable to protect their information. This fact alone should make anyone concerned with the availability of information online to those who do an iota of malicious handy work. If we want to create an online environment which does not compromise the information that people need to remain private, we should start by increasing password requirements to sufficiently protect people instead of the horrible standards for criteria we use now.

  11. Ndzalama February 14, 2020 at 7:11 pm #

    That was surprisingly short yet I understand what was being said. According to the picture they way people see hacking is what we see in the movies and what actually happens when hacking is done is extremely simple. But here is my thought, who said that the extravagant movie version of hacking does not exist. Yes, I get it the way we see hacking in movies is portrayed that way for entertainment purposes. If they showed us how people really hacked in a movie there is a good possibility that no one will be interested in watching it and long after the movie is finished very few will even remember the scene from the movie. I think that the movie hacking actually happens, that people will go through all that extra effort just so they can get information on someone. I also think it depends on who it is you are hacking, if your hacking your neighbor then you probably don’t have to do much you can just do the traditional boring type of hacking and be successful. But let’s say you want to hack into a facility that has a lot of classified information, maybe before technology got to where it is now it would have been more effective to somehow infiltrate the building, find the serer room and plant your spyware there which would make it easier for you to access their information. But in reality, hacking does happen from simple leaks of information. A website that has your email address and password could sell that information and if you use the same password for everything then you are just digging a bigger hole for yourself. I also think that some of the people that do hacking are the typical overweight people who don’t really get out much, don’t really have any friends, and do everything in the same spot or position. I mean its those type of people who have the most time on their hands so they are able to put in more time and effort into learning the tricks of hacking, so that they wont even need to leave their rooms in order to hack you and those are the ones you really need to watch out for. I’m talking about the real expert hackers. One thing that has changed about hacking is you don’t need to hid in your getaway white minivan that screams kidnapper or criminal all you need is a nice little moped and an iPad and your good to go. Just watch out people stay vigilant.

  12. Matthew Pavlik February 14, 2020 at 8:01 pm #

    *Tony Stark walks in, jump cut to laptop screen, command prompt, jump cut back to Tony Stark’s face*

    *mashing on keyboard* “I just have to disable their algorithms and *click click click*… I’m in”

    This is hacking in the minds of everyone who has not done it or does not know what it really is or who hackers are. These super geniuses must be in a lab, working with urgency to steal information and zero out unsuspecting people’s bank accounts. Now, in reality, this is not the case. While some hacking attempts are carried out by governments and probably look similar to this, most hackers are not infecting your laptop with malware linked to the .png file of Tobey Maguire in the black Spider-Man suit that you downloaded. For example, I got my brother’s Xbox password from him to log on to his profile so I could download a game. When I remembered that his Xbox and computer passwords are eerily similar, I put it into Instagram and got onto his account. He uses the same password for everything (with no two-factor authentication), so I just had to do a little trial-and-error. In the same way, this is how most hacking is done. If someone leaks information, for whatever reason, if that information is relevant and someone wants to take some time to test out a password or two, they will and they will get access to the account. At the end of the day, I need to do what everyone I know needs to do: make better passwords.

  13. CJ Happ February 14, 2020 at 9:02 pm #

    Hacking has become a worldwide problem because of the prevalence of the internet in today’s world. People use the same password and username for almost every platform they use. This makes it extremely easy for “hackers” to find your password and email address and use it to infiltrate application such as venmo and then go on to your bank account after that. This cartoon beautifully illustrates the simplicity of hacking in the modern world and displays the fact that anyone, anywhere could be trying to hack your accounts. It also shows that it is quite ordinary for people to hack your accounts and they can do so with relative ease. People like to think that there are intelligent, observant hackers out there (which there re) but people usually overestimate how good at hacking they really are. This cartoon depicts perfectly the state of security we find ourselves with everyday and also shows how easy it is to undermine that security.

  14. Mark M. February 14, 2020 at 11:15 pm #

    The saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” but you do not realize how true this statement is until you see a cartoon like this one. It is amazing to me the message that a simple comic, such as this one, can portray what many conceive as reality to be false. Much to my chagrin, for the longest time I had the perception of what the first frame presented; some foreign spies, using high-tech equipment to break super advanced firewalls and breaking into high-tech facilities. That’s why I consider cartoons to be powerful.

    The power behind this cartoon is its simplicity. In as little as 55 words, you get how easy it is in today’s age to hack personal information. Instead of this dark veil of secrecy behind hacking, this article shows that public information about accounts could be found in simple locations such as message boards, blog sites, Reddit, you name it.

    The most interesting aspect of this post is that unveiling the secrecy behind hacking these accounts makes you realize how non-secure our accounts really are. As of recent, there have been hacks of personal information through Facebook and other major social media sites. The people who access our information aren’t super spies behind super computers, but people who get access through different means. With all our information out there, we have to be more careful with the information we have out there. Otherwise, we can end up in deep waters without a paddle.

    The change of pace of this article was refreshing and because of that, allows the information to flow and be better understood while provoking a conversation. ANd that, is why this post is great.

  15. Pablodcr February 16, 2020 at 7:43 pm #

    This image exemplifies in a very precise and effective way how cyber security is misunderstood among the vast majority of Internet users.

    The mental scene that most people have of a hacker is someone with a hood who writes quickly on a black and green screen full of time trial code to enter a bank and steal information and money, but reality cannot be more remote.

    There are two types of hackers: black hat hackers and white hat hackers. The work of the first ones is very different from that of the second ones. What black hat hackers do is enter computer systems with bad intentions, while white hat hackers work to improve business security, develop antivirus, detect new attacks and try to create tools to mitigate them. What all these experts in computer security do have in common is a research work full of curiosity and constant learning.

    There are three basic characteristics that they take to recognize new threats:

    The first is the detection of attacks that are usually or found by the company’s experts or reported by third parties. The second is the investigation in which it is sought how it spreads, how the attack works, to which group of people it is aimed and finally the education in which they are responsible for sharing information and informing users of how to protect themselves.

    While the techniques used by white hat hackers to investigate new viruses, malware, botnets or any of the attacks can vary, one of the most used is reverse engineering.

    Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of an object, tool, device or system. It is about taking something, in this case a virus, to analyze its operation in detail to understand how it works and, finally, how to attack it in order to mitigate it.

    When an investigator finds a new threat, what he does is send all the information he has to the company’s headquarters and from there they take a part of that malicious code so that the antivirus recognizes it if he bumps into it and works as a protective shield for Keep the user safe.

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