Security questions

By newbie5678
Oct 6, 2003
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  1. Hi, I am new. I was wondering how safe are my web accounts like yahoo mail and imagestation? Are they easy to hack?
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Hacking a major web service provider is a real challenge, odds of someone embarassing a giant like Yahoo! and actually daring to do something harmful are quite small.

    Your login information is a whole other matter. Most logins done via web are sent totally unencrypted, so anyone on the same LAN as you can see your password if she likes, plus there may be people eavesdropping in some other point like your ISP for example (I'm being a bit too paranoid here).

    You may have noticed the option in Yahoo! to use a secure login. If you are concerned about your account security, use it. Most websites don't bother to set up a secure login system though.

    I don't know if yahoo actually bothers to serve its content securely too.. If no, then the content of your mail is freely available to anyone able to eavesdrop on your connection.

    If you don't watch out, any script kiddie can put a keylogger on your computer and record all your keystrokes. No security works against that besides smartcard readers or something equivalent.
  3. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Thanks. I understood everything you said except for the last paragraph :eek: What is a script kiddie? Does that refer to young hackers? How would they install a key logger on my computer?
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    They would install a key logger by infecting you with a virus of some sort. It could be a worm, or something similar. It infects your machine and sits there, capturing data from the keyboard, and logging it, perhaps occasionally sending its log out to somewhere.

    This is the kind of magic that one can do in C++.

    This kind of program is written by quite an experienced computer person. Who knows why..... probably to see if it can be done, as a kind of intellectual exercise, if you will.

    Then clueless script kiddies download it from some hACkErZ web site somewhere, and then use it on you. This kind of thing is fairly normal, thusly the need for firewalls, anti-virus software, security measures, etc.
  5. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    I see. How do they pick their victims? Is it as simple as knowing my ISP?

    I heard somewhere that doing windows update and downloading the service pack is enough to keep my computer safe from novice hackers. Should I install extra protection just in case?
  6. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    Install a software firewall, install antivirus software, keep both updated, also patch windows with all security related updates.
    This will keep most would be attackers at bay. Be smart when browsing websites, don't open unexpected email attachments, etc...

    Most attack attempts are either script kiddies playing with scan tools that find machines, then scan for open ports, or infected machines that are acting on the instruction of whatever malicious code has infected them.

    Its not as bad out there as some make it sound, but neither is it safe to be surfing the web without at least some protection.
  7. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    How about surfing the web with a proxy software? Would that conceal my ISP from hackers with scanning tools?
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Proxy software won't do anything more than a software firewall and will be much more difficult to manage. Unless you have several computers accessing the internet, proxy software is not needed.
  9. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    ok I see. but I don't understand how a hacker can find my ip address if it is concealed behind a proxy server?
  10. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Just understand that if you do the following:

    1)Install software firewall, such as Zone Alarm, keep it up to date with most recent version.

    2)Keep going to

    3)Keep an up to date, good quality virus software,

    then everything will be fine.
  11. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Your personal proxy server will have the exact same IP address than your personal PC would have. The hacker would just have another piece of software with possibilities to exploit.

    And hiding your IP is not a security feature
  12. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    What about surfing behind sites like and other proxy sites?
  13. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    A proxy server outside your local network is useless security wise because there is still internet between your computer and the proxy - anyone can still (try to) connect to your computer.

    If you want to protect your computer you need firewall software or even better, a separate device (a router or another computer) on your local network acting as a firewall between your computer and the internet.
  14. newbie5678

    newbie5678 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 33

    Thanks for all the info. I'll look into getting a firewall and the other stuff. :cool:

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