You are Over Confident that your Home PC Won’t get Hacked
Imagine a complete stranger rifling through your purse, glove box, pockets and phone. You’re not comfortable with that, are you?
Nowadays, home PCs hold a myriad of personal files and information that most people wouldn’t be comfortable sharing. Search history, emails, instant messages, bank usernames and passwords, tax details and a host of other sensitive data can now be found on your home PC – and without adequate protection from cybercrime, this information could fall into the wrong hands.
Identity thieves and hackers target home computers because they know families often do not maintain adequate security protection on their PCs. This makes these family users easy, lucrative marks. Many hackers access your personal information in order to steal your money and your identity. Others might want to use your home computer as a shield to mask their identity as they steal from others.
But it won’t happen to me!
Identity theft is more common than you think – and the advent of the Internet has simplified the process for would-be thieves. It’s estimated that a quarter of all cases of identity theft originate on the Internet. More specifically, according to the Internet Fraud Complaint Centre, email and web pages dominate the fraud methodology, and the vast majority of victims actually have email contact with the perpetrator.
How can identity theft occur?
Anyone can fall victim to identity theft. Here’s how:
- Accessing the Internet from an unsecured PC—Without a security layer between your computer and the Internet, you invite hackers to steal your identity, destroy your files, or use your PC to attack others
- Obtaining potentially unwanted programs like spyware or adware on your PC—Malicious software programs may monitor your keystrokes, track your Internet logins, transmit your confidential information, or redirect your browser to fake web sites
- Sending personal information over the Internet—Hackers can easily retrieve sensitive data that is sent over an unsecured Internet connection
- Downloading files from friends and family or accepting unknown emails—You can obtain a virus, worm, or Trojan simply by accepting files from your friends, family, or others
- Not recognizing phishing scams or spam— Ever received a dodgy looking email claiming you’ve won big? All you have to do is send over your bank account details… Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and web sites to lure unsuspecting users into revealing private account or login information.
- Leaving your wireless network unsecured—Since your wireless network’s radio waves travel through walls, a hacker with a simple antenna could attack you from miles away to steal your information or to launch attacks from your PC
How you can fight identity theft
Common sense dictates some very obvious measures to protect yourself, your family and your computer. Make sure to set up parental controls to keep the kids from accidentally clicking on untrusted ads and websites. This includes not downloading files or clicking on hyperlinks sent by strangers, avoid storing financial information on your computer and using a secure browser.
Over-sharing on social media has desensitised our notion of online privacy, and it can be very easy to fall into complacency when sharing your personal information online. There are a number of ways that hackers can compromise your home PC and access information, most of which can be avoided with adequate security protection and a little online vigilance.
How do you keep your Home PC protected from Hackers?
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