24Feb, 2014

How secure a website actually is

A lot of movies portray hackers as people who can access your information from any database in the world through a simple computer and that your data is therefore not secure however we know more on this. The Kenya Police account was at one time hacked and people at once assumed that it was refined programming skills and an exceptional intellect that did the job, however as further investigations were carried out it was shown that it was their own fault for leaving it unsecured. In the IT world, having the administrator’s login name as admin and the password as password is the same as not putting any security measures. So, some things that others must know:
1.)    Not all data is accessible
Even if you can hack into a website due to the laziness of the programmer who could not set up a semi-decent password, not all of an organization’s data can be accessed from a website. You might be able to deface the homepage and alter them from the safety of your anonymous location, but you can’t access documents. For that you would have to go to within their servers which are probably in their offices in which case you are more James Bond than computer expert. Even the famous Wikileaks scandal where classified files were released by Julian Assange was an inside job courtesy of military officer Bradley Manning who gave him those files from inside the organization.
2.)    Phishing is the real threat
Phishing is done by retrieving peoples personal information by installing applications on their computers that record their keystrokes. Most spyware of this kind is got through illegal downloads, you might have come accross sites that offer you free software and while dowloanding the software it comes loaded or where you want to accces some document and you are instead redireted to another site to download an application of theirs first. Once you do so every time you connect to the internet the application sends your information to their intended party.
3.)    It can be done on any computer
There are applications out there that are used to break into websites and secure sites and are usually applied by professional white hat hackers who are paid to look for weaknesses in companies firewalls. These applications however do not run on average computers easily. The requirements are so high that for it to be successful it would mean that somebody has invested both time and money specifically to bring you down. Even then, such programs push the most powerful desktops to their limit, as I said hacking is not easy. The worst as individual can do is to crash your site by overloading its servers which we will discuss next time.

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