If you’re not exactly an expert on programming and information technology, don’t expect to catch a hacker because chances are, you won’t. This is someone who knows what he’s doing, otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to cheat sophisticated systems. Also, he’s probably thought of every common method that non-experts will likely use to pin him down, so don’t waste your time. Instead, if your system ever ends up being hacked and you’re positive you’ve stored your personal information there such as your usernames and passwords for your credit and bank accounts, inform the concerned authorities immediately. This way, they can freeze transactions using your details and damage will be avoided or kept to a minimum.
While you may not be able to catch a hacker in the act, you can look into some important clues that you can submit to police. For example, if the crook attacked you system through an email attachment, then you’re in luck because it’s considerably easy to track the source as long as you haven’t junked the email. Just click on “Display extended header data” or anything that says the same. Most hackers use a local e-mail server which means header data will probably display an IP address, host and domain name.
Some attacks come as an ongoing process and you’ll definitely find them much more difficult to trace. You’re going to have to rely on your logs, though, if your you’ve programmed your system to store such. If you do have logs, examine them and look out for particularly suspicious activity at the time you suspected you were being hacked. If you don’t get anything useful, you can have your ISP do the tracking. They have their own logs and can easily scan these logs upon request. When you do get an IP address, search for information about the owner of that address through applicable websites dedicated to identifying owners behind IPs. And then it’s best for you to get as much details as possible about this person who appears to have attacked your system. And don’t forget to note down the exact time it happened.
When you have at least an IP address, host and domain name, you can present these to the police or the FBI and have your complaint processed at the soonest time. What they’ll probably do is freeze the hacker’s account initially and make him pay legally with a trial and a penalty as prescribed by the state in which the hacking occurred. In other words, there remains the option of prosecuting that hacker.
If you suffered losses as a result of the attack and have received a full refund, you may not want to have anything to with prosecuting the hacker. However, this can send all the wrong signals to every hacker in the world. They ‘ve probably already started to believe they’ll never have to pay for their crimes and this is a very scary scenario. For the sake of avoiding similar attacks, either against you or other people, it’s important to sacrifice a little of our precious to make it clear that hacking is a serious crime and perpetrators will be penalized.