It's said, "Don't overestimate your opponent, and don't underestimate your opponent, but respect him." It is important to realize that today's hacker is not a disgruntled kid trying to get noticed or cause mischief. While there are some who might create some havoc when they are first starting to learn systems and software, today's hackers are clever business people out to make a profit. They have unusual gifts of thinking outside the box and have the ability to concentrate and stick with a challenge until they figure it out. Those are skills any of us would like to have in our company helping us to grow. The purpose here is to set the stage so we can understand who is targeting us, why they are targeting us, and what resources they have to create those attacks.
Briefly, you may be targeted specifically or caught in a broad net looking for unprotected or unsecured systems. If you are targeted specifically, there are still steps you can take and best practices that can help protect you and your data, but you have to be on top of your game. Keep your system defenses updated and know what things to avoid, be aware of, and just how they will try to target, trick, or con you to get in. Note: Hackers look at getting past your defenses as just the first challenge. After that, they will scan your system for valuable data, get past security, such as database passwords and privilege lockouts, and then transmit the data out of your system without triggering any alarms. They do it every day. Then, they post the info for sale if they don't already have a buyer, and they are on to the next job. You were just their morning project.
You know that new desktop or laptop you just bought? His (or hers) is faster and has every software program - bell and whistle - that helps them do their job. And they know how to use it. Often, they are financed by organized crime syndicates, foreign corporations who want an advantage, or they are self-funded since it's very hard to catch and prosecute those hackers who do the little jobs and stay off the radar. They get in and get out and you often don't even know they were there. That is, until you get a call that your credit has been trashed, or you login to your bank and find all your cash was transferred out yesterday. ALL OF IT- gone. Chances are you'll never get it back. After all, as far as the bank is concerned, your private password was used to access the account and transfer the funds.
In closing, there are many things you can do to avoid wide sweeps looking for vulnerable systems, even targeted tricks that would otherwise catch you off guard if you hadn't been warned and knew what to look for. This is what Prilock tries to do in its lessons. We show you what you look like to the hacker who is a trained professional, very skilled, and cunning. Hackers are someone we respect and hope will move on to other systems.