What is Hacking?

The word 'hacking' has several meanings, but in the context of ICT, it is normally taken to mean breaking in to a computer system.
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Why Do Hackers Hack?

A hacker may break into a system just out of curiosity or for the challenge - can they get through the system’s defences? But, it is more likely that they are breaking in to access data, usually because the data has value.

For example, if a hacker enters your computer and steals financial information such as your credit card number, or the password to your bank account, they could use that information to make purchases.
If a lot of information about you is stolen, a hacker could use this to impersonate you on-line.

They might apply for new credit cards, take out bank loans, buy cars, etc. all in your name.

This is known as identity theft.

Can a Computer be Protected from Hacking?

Just as in the real world, there is no guaranteed way to stop someone breaking into a building (you can make it very difficult, but every security system has its weaknesses), there is also no guaranteed way to stop someone breaking into a computer system.

However, you can make it difficult enough so that a hacker moves on and looks for an easier target.

You should:
  • Use strong passwords to protect your user login account
  • Never reveal your login password to anyone else
  • Place a firewall between your computer and any network
  • Disconnect from networks when you are not using them
  • Encrypt any sensitive information (just in case they get in)
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