The 21st Century Computer Hacker

Remember the old movies where they show a Hacker trying to get the right user name and password to get access to a system? This is a case of that was then, and this is now. The latest Hacker tool of choice is called a screen scraper. A screen scraper, or data scraper allows an outsider to gather data from your screen.

It does this by looking at the data – thus no intrusion is detected. When the outsider collects enough screen information, they will go in, go directly after targeted data or accounts, and simply transfer information or money to themselves. Unfortunately small to midsized firms fall prey to these types of criminals. These criminals target banks, corporations and even small community governments.

The last incident I heard of targeted a bank which had many customers who had high value accounts. The crooks know that protecting against such intrusion takes time, manpower and persistence. It would probably surprise you to hear that simple screen scraping tools are available on the open market for a little as $50.00.

Meanwhile you can lose millions. You might want to talk to your own Information Technology or IT Security group to see how they protect against it. If they don’t have a quick and easy answer, you might want to talk to larger firms in your area, or in your industry.

The sad news is – there are many countries that the FBI and the CIA cannot enter into for restitution. These countries hire teams of people who are employed to look for such valuable data. Typically they get into a system after hours, and very quickly go after targeted files.

They can cause a very large loss in one weekend to unsuspecting people or to a business. To get more information on this subject, please Google the words “screen scraping, or “data scraping.”