The black hacks aim to wreak havoc on companies and individuals around the world by infecting their computers with worms and viruses while the white hacks are busily trying to stop them.
This silent war made the headlines last week after Microsoft put a £150,000 bounty on the heads of two black hack virus writers who were behind the Blaster and SoBig viruses, which have infected millions of computers around the world.
Meanwhile, Royal Bank of Scotland’s online retail payment system, WorldPay, was brought to its knees after hackers, probably in the Ukraine, bombarded the website with bogus requests.
ut the white hacks – who devise programmes to counter the viruses and worms – and security specialists are fighting back.
This week, one of Jersey’s own Knights Templar in the battle, Evolution Systems, held a seminar to outline the black hacks’ latest wizardry and demonstrate the weapons in its own arsenal.
It went very well and people were genuinely surprised when we showed just how easy it is for hackers to access information on their computer,’ said Evolution director Nigel Renouf.
‘One hacking method we demonstrated was remote key logging which can extract important details while the user remains completely oblivious.
With remote key logging, a virus can be quietly installed while someone is online.
The programme can then send details to any computer worldwide, including online banking information.
The programme, called a Trojan horse, could be a link on a legitimate-looking website or an innocuous-looking email but it will be automatically installed once you click on it.