Hacking refers to activities that seek to compromise digital devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and even entire networks. And while hacking might not always be for malicious purposes, nowadays most references to hacking, and hackers, characterize it/them as unlawful activity by cybercriminals—motivated by financial gain, protest, information gathering (spying), and even just for the “fun” of the challenge.
How can hackers find you ?
Anyone who uses a computer connected to the Internet is susceptible to the threats that computer hackers and online predators pose. These online villains typically use phishing scams, spam email or instant messages and bogus websites to deliver dangerous malware to your computer and compromise your computer security. Computer hackers can also try to access your computer and private information directly if you are not protected by a firewall. They can monitor your conversations or peruse the back-end of your personal website. Usually disguised with a bogus identity, predators can lure you into revealing sensitive personal and financial information, or much worse.
What are things that a hacker can do to you ?
The hacker could be anywhere, across the street, across the country or even across the other side of the world. No matter where they are, they can copy photos from your computer onto theirs, or delete whatever they want. They can steal your personal data or delete programs you have on your computer.
- Stealing passwords : If a hacker only knows the username to your bank or credit card accounts, there’s not much damage they can do. However, if they also know your passwords, your accounts could be fully compromised.
- Stealing programs…or storing them : Hackers have been known to store stolen software programs on the computers of their victims. The hacker then lets his cronies know where they can find the free software—on your computer. So now the number of hackers that are coming through your computer port increases
- Your computer can be used to attack other computers : Sometimes hackers will take over a computer, sometimes thousands of them, to launch an attack on a website they’ve targeted. It could be a company or government agency they have a beef with, or a popular website they simply want to take offline for a day. When the security specialists start searching for the online culprits, the digital/electronic trail will lead to the computers of innocent, and totally unaware, victims. Meanwhile, the hacker or hackers go unidentified…that is, until they boast about their joke.
How to protect your computer from hacking?
When you arm yourself with information and resources, you’re wiser about computer security threats and less vulnerable to threat tactics. Hackers and predators pose equally serious and but very different threats.
- Don’t access personal or financial data with public Wi-Fi : This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people check their bank accounts or make purchases with a credit card while using public Wi-Fi. It’s best to do those things on a secure connection.
- Use a password, lock code or encryption : Make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long, with a mix of upper and lower case, and include numbers or other characters, and never use the auto-complete feature for passwords.
- Trace or erase : Make sure your data is secure if your mobile device is stolen or lost. You can set up your device to lock itself after a pre-set number of failed log-in attempts.
- Choose your apps wisely : Only download apps from trustworthy sources that have established a good reputation.