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Cybersafe October 31, 2019

Myths and Misconceptions about Hacking

HOLLYWOOD and popular culture like to have us think that hacking is done by basement-dwelling computer experts, who attempt to access data from major institutions by using flashy software and lightning fast reflexes. However, the reality is different. Here are some common ideas we have about hacking that are actually false.


Myth: Hackers only go after large institutions. 

Busted: If you ever meet a black hat hacker (or hackers who hack to harm), chances are that they steal credit card information or identities of ordinary, unsuspecting people. It’s less likely that they’re working on infiltrating a big spy operation or breaking into government websites.


Myth: Hackers can’t access your data when you’re in incognito mode. 

Busted: Mentalfloss says it best: “Never assume that information sent over during a “private” session is really private.” Though incognito mode doesn’t save data on your local device, it still sends data to your Internet Service Provide (IPS), so you’re not totally safe. 


Myth: Hackers can’t hack into smartphones. 

Busted: It is more difficult to hack into mobile phones and smartphones, but don’t be fooled and think they’re less vulnerable than desktops or laptops. Hackers can get into WiFi networks, so if your phone is connected, it won’t be too much of a problem for them to get your data. 


Myth: All hacking is illegal.

Busted: This isn’t necessarily true, since it depends on the purpose of the hack. There are actually white hat hackers who hack to protect. These people are usually employed by different institutions to strengthen security measures and to find black hat hackers, which they do by hacking as well. 


Myth: Hacking means having physical access to the target. 

Busted: We often see in films how characters need to attach a device to a computer to hack into it. However, hackers can easily exploit different vulnerabilities without having to leave a room.  Phishing, for example, is a method where hackers access data once you click suspicious links and emails. 


This article is part of the Banker’s Association of the Philippines’ (BAP) #CyberSafe campaign, where the BAP aims to promote awareness in cybersecurity. The campaign will upload new posts tackling common web security questions and issues, on Wednesdays and Sundays every week. 


For more content on cybersecurity, visit the BAP Official YouTube channel