I’m sure most of you guessed by my recent flurry of posts on Facebook that the TV show 24 is my fave. I love the action, intrigue, and of course the computer hacker, Chloe! There’s nothing she can’t do when her fingers fly across her keyboard. Have you ever wanted to be like her? Hacking into systems to help beat the clock and get the bad guys? I confess, I haveFirewall copy.

I know today the term computer hacker has a negative connotation to it. They play havoc and download viruses to steal identities. However, there are those who work for the good guys. DiAnn Mills tells us about the research she did for her newest release, Firewall. Let’s see what she found.

Take it away, DiAnn!

Copy that!

P.S. Read to the very end to find out how you can win an autographed copy of Firewall!

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In Firewall, a computer hacker’s work escalates into a critical issue. Taryn Young, my heroine is a software developer who is determined to stop a hacker from penetrating a software program and prevent the loss of lives and property.

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The ability to hack a computer system requires an intelligent and highly motivated individual. Few colleges and universities teach the needed skills, which means the potential hacker seeks to learn through somewhat illegal means by locating hacker communities who are willing to share their expertise. Some love the idea of learning how to make an impact in the world of technology. Others soon realize the harm that can be done.

In my novel, the hacker’s motivation is greed, money, and power.

The research about hackers, the types, characteristics, and levels of expertise, is fascinating.

Hackers are good guys or bad guys. White Hats is the label used for ethical hackers. These pre-authorized individuals break into their own company’s systems to test security and software. They work to see how deeply they can penetrate a computer system’s access and data to expose vulnerabilities so they can be remedied. The International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants is an organization that furthers the development of ethical hacking through classes, certifications, and continuous training. My heroine is at the top of the list as a White Hat.

Bad guy hackers are generally referred to as Black Hats. They have their own agenda, and their methods are illegal. Mildly put, the bad guy/girl hackers are out to breech security systems to demonstrate their ability to capture and/or destroy data.

A Grey Hat hacker uses the skills and expertise of a Black Hat and White Hat. These persons hack into a system, find the vulnerable areas, and report the findings to the administrator. Often, they offer to repair the weakened system for a fee.

My heroine has an elite status. She uses an alias as a Black Hat hacker so she can keep up to date on their methods of disrupting or damaging and protecting computer systems.

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Other classifications of those involved in securing and protecting information on computer systems can be found here:  http://www.ehow.com/facts_5003123_types-computer-hackers.html

Firewall involves hackers seeking information inside a computer system in which a software program has been protected by a firewall. This is part of a software program or a computer system that serves to prohibit unauthorized access. My heroine has designed a software program with a superior firewall.

A back door is simply a method a code developer might program into an application which permits him/her to gain access into an application or system without using the typical “logon credentials”or normal front door method of gaining access to the application or system. It’s not documented anywhere since it serves as a point of exposure. This approach allows a developer to more easily provide support even if the normal method of gaining access isn’t operational. Someone could use the backdoor in an unethical manner and either destroy or plant a virus. My heroine is aware of a backdoor in her software, but what happens if it’s hacked?

A race for time and the source of the hacker keeps my heroine and the hero on the move. Will they find the bad guy before it’s too late – and survive?

Have you considered being a computer hacker? Leave a comment below and be entered for a personalized copy of Firewall. Contest ends midnight, Saturday, July 12th (EST). 

DiAnn Mills Bio

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She currently has more than 55 books published.

Picture 085Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2014 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; and a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a craftsman mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild.

She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. Visit her website at www.diannmills.com and connect with her on Facebook  (www.facebook.com/diannmills), Twitter (twitter.com/diannmills), Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/DiAnnMills), and Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/DiAnnMills).

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