A reporter decided to stage an experiment after experiencing an actual hacking attack on his computer.
He invited 2 of the 2 most elite hackers to spend 2 weeks hacking his digital life as deep as they could possibly could with the condition that they will not steal any money, asset nor reveal his private information and do harm to him, his data and anyone else. At the end of the hack, they will reveal to him what they found, delete anything they have gathered and help him fix any security flaws he had.
Most major companies perform these things. it is called “penetration testing” or “pentesting”. Large corporations pay professional white-hat hackers huge amounts of money to try to hack their servers to find out any holes and vulnerabilities that needs to be patched.
As per his experience, it did not matter how good his defenses were and how careful he was. The hackers obviously had the better hand and was able to bypass everything.
The first hack they did was called social engineering.
They were able to gather information from social media. They called Time Warner, Comcast, utility companies and others pretending to be his girlfriend/wife and they tried to gain control of his accounts with the help of the representative they spoke with and were successful to lock him out of his account.
The second part of the hack involves malicious scripts written just for him what’s called a shell. This shell allowed the hacker to remotely log into his computer on demand as if it were his own. To further show how deep they were in the target computer, they logged all key logger which captured every keystroke he typed and were able to obtain passwords and other credentials. They also took snapshots and screenshots from his computer and camera every 2 minutes.
So for the demonstration, the 2 hacks were successful and with all intents and purposes, they are literally him digitally speaking.
If it was a malicious attacker, they could have done unspeakable damage draining all his finances, credit score, deleting information, photos, videos and other data, ruin reputation and online presence.
Though the threat is real, those high caliber hackers will not be targeting ordinary people. Although theoretically it can be done to anybody, the vast majority of us are simply not interesting enough for hackers to care about.
In the end, he learned how to better protect himself.
But in the real world, it is a real and present danger with that much power, they can control almost anything digitally and create man-made disaster.
With guys like these who are on the good side, people like us can sleep soundly knowing they are looking for those holes to patch up and keep us safe.
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