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This means they adopt the role of a real hacker and use the same tools that real hackers use to try and break into a company's computer systems, to identify vulnerabilities.The ethical hacker then tells the company what they have found, so that it can fix the vulnerabilities before a real hacker discovers and exploits them.However, Gmail works differently, in that it 'prefetches' the image, meaning it is Google that contacts the sender's email server and retrieves the image rather than the receiver's computer. Without thinking I clicked the 'confirm you know Rachel' button. They had gathered as much information as they could about me from public sources, and they had a profile of my computer, so they knew how to construct the malware which would later infect it.Knowing what they knew, they could have gone down the personal route, using information about my family or fiance to target me.They also included brief instructions for downloading the file on a Windows PC.When I received the email alarm bells started ringing.Instead they decided to appeal to my journalistic instincts.
The attached document appeared to be a file, which required me to download a tool called Win RAR to extract the file.
Whether you're a nation or a citizen, cyber security is an ever-growing issue – new hacks or data breaches emerge daily, in which people's information is exposed or leaked, from bank details to intimate photographs.
But is the threat of being hacked something that you or I really need to worry about?
Normally, when an email contains an image, the receiver's email client has to contact the sender's email server in order to 'fetch' the image.
This is when the hackers would have been able to fingerprint the computer. This time the hackers created an email that appeared to be a request from another Telegraph journalist to connect on Linked In: I admit that Linked In is the one social network on which I do accept requests even if I do not know the person. The request was sent back to the hackers and they had fingerprinted my computer: I later discovered that even if I had pressed 'Unsubscribe' they would have been able to fingerprint my computer in the same way. The ethical hackers were now ready to launch their attack.