Hacking by its simplest definition is the use of a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system. The focus of this article is the ‘unauthorized access’ section of this definition.

As much as hackers are programmers, not all programmers are hackers. Some programmers are developers, us those that were formally taught to manipulate code to solve problems. In Kenya there have been several cases of computer hacking all with different motives for a hacker. The major aim for hackers is getting paid for their illegal access and also getting information, since in the 21st Century information is the new oil. Knowledge is power.

A common technique used by hackers to gain access to a system is social engineering. The best of hackers are very good social engineers. If you have watched Mr. Robot, you realize hacking is not only about bootleg access of a remote computer using your computer. We all know humans can be vulnerable to sweet talking criminals and will give out their passwords with slight manipulation, ask Mr. Pennywise. Trojan horses, phishing or sending viruses to your email (pdf files with the .exe extension) are some of the many techniques that are used to gain unauthorized entry to a computerized system.

After the WannaCry Ransomware attack, well, the rightful phrase is ‘We are Fucked’. However, we can take solace in the knowledge that in Kenya, the situation here is the ‘ebu tungoje elections ziishe’ one. We are hopeful hackers will be human enough not to add more misery to us, amen. And also we can take heart that if they decide to hack us, we at least have the know-how on handling such hacks. Or do we?

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