Hacking is mainly used to describe the activity of gaining access to a computer or phone system illegally, or without authorization. The main objective is to gain control of a computer and thus be able to change, transfer computer file or access data. Hackers are divided into two categories; white hat hackers and black hat hackers. The former use their advanced skills in programming and computer security to test and fix computer security issues. Black hat hackers use their skills to penetrate computer security and firewalls with a malicious objective.

hackingPeople hack computers and systems for different reasons. They may do it for fun and entertainment, by proving to themselves and to others that they can crack a password or access a highly secure system. They get personal gratification from these exercises. But mainly people hack to commit fraud or steal. Banks, big corporations with information that can be sold in the black market or credit card companies have been the major victims of hacking. This is because the hackers can steal something with high financial value. Others hack into systems just to create confusion and stop the normal processes of a company or institution. For example, they can hack and deny the users access to the system. For the white hats, they hack the system to expose the vulnerabilities of the system and improve the system by fixing the weaknesses exposed. In fact, most companies will hire hackers to try and access their systems, to test security protocols of the system.

With its origin from MIT in 1960, hacking was all about students who had deep interest in developing computing technology by exploring and trying new things rather than using computers just for punching numbers. They were, not really, the A kind of students, but rather students searching for entertainment, and creativity in computer programming and making the computer do what they want. The hackers were often at logger heads with the bureaucrats, like IBM, who created the rules to limit access to computers.

Hacking is not what is shown in Hollywood movies. It might not be as complicated or as simple as they show on screen. It’s all about breaking a computer security and gaining access. It might be as simple as accessing someone’s Facebook  account by guessing his or her password, or using something like network analyser that get access to  passwords, by capturing the packets being transmitted in the network. For example, Cain and Abel a password recovery tool, cracks password using dictionary, brute force or cryptanalysis. Brute force is where you try a list of possible passwords until you get the right one to access a network or computer system. It may take long or short time depending on the processing speed of your computer, the internet speed and security features of the computer you want to hack.  But there are software’s designed to perform the exercise. I will explain some common methods of hacking below.

Trojan horse programs

They are used by hackers to get a back door access to your system. Mostly it seems like a useful computer program but the main intention is either to harm your computer or open an entry point to your system. The infamous Trojan horse includes Net bus, Sub seven, and Back Orifice. They are mainly used for identity theft and other cybercrimes. They are mainly attached on emails and once they run on host computer, they work silently on the background, installing spyware or other misdeeds as they have been instructed. The only way to protect yourself from Trojans is making sure you scan all downloads before installing them on your computer. Have your antivirus and windows defender up to date as many hackers thrive on system weakness.

Distributed denial of service

This where very many computers target one computer, and sends a lot of messages that the computer cannot handle and eventually the computer shut down, or it’s so busy that legitimate users cannot access its services. It starts with the hacker accessing one computer which becomes the master. The master identifies other vulnerable computers and attacks them with malware and eventually the hacker uses the compromised computers to attack the target computer.  The main objective is make a machine or network service unavailable to its users. In September 2013, the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and Us Bank websites were among the victims of DDOS.


It is a technology that gets data from a network by reading and monitoring all data that passes through that network through a sniffer program like Cain and Abel. Most of the protocols like SMTP, HTTP are vulnerable to these programs as they send data and passwords that are not encrypted. Normally the sniffing tools are used to monitor network traffic and security by network administrators but can also be used by black hats to steal password and other relevant data. The advantage this method gives to the hacker is that it is very difficult to detect, especially in a network that uses a hub to connect computers in that network.


It is a method used to record all key strokes you make on a computer keyboard. It can either be a hardware device that connects the keyboard and the computer. The hardware saves the keystrokes logs in its built in memory and it is usually hidden from the user of the computer, as they look like normal computer peripherals. Software keystroke loggers can manage to capture screen shots, anything copied on the clipboard, any program or window opened and many others.

Mainly key loggers gather online banking information and password to enable banking fraud. Generally they don’t harm the system, as they are software’s used to gather password and other data for banking fraud or monitoring user activity. The best example was the theft of millions from a Scandinavian bank Nordea. The customers installed a Trojan by the name Haxdoor thinking they were installing an antispam. Later, the Trojan would activate an error message when the customers were registering with the bank online. From here the key logger software embedded in the Trojan would record customer information and the hacker used this info to loot more than $1 dollars from the customers

The main thing is that you want to protect yourself. Make sure that your anti-virus software is up to date and your firewalls are in place. If you do a lot of blogging, make sure you go with a hosting program that protects you as well. Just because a hosting program is cheaper than the next, doesn’t mean that it is a better deal. Do your due diligence and research on various hosting programs to ensure that you protect yourself above all else. Much better to pay a little more for a better program than to pay less and become a victim of hacking!



Data Corruption


Most of the average computer users have experienced the consequences of data data corruptioncorruption, like inaccessible files, unreadable content or missing files. Statistics suggest that 19% of data loss is caused by data corruption. This is quite a high rate to call for measures to prevent this. The consequences of data corruption are very frustrating, time consuming and expensive. System crushes, incorrect results and data loss are results of data corruption.

Computer downtime, time taken to restore backups and other customer contacts, are costly for any business especially small and medium enterprises whose sales and marketing function are more automated and they depend on customer databases. Those errors you receive when you try to open an audio, video or a picture file are caused by data corruption. Data corruption may happen when transmitting a file from one device to another, or when editing, and saving that data.

Data corruption is the loss of data integrity through deterioration of data, caused by intended or unintended changes in the primary data. A lot of organisations and individuals have experiences data corruption but choose to remain silent, because of the negative impacts associated with data corruption and data loss. Huge loss of revenue, and customer confidence especially where the data is highly sensitive and of a personal nature.

You can suspect that your system data is corrupted if it shows the following signs:

  1. You are missing some files or folders
  2. When you try to open a file, you get an error notice. For example the file format is not supported.
  3. Your computer takes longer than normal to open a program or file and frequently hangs or overheats, or have sudden shutdowns.
  4. Although you don’t have much on your PC, disk operation seem to busy
  5. You files are replicated and have funny names for example; x^%!\\\” .

There are many causes of data corruption on the top of the list being hardware failure followed by human error.

  1. Hardware failure

You have heard organization which woke up to non-responding servers, even though the servers were working optimum at the close of business of yesterday. Mostly it’s because of hardware failure.

A hardware failure is when a computer component, that is the electrical circuit or the electro-mechanical components of a computer are subject to a malfunction. This can be caused by variation in electricity voltage, either the voltage goes lower or higher than the expected. When the voltage levels are low, the computer is starved of adequate power to supply to all the input and output devices like keyboard, monitor, and can lead to system crash if this is repeated over and over again. System crash leads to data loss and corruption of the storage devices of the computer.

The worst is the silent data corruption that goes unnoticed until it is too late to recover data efficiently. Also abrupt increase in voltage or spikes damage hardware completely and data store therein.

There are other ways that damage can occur to hardware like fire, water and other physical damages. But most of these can be avoided by installing a good UPS that controls the variation in the electrical voltage. Also access to the physical hard drives can be limited to authorised persons only. Also the hardware should be placed on lifted areas, above susceptible flood areas.

  1. Human error

It the second greatest reason of data corruption and loss. Humans are the end users and designers of computer systems. They can corrupt data in the process of reading, writing or editing data, or when moving computers from one location to another. Most of us have accidentally formatted a hard drive, deleted a file or overwrote a file. Also we have dropped a computer or a storage device causing physical damage and rendered the computer or the drive unusable.

  1. Improper shutdowns

When you shut down your computer abruptly any active files can not save the changes. Especially if this happens amidst a write operation, the data will be corrupted and this might affect other directories. This does not affect the hardware as much. But in case of transfer of files from one drive to another, the data in both drives might be corrupted or lost.

  1. Computer malware and viruses

Malware are malicious software’s designed to with the intention to destroy, or change the normal operations of genuine software’s. Normally they acquire entry to the system when you connect your system with an infected system or when you download content from the internet and they are attached to that content.  In 2009, a malware took down Amazon website and affected very many customers of amazon and the losses incurred were huge as it hit Amazon on Christmas holidays when they have a high season. Conficker a computer worm affecting the windows operating system also caused a lot of damage to the security features of windows, enabling access to administrator passwords, credit card passwords and other sensitive data. This year the backoff malware targeting point of sale systems and stealing credit card information has affected a number of companies.

To safeguard yourself from malware infection and its consequences install a good anti-virus software and always ensure that your computer is always up to date, especially windows defender, and your anti-virus software.  The anti-virus should be real time that provides background scans automatically without the user having to prompt.

To safeguard against data corruption and ultimately data loss, the following strategies should be followed.

  1. Always ensure you have a reliable Uninterruptible Power Supply to safeguard against power blackouts, surges and spikes.
  2. Have installed an up to date antivirus
  3. Have an effective backup, and if possible multiple backups, and not in the same location as the primary file.
  4. Frequently scan for errors on the hard disks and attempt recovery of bad sectors on the hard disk. Frequently verify data integrity by performing a checksum.

With help of available data recovery software’s you can recover huge part of lost data but it’s impossible to return to the position before data corruption. The higher the percentage recovered the higher the cost associated and time taken. No matter the type of damage or the cause of data loss, the user should avoid using the computer, immediately he or she discovers data corruption. This is to avoid overwriting the files and making recovery impossible. Seek advice from an IT specialist on how best to recover the data and mitigate the loss.





Data Disk Recovery

Prior to addressing how data is lost and how it is recovered, it is important to know what exactly data recovery is.

This is the process of handling and salvaging data through the information from corrupted, damaged, inaccessible and failed secondary storage media once it cannot be accessed in the normal way. Prior to starting the process of recovering data, it is important to verify that the files are not accessible in any normal means. This is because the location of the files might have moved to another place. To verify this, you should search for the files that you believe are missing in the hard drive. This is done by running search or find on your computer. If you do not obtain the file, it is most probable, that you have lost the data. The next step from this, is to figure out a way on how to recover data that is missing. There are various forms that can be taken by loss of data. Data could have been lost through the following ways;

  • Data corruption
  • Accidental deletion
  • Software bugs
  • Hard drive failure
  • Simple power failure
  • Hacking

Data recovery specialists are considered when missing data was stored in solid state drive, hard drive and USB stick among other storage media. Purchasing a software for disk data recovery is an effective way to get your data back. If your computer system has been damaged or corrupted to the extreme, data recovery is not always possible. However, technology of data recovery has been advanced extremely to an extent that data can be recovered from a disk found in a plane crash.

Disk data recovery method to be used is determined by how you lost the data in the first place. Here, are various forms of data loss and how such data is recovered.

Hard drive data recovery

The first thing you should do in order to recover data from a hard drive is to ascertain whether you lost your data due to physical failure of the hard drive. The physical failure can be caused by a broken hardware. The other way that you could have lost your data other than physically, is by logical drive failure. Logical drive failure is caused by loss of data or file system or corruption of files. Signs of a physical failure of the hard drive include the following;

  • An excessive hot drive
  • Failure to spin
  • A loud grinding or clicking noise
  • An abnormal noise like ticking while the computer’s drive is reading data
  • A sign of “not initialized’’ in windows disk management

You should be aware that having a USB drive connected externally tops up an extra layer of USB gadgets between the computer and the hard disk. The components of the USB, therefore, can contribute to failure. Hence, you should remove the USB gadget and look for alternative methods to connect it.

Not initialized notice on the windows disk management

The windows disk management’s work is to list all the recognized physical drives. Therefore, the notice of not initialized is a sign of an error in the basic communication.

Failure of the drive to spin

If your drive is not spinning despite being correctly powered, this can be a sign that the hard drive printed circuit board (PCB) has a problem. The PCB carries the gadgets which are responsible for regulating the communication of the computer with the operation of the drive. The PCB can be replaced, but only by a professional who is experienced in hard drive data recovery. To replace the PCB, you must use an identical model and make. The firmware to be held must also be identical as that of the original board.

Recovering data from a hard drive can be done by running a software for data recovery and manage to obtain the data. A hard drive data recovery service is another way of obtaining data from a physically damaged hard drive which is only conducted by specialists to avoid loss of data.

File deletion

If you accidentally delete a file, you should not worry as the file remains in your drive up to the time it’s overwritten. Therefore, you should act fast and recover the lost data. For example, if you were using Microsoft word, and you delete a document which you had not saved accidentally, you can use the undo icon to retrieve your lost data. You can also use the recycle bin software to get your data back if you had saved it.

File corruption

It is possible to recover data from a corrupted file. To do this, you should connect the hard drive to a separate computer. Once you do this, you might realize that the only thing that was corrupted was the operating system. Once you realize that your data was okay, copy it to another hard drive. For file corruption, you may realize that the partition table was the one corrupted. You can use the right software to get your data back.

Solid state drive data recovery

Data that is missing from a solid state drive can be recovered, especially through the emergence of the ultrabook software. However, because this is a new technology, it seems more challenging than getting data from a hard drive that is traditional.

Just like file deletion, file system formatting damages stored information. The structure of the disk and the previous files are destroyed, however, the extent of damage depends on the formatting of the system. It is possible to retrieve your data from some file systems such as NTFS which you only need to overwrite using similar file system.

Most of disk data recovery is done by specialists and data recovery software. These two do a great job of retrieving your information which was missing or had been lost through the various forms we have discussed above. Some data loss may need you to spend a lot of money, spend a lot of time and engage you in risky adventures. It is for this reason, why everyone is urged to create numerous backups of their data. Taking measures to inhibit file corruption will go a long way to prevent your data from getting lost through malicious software.