The Hacking Problem: Can It Ever Be Beaten?

Hacker in hood.

PixaBay Image by HypnoArt

We talked the other day about how hacking occurs and what to do about it, but is it a problem that ever be beaten? When companies suffer through hacks, thousands of people tend to react in the same way: “when is the hacking problem going to be fixed once and for all?”

Hacking seems like it should have a simple solution. For the general populace, the use of a firewall and a decent malware protection keeps them safe — so why can’t multinational corporations just do exactly the same? It can’t be that difficult, can it?

The reasons for why hacking is so prolific — and is likely to remain so — are actually fairly simple. While there’s always a heavy tech side to be considered and debated, the base reasons why hacking is likely to be permanent are rather simple. At the heart of the debate, the entire issue boils down to three easy facts.

#1 – For Every Protection, There Is A Counter-Measure

Let’s say you created a virus today and unleashed it on a huge multinational company.

Within 24 hours, someone working for that company will have found a workaround and fixed the virus.

Within another 24 hours, you could tweak the virus so it can avert the block, and unleash it on the company again.

So the story continues; for every hit, there is a counter-hit. Then there is a counter-hit of the counter-hit. It’s inevitable; a cat and mouse game that tech gurus and hackers have been playing together since the dawn of the internet age.

Of course, that’s not to say that businesses should not be as careful as they possibly can; there’s no reason to leave the door open and invite the hackers in. With careful planning, thoroughly managed IT services and constant vigilance, most companies will be able to stave off any attacks — or at least make life difficult for those that try.

#2 – The Internet Of Things Is Exposing Us To More Hacks

The so-called Internet of Things is a neat term for describing humankind’s increasing dependence on software and “smart” devices. The feeling of having been hacked may soon be a universal experience rather than specific to companies.

#3 – Hacking Is Too Profitable

Ransomware is the term that has been coined to described hacks that are financially motivated, rather than just intended to cause chaos. On an individual basis, ransomware doesn’t seem that damaging — only those with deep, dark secrets would hand over money to protect them.

For companies, however, ransomware is a serious threat. They could be threatened with the exposure of their business practices or — more worryingly — at risk of leaking customer data, ruining customer confidence in them forevermore. So, businesses pay up. When hackers can guarantee a decent payday from a relatively small amount of work, of course they’re going to keep attempting it.

The permanent risk of hacking is something that society as a whole is going to have to come to terms with over the next few years. For as long as there are computers, hacking will be a problem — but that doesn’t mean you, or any huge company, should make it easy on them. Throw up defenses and keep innovating to ensure your online security is as good as it can possibly be.

Just a regular computer user. I write for regular users like me. When we grow up we are taught basic security tips like how to cross the street. But we are not taught how to take care of ourselves online.