Technology is something that all of us would employ on a daily basis; whether it is your smartphone, computer, coffee machine or your office printer, there is no denying that technology has affected our life whether be it positively or negatively. The introduction of technology has been around for years and technology is advancing at such a high pace that we are unable to keep track on the types of technology that we previously employed in terms of smartphones, tablets, computer. Developers and companies of these products are trying to keep up to the pace with each other; competing to have the best of technology out in the market to impress users to buy their products and increase revenue sales. However, they may fail to realize that with such introduction of fast-paced advancement in technology, there would also be an increase of bugs and vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit for hacking purposes; which brings a dire need for solutions to combat against and prevent. Not only does the technology need to be able to function well as a product, the security of the product is highly crucial as well because this would not only affect the user’s reputation and security but also the reputation of the company. As for users of these products, it is also important to be aware of the techniques on how you can prevent yourself from being exposed to threats and attacks from hackers while using the technology of any form and age. Therefore, in this essay, we will be touching on Trojan horse, RootKit and Cloud computing as the main threats towards these technologies and what are the respective strategies that could be used to prevent that from happening.
Trojan horse is one of the most common yet dangerous types of malware that nobody wants to get infected by. Alan Tay, a specialist in digital security, has said that Trojans are designed to destroy your system files as opposed to Work attacks. Trojans are a very special form of malicious software that is designed to destroy your system files as opposed to Worm attacks which are designed to annoy you with pop-ups or file duplication. (Tay, 2012). In simple terms, Trojan Horse is a type of malware that acts as a legitimate process or software in your technological devices. However, the real identity of it is not revealed to the user and that is why it is so dangerous; it hides under a facade. Common users would not notice any strange activity as many a time, it is well hidden from users. The true identity of this malware can vary depending on what the hacker wishes to access. Most of these malware’s purpose is to be able to possess sensitive data or to have root access to the computer that you are using without you even knowing. Sensitive data could include bank account details, company’s customer data or personal data, personal health data and more. These are all data that should be protected well. However, if you are not careful and it falls into the wrong hands, consequences faced by individuals or companies will be detrimental and bear serious repercussions. There was an instance in the US where it was confirmed that there was a Trojan Horse that had penetrated into a software that runs most of the nation’s infrastructure operations. The hacked software was used to control complex industrial operations like the oil and gas pipelines, power transmission grids, water distribution and filtration systems, wind turbines and even some of the nuclear plants in the states. Shutting down or damaging any of these vital public utilities have the possibility of severely impacting hundreds of thousands of Americans. (Cloherty & Thomas, 2014). This was a major event that happened in the US and the hackers were able to control operations by using Trojan Horse to gain root access to the software. Therefore, it is important to know how to protect yourself against Trojan horse as it could be quite deadly and dire consequences can be faced.
Now, the question remains: how do I protect myself from being a victim of Trojan Horse type of attacks? Firstly, employ an Anti-Virus software to scan through your computer to make sure that there is no virus residing inside your computer. If there is, let the Anti-Virus do its job and clear it for you. Secondly, one of the most common ways that Trojan Horse is infected to your computer is through email attachments. They usually could be found in your spam folder or end up in your inbox. With this in mind, the first and best defense against Trojans is to never open an email attachment or run a program when you aren’t 100 percent certain of the source, which includes all files downloaded from peer-to-peer programs or websites.(needs citation for Kaspersky) Therefore it is advisable that whenever you see an unrecognized or suspicious attachment, scan the document for viruses using Anti-Virus software and other software before opening or downloading it. These are the methods that could prevent you from being infected by Trojan Horse.
A rootkit is classified as one of the most dangerous malware that is in the industry due to its behaviour. This is so because firstly, rootkits in its dominant nature, it is very difficult for programs or software to detect and secondly, the behaviour of rootkits is designed to remotely access or control a computer without having the common or main user be notified. Rootkits have two primary functions: remote command/control (back door) and software eavesdropping. Rootkits allow someone, legitimate or otherwise, to administratively control a computer. (Kassner,2008) These type of rootkits are used by hackers to remotely access file, having all the root privileges such as the modifying, creating, copying and deleting files inside a computer, and it possesses risks to the common users as the hackers are able to use the computer to create a backdoor to attack other computers and place the blame on the common user. Most rootkits open a backdoor on victim systems to introduce other and more malicious software, such as viruses, ransomware, keylogger programs or other types of malware, or to use the system for further network security attacks. (Rouse, 2018). This tells us that rootkits are dangerous as it not only has root access to a computer but that it could also introduce new viruses to the computer and therefore, it is essential to know how to prevent such viruses from infecting and spreading into your computer.
So how do I protect myself from Rootkits? In most cases, rootkits are found in software that looks legitimate and could very well perform the functions of the infected software however it acts like a Trojan horse where it hides under this software. However, the only difference is that it will install itself inside the computer and would only require the hacker to activate it. So to prevent them, do not install piracy software or download software that are not from the official source website. Unfortunately, Anti-Virus software may not be able to detect rootkits when they are scanning your computer at times. However, if you are running an anti-virus software and the software suddenly does not work or stops its process, it could be likely that your computer has been infected by rootkit so you will have to get rid of them immediately as rootkit has the potential of also disabling anti-virus programs and firewalls. You can safeguard your system from rootkits by ensuring it is kept patched against known vulnerabilities. (Bradley,2017). Therefore, perform all these to keep yourselves safe from RootKit virus entering into your computer.
Lastly, we move on to one of the most important areas which is cloud computing threats. The definition of Cloud Computing is defined as the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than employing a local server or storing in a personal computer. In simple terms, cloud computing is used by applications or programs to store its data, through the internet, and into a box which is commonly called as a database. So, what are the threats that cloud computing companies such as RedHat, Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web service face? Firstly, one of them its Data Breaches. Most of the time when there are data breaches, it could be due to a targeted attack by hackers or it could be due to human error or poor security implementation on its databases. These type of data breaches usually contain sensitive data such as health information, personal information or trade secrets. Personal information of 380,000 people here, including names, e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers, were exposed, said Mr Sumit Bansal, the managing director of Asean and Korea at network security firm Sophos: “By having these personal details, hackers can potentially guess your password and obtain clues about how you create passwords.”. (Hio, 2017). This was one of the increasing cases in Singapore where the personal data of customers were exposed to the public hence this is one of the main concerns when it comes to cloud computing. Secondly, it would be insecure and application programming interfaces. This type of problem is usually caused by the developer itself. This is so because there is security implementation out there that prevents SQL injection or Cross-site scripting attacks from attackers inside the program when developing it. Therefore, it is important for the developer to have the security implementation inside the program to prevent these sort of attacks from happening. Lastly, one of the main threats that cloud computing faces is Denial of Service which is commonly known as “DoS attacks”. For a fact, DoS attacks work by requesting tons of resources from a server to the point that the server cannot respond to legitimate requests. DoS attacks are actually simple to implement as it just requires a spam of packets to the cloud to occupy most of the connections. This would result in users not being able to have a connection to the database, or it would slow down the system of the program due to the attack.
So, what are the ways that can prevent those attacks from happening in cloud computing? Firstly, companies that are using cloud computing services should ensure that its security implementation is done well and one of the ways to make sure it is done well is through hiring an ethical hacker using his or her own ways to try to infiltrate the system to make sure that the system is secure. This was actually implemented by the Singapore government. In a first for a government agency here, hackers will be invited to put the Ministry of Defence’s (Mindef) public-facing systems — including the National Service (NS) Portal — to the test, in order to expose vulnerabilities. (Cheng, 2017). Secondly, programmers of the application have to make sure that their Open Web Application Security Project commonly termed as OWASP it is done properly and able to implement it inside the application so to prevent hackers from infiltrating the system through Cross-Cite Scripting or SQL injection that would mess up the database or loss data from it.
In conclusion, the introduction of technology has most definitely affected people lives on a daily basis. Some may consider it as a blessing as it gives so much convenience and improves the lives of people. However, we do have to know that it also brings negative effects on us if security on these type of technologies are not heavily invested or improved on as every vulnerabilities or bug is a chance for hackers to hack into and make our lives not so convenient anymore. To end off, we have talked about the various threats that technology is facing and what are the precaution measures that could prevent them from happening. Everyone plays a part in keeping your device safe from hackers, whether it is the common user or the one that developed it. Therefore, as common users, make sure to perform all the necessary actions listed here to protect your computer from being attacked on and to the developers of any programs, hardware or software, it is also your duty to make sure that your creation is being secured as much as possible and also well tested on when your product is released to the public.