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Avast Academy Security Other Threats What is Cracking and How Does it Work?

Cracking

Cracking refers to the practice of hacking computer systems and software with malicious intent, such as cracking a password or a public Wi-Fi network in order to see people’s private information.

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What is cracking?

While hacking is the process of bypassing computer safeguards in order to gain access to them – which can either be good or bad – cracking specifically refers to the same practice, but with criminal intent. The general opinion is that hackers build, while crackers break. In particular, crackers engage in such unruly practices as stealing credit card numbers, deploying viruses, destroying files or collecting personal data to then sell.

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    Where does cracking come from?

    Any number of things can motivate a cracker, ranging from financial gain, to furthering a cause, or maliciousness for its own sake, or just because they like a challenge. As such, cracking can come from anywhere. However, cracking, unlike hacking, relies more on persistent repetition of a handful of fairly well-known tricks in order to break into systems, rather than cleverly exploiting the system’s weaknesses. As a result, most crackers are in fact only sub-par hackers.

    How do you recognize cracking?

    Whether or not it's possible to recognize cracking depends on what’s being cracked. For example, software companies likely won’t know if someone has cracked their software. Likewise, students using the public Wi-Fi at the corner café won’t know if someone has cracked the Wi-Fi network and is capturing their vulnerable data, such as banking info or passwords. That said, it might be obvious that your computer has been cracked if your friends and colleagues start getting phishing emails from your email address.

    How do you stop cracking?

    Trying to stop cracking is like trying to stop crime itself, and if Batman can’t do it, we don’t have much hope of that happening anytime soon. As long as people with criminal intent and the skills needed to crack into computer systems exist, cracking will persist. The best thing you can do to help curtail cracking is to ensure that none of the systems you use get cracked in the first place. Fortunately, there are many ways you can do that, such as using a password manager to protect your login info. In the event your computer has been cracked, however, you can use a powerful antivirus to search for and remove any viruses or other malware that may have been installed on your computer as part of the crack.

    Ways to prevent cracking

    • Don’t open any attachments sent from suspicious email addresses

    • Never send your banking info or credit card numbers via email

    • Don’t use public Wi-Fi for any activities you want to keep private

    Protect yourself from cracking

    There are a couple of habits you can learn in order to protect yourself against cracking. These include not opening attachments from suspicious email addresses, never sending your banking info or credit card numbers over email and not using public Wi-Fi for any sensitive activities. But the best thing you can do to protect yourself against cracking is to use strong antivirus software such a Avast Antivirus which will protect you against all kinds of malware, including viruses, spyware, ransomware and more.

     

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