For those of us who are old enough to remember, when we had a computer come into our homes as kids. The eighties generation. The generation of people who only had four TV channels on a black and white TV. A telephone with a dial, that was connected to a mechanical network. Computers in our houses, took the form of basic games
console, that allowed its user to occupy ther minds with crude games like snake, Tennis and squash. All on a black and white television. Our generation were soon served with actual computers, that had names like these below. Built manly for gaming however IBM and BBC were working on other systems that had maths co processors. This is a simple demonstrator to show you the important things. The things that happened in computers in your generation. From the 1980's to present
Sinclair ZX128k Spectrum
The Amiga 1200.
Then came other computers from companies like BBC Computers, and IBM. International business machines. The Apple generation were all still in nappies at this time. A bedroom thought for Steve Wozniak whilst carding in his garage in California.
Early Apple Computer:
The battle for information superiority was taken up between BBC and IBM. These two manufacturers, soon stood head and shoulders above the rest, these computers allowed us to get involved with the heart of the machine. That heart of the machine was controlled by different operating systems. The BBC operating system was none existant, had very little functionality, had no maths co processors and had to work out what commands you could use from off a 5.5 inch floppy disk that looked a little smaller than a 7 inch single, for those who know do not know what these look like. here they are below:
IBM. International business machines were one of the first manufacturers to use a fixed hard drive, that held an operating system called Linux. That linux system is still in use today. Different versions** I call it, The Code of gods. basically it was a set of functions and commands that were pre programmed into an IBM machine that allowed an operating system to work on top of the linux.
Remember when we were all introduced to Windows. The original Windows 1 was released in November 1985 and was Microsoft's first true attempt at a graphical user interface in 16-bit. Development was spearheaded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and ran on top of MS-DOS, which relied on command-line.(Linux) The operating system that we found when we turned on our computers. We Typed c:/win
This is how we started Windows in the very early days. It soon became clear that Windows did not want us using the linux side of the computer, because back then, there were no anti virus utilities. No firewalls. No nothing. Whats more back then in the mid eighties, there were no regulations in force called the misuse of computers act.
Computers started to develop, and in the first few months, when the world wide web actually went live, we were sold computers with maths co processors built in. A box that could do sums and maths. before this time the computer, had to have a program to follow. These new computers could calculate, which meant they could start to interact with the multiple layers on the World Wide Web which that had gone live. It also meant that it could communicate with different things like printers, screens, hubs, and. This is when as a nation we gave birth to, the information era.
This is when the word and title "Hacker" came about. Some of us. The more curious, The Hackers. Discovered that we could use other programs, in that linux shell. Programs like XCOPY. A basic file transfer utility, that allowed us to transfer files from one network to another. It was installed by a 1.44 disk. A disk utility program that could be altered to allow different file type transfers, if you could not transfer the files you found, you could convert the files into a language that your computer could understand for you to download. A great disk utility system, installed in the same place in your computer where Windows was installed. We could install file sharing programs, that would allow us to connect to things called networks, other computers and screens. It was only when the BT network changed its mechanical systems to DTMF based tone, digital systems as they called them at the time.It used tones on a telephone line to communicate with other computers. That's when hacking got interesting. Very interesting indeed.
Multiple different add ons started to get invented and sold. Tone dialers, Fax machines, servers that allowed websites to be hosted from your box, or other peoples boxes. A huge amount of accessories became available to buy along with licensed software from Microsoft called Windows.
What people didnt know, was you actually had the ability to do this without the use of Windows. Windows presented all of the functionality in something called a graphical user interface. ie, those pretty little windows with red boxes in the corner. it had folders and files that made computers more simple, but that came with a cost for the license that you are all still paying for today.
The hardened, the skint people, the bored among us, were given the linux shell in a basic machine, But when you are 14, you try to find out what you could actually do with that black screen with c:/ in front of you. What you could do with a copy of XCOPY was incrdible. By simply installing XCOPY in the root / of a machine. You had access to other computers anywhere. If they were connected to the WWW. This is a later copy of Xcopy. The earlier versions did not have a GUI (graphical user interface
All you needed to do was have a computer, a basic understanding of code (nothing complex) Xcopy. A tone dialler and a phone on the new BT network and you could automate your computer to phone telephone numbers and just listen. If you got a return tone from you asking to connect you were lucky. If you actually found a computer you could simply transfer those files into your root for you to look at.
Very soon Windows new that this could be done and instantly started to remove functionality from its machines. Those came in culminative security updates. The more blocks that came. The more inventive the Hacker needed to become. This is when other types of programming languages started to develop.
Apple at this time recognised that the entire Windows system was suceptable to what were called viruses. Small programs that xcopy could put in other computers to download documents automatically from within Windows based machines. Apples basic design other than incorperating keyboard, mouse and screen in one box was to use apps that in the early days prevented hackers from getting documents because, in the early stages apples language was different to IBM.
We have lived with these basic types of computer software and languages throughout. Now to access any device or computer all a hacker has to do, is watch, observe and navigate. A good hacker white hat of course would test his own networks. He would see if he was able to place payloads inside a computer he wanted to test and see if he could access them. This is called penetration testing. Looking for weaknesses in a target computer to see if it is vulnerable.
If a hacker can put a payload. Or get access to your computer or network. mobile phone or storage cards and drives to install a payload into your systems, you no longer just give away access to files! Now there are many layers to the world wide web that Windows users do not see. Most people do not even know they exist. This is where you are vulnerable. A hacker can walk past your defences and infiltrate any system you operate. He can move that file to a system process, so it works every time you turn your computer or device on. This is known as being Pawned.
Once a hacker has this access, they can remotely connect( from a computer anywhere n the world) and access your systems, computers, networks, mobile phones, cameras, webcams, microphones, files, messages, emails, passwords, history and location. Its important to point out. If a hacker has access to these systems he can install any program, upload any image, make a phone call on your phone, send a text message from your phone and locate your exact location anywhere in the world. They could also sit on the other side of the world and use your computer to pivot through to create a remote attack on other peoples computers so you would look like the person responsible.
Windows machines can not prevent this. Apple machines can not prevent this. Linux machines can stop this. With a linux machine you do not pay for the program its called open source. A project that has developed into a user friendly graphical user interface thats similar to windows but has a host of different options that come with multiple different Linux platforms. This is the language that Hackers prefer to use. Your not a hacker if you use windows. You get caught 100% of the time using Windows to do this because Windows logs ever action you take. Windows can noot prevent some attacks and as the hack was installed to root, Windows can not see or log it.
Over the coming weeks and months Global News and Media Organisation limited will be publishing a host of information that will help you understand how hackers can hurt you and will help you with some simple rules that help you prevent getting hacked.