Why Should You Change The Defaults On All Of Your Software?

In the eyes of a black hat hacker, anything that the user does which is routine for them is a good thing. If you take breaks at the same time while you are using the computer or if you go to a certain web site at a set time, it is all useful information to them. The reason why this is true is because you have to program the software that you are going to use to set an attack at a select time. There are tricks that a software programmer can do when the time is an unknown variable but when the attacker already knows the time then it makes it that much easier. You will be able to take down your target all without coming up with a hard to figure algorithm that is based on time.

The same is true when it comes to the attacks on the software that people use. When you are looking to attack a person, you look at their habits. When you are looking to attack a piece of software then you look at the default configuration for it. When you install a program on the computer it is always going to have a default way that it configures unless you change it. It makes the installation of the software go quicker and less chances that something goes wrong. This is why if you want to help keep your computer safe then you must change the default position of the software that is installed on there. While this is not a cure all by any means, it will help to make sure that attacking the software will at least become a little more difficult.


How software is made

While some people think that the process of making software is magic, it really is not. It is a process that tells the computer what to do step by step. It may not seem like it to the person that is looking at it from the outside but it really is. The reason why the computer seems as if it is making decisions on its own is because the programmers use a technique that is called branching. For example, you have the “if” branch. This tells the computer to do something and if the conditions are not met then do something else. Also you have a branch called “while”. This tells the computer to do something “while” this is happening.

While these are both useful, it introduces uncertainty into the computer. So to make sure that a program is going to work, a programmer would rather have it so that the computer automatically defaults to a certain option. When you are installing the software into the computer for the first time, one of the options that it will ask you is where do you want to install it. Most people just hit the default position. While this makes sure that the program is going to run smoothly, it also allows a potential black hat hacker to know where the target is going to be at.

The attacker finding the target

When the attacker is able to know exactly where the target is at, he is able to do a lot of things. If you had instead installed the software into a non default position then the attacker would now have to find it. This is not impossible for an attacker to do but it is not easy either. The more uncertainty that is added to the execution of their malware, the more the chances rise that it is not going to work. This is a good thing for you and a bad thing for the attacker.

As I said before, while changing the default installation of a program makes it harder for a black hat hacker to attack that program is does not make it impossible. There are ways for the attacker to find that program. They can look into the registry; do a scan of the computer and a number of other techniques as well. But as you see, when an attacker does this you have made the attack more difficult and also a better chance of you noticing and stopping the attack.

Changing the default installation of the program is not the only thing that you can do to make an attack on your system harder. Depending on the software that you are downloading there are other default settings that you can change as well. It is up to you to look at the software and see what is smart to change and what is not.

When you want to stop the bad guys from winning the war of cyber security you must be able to try out all the different tricks that are available to you. The more things that you try, the harder you make their job.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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