Sunday, 11 May 2014


This glossary was made to help take some of the confusion out of the terms often used when referring to cyber crime. When dealing with crackers, black hats and hackers, what you don’t know can hurt you, so please take a moment to familiarize yourself with these terms and tools of their trade. And remember, the Global Digital Forenics team has dealt with all of this before, so please don’t hesitate to call if you have already become a victim of cyber crime, or just don’t want to be the next.
Adware - Adware is software designed to force pre-chosen ads to display on your system. Some adware is designed to be malicious and will pop up ads with such speed and frequency that they seem to be taking over everything, slowing down your system and tying up all of your system resources. When adware is coupled with spyware, it can be a frustrating ride, to say the least.
Back Door - A back door is a point of entry that circumvents normal security and can be used by a cracker to access a network or computer system. Usually back doors are created by system developers as shortcuts to speed access through security during the development stage and then are overlooked and never properly removed during final implementation. Sometimes crackers will create their own back door to a system by using a virus or a Trojan to set it up, thereby allowing them future access at their leisure.
Black Hat - Just like in the old westerns, these are the bad guys. A black hat is a cracker. To add insult to injury, black hats may also share information about the “break in” with other black hat crackers so they can exploit the same vulnerabilities before the victim becomes aware and takes appropriate measures… like calling Global Digital Forensics!
Bot - A bot is a software “robot” that performs an extensive set of automated tasks on its own. Search engines like Google use bots, also known as spiders, to crawl through websites in order to scan through all of your pages. In these cases bots are not meant to interfere with a user, but are employed in an effort to index sites for the purpose of ranking them accordingly for appropriate returns on search queries. But when black hats use a bot, they can perform an extensive set of destructive tasks, as well as introduce many forms of malware to your system or network. They can also be used by black hats to coordinate attacks by controlling botnets.
Botnet – A botnet is a network of zombie drones under the control of a black hat. When black hats are launching a Distributed Denial of Service attack for instance, they will use a botnet under their control to accomplish it. Most often, the users of the systems will not even know they are involved or that their system resources are being used to carry out DDOS attacks or for spamming. It not only helps cover the black hat’s tracks, but increases the ferocity of the attack by using the resources of many computer systems in a coordinated effort.
Cookies – A cookie is a small packet of information from a visited webserver stored on your system by your computer’s browser. It is designed to store personalized information in order to customize your next visit. For instance, if you visit a site with forms to fill out on each visit, that information can be stored on your system as a cookie so you don’t have to go through the process of filling out the forms each time you visit.
Cracker - When you hear the word hacker today, in reality it is normally referring to a cracker, but the two have become synonymous. With its origin derived from “safe-cracker” as a way to differentiate from the various uses of “hacker” in the cyber world, a cracker is someone who breaks into a computer system or network without authorization and with the intention of doing damage. A cracker may destroy files, steal personal information like credit card numbers or client data, infect the system with a virus, or undertake many others things that cause harm. This glossary will give you an idea of what they can do and some of the means they use to achieve their malicious objectives. These are the black hats.
Denial of Service Attack (DOS) – A Denial of Service attack is an attack designed to overwhelm a targeted website to the point of crashing it or making it inaccessible. Along with sheer numbers and frequency, sometimes the data packets that are sent are malformed to further stress the system trying to process the server requests. A successful Denial of Service attack can cripple any entity that relies on its online presence by rendering their website virtually useless.
Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDOS) - A Distributed Denial of Service attack is done with the help of zombie drones (also known as a botnet) under the control of black hats using a master program to command them to send information and data packets to the targeted webserver from the multiple systems under their control. This obviously makes the Distributed Denial of Service attack even more devastating than a Denial of Service attack launched from a single system, flooding the target server with a speed and volume that is exponentially magnified. As is normally the case with zombie drones and botnets, this is often done without the user of the controlled system even knowing they were involved.
Dumpster Diving - The act of rummaging through the trash of an individual or business to gather information that could be useful for a cyber criminal to gain access to a system or attain personal information to aid them in identity theft or system intrusion. One person’s garbage can indeed be a cyber criminal’s treasure.
Easter Egg - A non-malicious surprise contained in a program or on a circuit board installed by the developer. It could be as simple as a text greeting, a signature, or an image embedded on a circuit board, or comprise a more complex routine, like a video or a small program. The criteria that must be met to be considered an Easter Egg are that it be undocumented, non-malicious, reproducible to anyone with the same device or software, not be obvious, and above all – it should be entertaining!
Firewall - A firewall is a security barrier designed to keep unwanted intruders “outside” a computer system or network while allowing safe communication between systems and users on the “inside” of the firewall. Firewalls can be physical devices or software-based, or a combination of the two. A well designed and implemented firewall is a must to ensure safe communications and network access and should be regularly checked and updated to ensure continued function. Black hats learn new tricks and exploit new techniques all the time, and what worked to keep them out yesterday may need to be adjusted or replaced over time.
Gray Hat – A gray hat, as you would imagine, is a bit of a white hat/black hat hybrid. Thankfully, like white hats, their mission is not to do damage to a system or network, but to expose flaws in system security. The black hat part of the mix is that they may very well use illegal means to gain access to the targeted system or network, but not for the purpose of damaging or destroying data: they want to expose the security weaknesses of a particular system and then notify the “victim” of their success. Often this is done with the intent of then selling their services to help correct the security failure so black hats can not gain entry and/or access for more devious and harmful purposes.
Hacker - This is the trickiest definition of the group and controversy has followed its use for decades. Originally, the term hacker had a positive connotation and it actually had nothing to do with computer systems. In 1946, the Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT coined the term to mean someone who applies ingenuity to achieve a clever result. Then, when computers came along, ”hacker” took on the meaning of someone who would “hack” away on a program through the night to make it better. But in the 80s everything changed, and Hollywood was the catalyst. When the personal computers onslaught started invading our daily lives, it didn’t take long for clever screen-writers to bring the black hat villains of the cyber world to the forefront of our collective consciousness, and they haven’t looked back since. They associated our deepest fears with the word hacker, making them the ones that unraveled our privacy, put our safety in jeopardy, and had the power to take everything from us, from our material possessions to our very identities. And they could do it all anonymously, by hacking away in a dark room by the dim light of a computer monitor’s glow. Needless to say, right or wrong, it stuck! Even many professionals in the computing field today have finally, albeit grudgingly, given in to the mainstream meaning of the word. “Hacker” has thus become the catch-all term used when in fact it should be “cracker.”
Keylogger – A keylogger is a non-destructive program that is designed to log every keystroke made on a computer. The information that is collected can then be saved as a file and/or sent to another machine on the network or over the Internet, making it possible for someone else to see every keystroke that was made on a particular system. By breaking down this information, it can be easy for a black hat cracker to recreate your user names and passwords, putting all kinds of information at risk and susceptible to misuse. Just imagine your online banking login information falling into the wrong hands! Finding out you have a keylogger installed, however, does not necessarily mean you were the victim of a black hat, as some companies install them on employee computers to track usage and ensure that systems are not being used for unintended purposes. Keyloggers are, for obvious reasons, often considered to be spyware.


I am Fida Hussain,a computer student from Pakistan. Right from the day one I was introduced to computers,I had a passion for Hacking and Information security. So,I started this blog in 2012 to share my views and ideas with the world.


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