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Living in the 21st century means that your online life is almost as important as your offline life and being hacked is just as real as getting robbed. You would be surprised how much of your information is online. Your first name, last name, address, phone number, date of birth, email address, credit/debit card information, and down to your food preferences when you order pizza online. None of this information just disappears, it is all stored indefinitely and to a hacker this is a gold mine.
NOTE: Hacking and cracking are two different things. Hacking is making something work differently than it was intended to work. An example of hacking is SQLI (Structured Query Language Injection). Instead of a website sending the command (check if this username (username) and this password (password) exist) a hacker can inject his own command changing the sent command (give me everyone’s username and password in the database). Cracking is different where the cracker isn’t changing how the system works, but in fact using the system to his/her advantage. If the website doesn’t limit the amount of times someone can try to login the cracker may try a million different usernames and passwords until one works. Cracking is usually put under the category of hacking and usually referred to as hacking.
A targeted attack is when a hacker specifically targets you to attack. Usually whenever your account gets breached, it isn’t because someone directly targeted your account, but rather that they targeted a specific website and you were caught up in the mix because you had signed up to that website.
Brute-Force Method – The brute-force method involves the hacker using every combination of numbers, letters, and even characters to try to find your password. This method is 100% guaranteed to work eventually…..This is because the method can take anywhere between a few seconds and 1 trillion years all depending on how strong your password is.
- If your password only contains numbers = 10^8 = 100,000,000 combinations.
- If your password only contains lowercase letters = 26^8 = 208,827,064,576 combinations.
- If you password contains lowercase and uppercase letters = 52^8 = 53,459,728,531,456 combinations.
- If your password contains all letters and numbers = 62^8 = 218,340,105,584,896 combinations.
- If your password contains all characters on the keyboard = 81^8 = 645,753,531,245,761 combinations.
Protect Yourself Against This Method: You want to make sure that your password contains at least one number, one letter, and one uppercase letter for a total of eight characters or more (preferably more) It may seem like a bunch of hoopla, but you won’t believe how many accounts are compromised due to an insecure password.
Dictionary Method – Much like the brute-force method this method tries a bunch of passwords until one works, however unlike the brute-force method, this method doesn’t try random combinations of numbers, letters, and characters. The dictionary method uses a dictionary (list of words) that may be things like top 10,000 used passwords, all countries in the world, and all known English words.Protect Yourself Against This Method: To protect yourself against this method make sure your password not only has numbers and letters, but is also a unique password. If your password is octopus8 that is most likely a password that is vulnerable against a dictionary attack. Here is a list of the 10,000 most common passwords see if your password is in the list, if it is you should probably change it.
Phishing Method – This method isn’t a form of cracking or hacking (usually), but again all malicious acts online are usually referred to as hacking. The Phishing method is considered social engineering. Usually people who are tech savvy can immediately spot a malicious email, text message, or message on a social media. Going to the spam folder on my personal email it took me less than 10 seconds to find a malicious email.
The email above is claiming to be from Skype and telling me to click on the link. DON’T CLICK ON THE LINK. The link could do anything from download malicious files onto your computer or redirect you to a website that looks exactly like Skype (or whatever website it claims to be from) and asks you to sign in. First, check the “From” email address if it’s genuinely from Skype it should be from firstname.lastname@example.org, this email was from a bunch of random numbers and letters @ a random website. Also if you do click on the link make sure the website is in fact Skype. Look at the URL it should be Skype.com not anything else. As soon as you sign in your username and password is saved and it will say that your username and password are incorrect. Change all your passwords if this happens. Usually the email might be saying that you won some money, a distant relative died and you are to receive a huge amount of money. It’s not just emails either. The websites may send a message to all the persons friends on Facebook or other social media sites (without the persons knowledge) saying “Hey (your name) go check out this website: (website) it’s hilarious!” and since it is coming from you’re friend you click on it and then the website sends the message to all your friends and so on and so forth.
Protect Yourself Against This Method: First, make sure you have a good spam filter, this is your first line of defense. Second, look at the “From” email if it’s not (name usually noreply)@(website the email claims to be from) don’t pay attention to it, mark it as spam. If the email is saying something that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t reply trying to get more information, that tells the person that sent the message that your email is active and will try to trick you in the future. Be careful of links, files, pictures, videos, etc. These may contain viruses and or something that you wouldn’t want to see. If you get a message from your friend on Facebook saying click on a link, reply and say “(name) did you send me that message?” If they reply and say yea they did then it’s probably okay. If you want to be sure ask them what your dogs name or something they would only know.
In conclusion there are so many ways that a hacker/cracker can get your information that you can’t be 100% sure that your information is safe. What you can do is make it a lot harder for someone to try to get your information and be smart while you’re browsing the internet. You’re online presence is almost as important as your offline presence. Just like how you wouldn’t go out after a certain time or carry pepper spray to keep yourself save offline, it’s just as important to keep yourself safe online. As always be careful what information you put online and stay tech smart.
Swift is the newest programming language made by Apple for app development. Swift first appeared in June of 2014, but just recently started gaining a lot of popularity and a lot of people who previously coded in Objective-C (Language used to make applications for Apple products) are now switching to programming in Swift.
Picking what computer language you learn first can be challenging. There are a lot of factors that go into selecting the language. The first thing you want to think about is what do you want to do with the language? Do you want to create an app for your phone, or for your computer, or maybe you want to make a website or a web application. All of these are critical in choosing the language you want to learn. When you decide what language you want to learn just click the corresponding image and it will take you to a place where you can get started.
Want to create a website?
- HTML – The very foundation of the internet. I always like to say that HTML is the bones of webpage. HTML is usually all of the content on the website this includes text, images, links, etc. This language is usually learned along with CSS. With HTML you can create a basic website. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language.
- CSS – I like to explain this as the skin of the webpage. CSS is the design. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. The key word in that sentence is style. This language is usually learned after or with HTML. It is usually not learned alone because with pure style and no content (HTML) you can’t make much of a webpage.
echo “Today is ” . date(“Y/m/d”) . “<br>”;
You would never see the code that it takes to make the data and time, instead you would see the date Today is 2015/08/28. This is because instead of the web browser doing the work, the work is done by the web server with PHP. So, why is this a good thing? Let’s say you are coding a website where the user can login. In the PHP code you would write, if the username and password exists let the user login and return their information. If this code wasn’t handled by the server it would be a huge security hazard for the website, someone could simply edit the code to say, return every users username and password. PHP is used for things like login, register, email forms, etc.
- Ruby – A language that is on the rise. Websites like Twitter, Github, and Hulu are all coded in Ruby. Ruby is slowly replacing languages like PHP. By learning Ruby you can later learn Ruby On Rails which is a framework for Ruby that has default tools for databases, web services, and web pages.
Want to make a desktop application?
- Visual Basic – The first programming language that I learned and quite possibly one of the easiest programming languages. Visual Basic has a visual GUI editor so instead of typing something like:
In Visual Basic you can just drag and drop and change all the options of the GUI item visually instead of with code which has it’s pros and cons. One con being that not all programming languages are like that so in a way you get spoiled with Visual Basic.
- C++ – The language that most Windows applications are coded in. It’s a big learning curve if you’re going from Visual Basic to C++, but once you learn C++ it will be your best friend for Windows applications.
- Java – Another programming language that is on the rise, due to it’s multi-platform capabilities is high in demand. Java is another programming language that I know and I found it easier to learn than learning C++ or many of the other desktop programming languages. Java is definitely a language a recommended you learn because you can do so much with it.
- Python – Although python is a desktop programming language it can also create web applications. Another programming language that I know and I also recommend you learn. It’s an easy language to learn for example to print something you quite simply type print “print this” no semi-colons no curly braces very simple, easy, and to the point.
- C# – C# or C Sharp is yet another programming language made by Microsoft for Windows operating systems with Visual Basic and C++. C# uses the dot net framework just like Visual Basic and it’s syntax looks somewhat like Visual Basic just with curly braces and semi-colons.
- Objective-C – A programming language made by Apple almost exclusively for Apple products. This includes iPods, iPhones, and iMacs. You can only code in Objective-C if you have an Apple computer. The syntax is very similar to C and C++. With Objective-C you can make not only Apple desktop applications, but also apps for iPhones, iPods, etc.
- Swift – Another programming language developed by Apple for Apple. Swift was made after Apple saw that Objective-C was slowing deteriorating and getting more and more outdated. Swift is a modern programming language made to be as easy to program as ever. To print hello world you type: println(“Hello, world!”) which closely resembles Java which is System.out.println(“Hello, World!”); to print hello world.
Want to make an app for your phone?
Whatever language you are coding in, it’s always a good thing to use an IDE. IDE stands for integrated development environment. Integrated development environment is just fancy talk for a notepad that is specific to a coding languages. The benefits of using an IDE range from syntax highlighting to being able to compile the source code strait from the IDE itself. However useful an IDE is it could have potential downsides. One downside would be that an IDE could make it so much easier for you to code that you may forget how to do simple things in the language that the IDE takes care of for you. Some old time programmers actually prefer the notepad method rather than using an IDE for that same reason. One thing that all programmers agree on is that an IDE makes it a lot more convenient to code any language and saves a lot of time by taking away the setup of the code and gets you strait to the meat of the coding.
Make an app for your phone
Look at an app on your phone. Someone out there had to code every single line of code that it took to make that app. Making an app for your phone is difficult to say the least. You have to learn a language that is specific to the device you want to make an app on and learn how to use a new IDE (Integrated Development Environment) just to code a simple app.
Thankfully there has never been a better time to learn. With the explosion of the tech world everyone is trying to learn how to code and people are providing tutorials, e-books, and courses on how to do so. Learn how to make an app for your phone!