For years, hacking and hackers have been glamorized in the movies.
While the hacking shown in these movies bears little
resemblance to real life, the everyday dangers of hacking,
viruses, trojans and numerous other methods for stealing
data are very real. While nobody is going to walk into a coffee shop,
log into a public computer and hack the world -- the person sitting in
the corner, on their laptop could be stealing the data from everyone
logged into that wireless network.
Hacking is a 'game' between good guys and bad guys. For
every hack, there is an anti-hack. For every piece of bad software,
there is a good piece of software to prevent the hack. The
time between a new hack being discovered or created and the time it
takes to close the flaw and get everyone to use the fix is critical. New viruses and
Trojans come out every day -- and every day, the
software companies work to close these loops.
looking for a way to get into computers of other people. Whether by
using the latest piece of hacking software or by deceiving
an unsuspecting user, they look for a back door into your data. You might think, "I don't have anything on my computer that's worth
it". Even if you don't store personal information on your computer,
your computer itself has value to a hacker by giving them a place to drop
illegal content and store it -- without your knowledge. Using your computer as their proxy server lets them
use stolen credit cards to buy things using your IP address!
Because this is a game of give and take as previously discussed,
there is no magic bullet to prevent hackers and there never will be.
No matter how much money or resources you spend in designing the
perfect system, someone will find the way to crack it. Hackers have
cracked government agencies, big banks and major retailers. If they
want in, they will find a way.
Fortunately, most people are not the target of such intense
scrutiny. Keeping abreast of the latest patches for your computer
and buying and implementing the latest security software will keep
you safe from all but the most determined attackers.
What can you
do to keep yourself safe from everyday dangers lurking in email, on
One of the greatest dangers is surfing at the
local coffee shop, hotel or airport. These wireless networks are
insecure and anyone on them has access to everyone else's data. It
is essential to use a
Personal VPN when using any kind of public Wi-Fi network.
The Personal VPN encrypts all your data making it invisible to the
local network. Your VPN privacy is assured and you can rest easy
no hacker is getting to your data as you sip your latte.
Make sure your operating system
is constantly updated. The software manufacturers continuously put out patches to fix
holes and faults in their systems. These patches will
prevent you from being attacked by a newly-discovered means. Most
operating systems and software today have an 'auto update' feature.
Turning it on is the simplest thing you can do to improve your security.
Your computer needs to be firewalled to prevent hackers from entering
it via your internet connection. At the very least, you should
implement the firewall that ships with your operating system. This will
be adequate for most people. Several
companies have firewall products that are very strong and secure.
Antivirus and Anti-Spyware:
Both email and web pages are used as ways to deliver
malicious software to your computer. Having high quality antivirus and
anti- spyware on your computer is essential. These programs are
free or inexpensive and worth their weight in gold.
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