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What Is Fake Hacking?

Fake hacking involves someone pretending to have hacked their target. Although it does not always have a lasting impact like other different types of hacking, fake hacking can be used to extort money from organizations by making them think they have been infiltrated by ransomware

Fake hackers can sometimes use what is called a hacker typer, a website that makes it look as if the user has been hacked. While this is relatively innocent and can be easy to spot, other methods can be so convincing that the victim thinks their system has been breached by a real hacker, such as with the SunBurst hack.

How Does Fake Hacking Work?

Fake hacking works by making the target think they have actually been hacked. If you do not know how to spot a fake hacker, it is easy for a fake hacking troll to use one of the following methods to fool you:

  1. A hacker typer website that gives you a screen like the kind you would see if you had been hacked
  2. An email that informs you you have been “hacked” and your system has been penetrated by ransomware
  3. An alert on a fake website that claims you have been hacked and need to pay to bolster your cybersecurity
  4. A pop-up that claims your computer has ransomware or another serious type of malware when, in reality, it is only infected by adware

If the fake hack is successful, the victim may transfer money from a bitcoin wallet they create according to the hacker’s directions. They may also purchase a “service” that they think will free them from the grips of the supposed hacker.

How To Recognize Fake Hacking

Money

If someone is asking you for money, especially a relatively small amount, in return for freeing your computer from ransomware, you may be a victim of fake hacking.

Changes

When you have actually been hacked, you will see changes to your system. If the attacker is claiming they have penetrated your system but it continues to function as normal, the attack is probably fake.

Less Organization

Fake hackers will lack things like a real website or an authentic email address. This lack of organization is a key marker of a fake hacking attack.

How To Deal with a Fake Hacking Attack

Check Before You Act

If you suspect you have been breached by a real hacker, know that it is often easy to tell a legitimate hacker from an irritating lurker. Before engaging with a hacker—to any degree—check to see if their threats are legitimate. For example, if they claim your computer has been overtaken by ransomware, check if it is functioning as it normally would.

You should also read the details of the message. They may try to blackmail you with videos of you doing inappropriate things, supposedly taken with your computer’s camera. If you have not done any of those things, then you are clearly being targeted by a fake hacker.

Employ An Ex-hacker

Former hackers can see the difference between real and fake hacks. They can also let you know which areas of your network or system are the most vulnerable. In some cases, they may be able to sniff out attacks that have previously escaped your notice.

Get Clued Up

Inform those in your organization what a fake hack looks like. Provide them with examples and outline what they should do if they think they have been hacked. Also, tell them who to contact if they suspect they are being targeted, as well as what not to do, such as purchase protection, pay a ransom, or enter any personal information.

How Fortinet Can Help

The FortiGuard antivirus service can stop a variety of malware attacks, easing your and your organization’s concerns about getting hacked. FortiGuard uses the latest threat intelligence to identify legitimate attackers and stop them before they damage your network, computer, or mobile device. FortiGuard antivirus services update automatically every hour to ensure you have the most up-to-date protection for a more secure network.

FAQs

What is fake hacking?

Fake hacking involves someone pretending to have hacked their target. Although it can be done as a joke, fake hacking is also used to extort money from organizations by making them think they have been infiltrated by ransomware.

How does fake hacking work?

Fake hacking works by making the target think they have actually been hacked. If the fake hack is successful, the victim may transfer money from a bitcoin wallet they create according to the hacker’s directions.

How to recognize fake hacking

If the hacker is asking for money, there have not been any significant changes to your computer, and they lack the organizational infrastructure of real hackers, such as a website or email, they are most likely fake.

How to deal with a fake hacking attack?

To deal with a fake hacking attack, check your system and the nature of the threats for validity, employ an ex-hacker to verify the authenticity of the attack, and make sure everyone in your organization knows how to spot a fake hacking attack, as well as what to do if they suspect they are the target of an attack.