This article is part of a series on The Top 5 IT Threats

With more and more news of hackers’ malicious intent, their threat to your computer is too serious to be ignored. Although traditionally, businesses were thought of as the main targets for hackers, the focus has been shifting recently from more secure corporations, to susceptible personal computers.

The main objective of any ill-willed hacker is to find a weakness in your security, then use that to fulfill their needs. This chink in the armor is all that is needed to take your brand new laptop and make it useless. Hackers are just computer savvy people who have chosen to use their skills for bad rather than good. Their game plan changes constantly, in order to keep you off balance. Think you’re prepared for an attack because you have MacAfee 2004 anti-virus software on your computer? Probably not. In the same way that the flu vaccine needs to be changed every year, your computer’s security needs to be updated as often as possible. The hacker’s toolbox is very big, but some of the more common ones are explained here.

Data Theft: Often in the form of ransom-ware or crypto-viruses, everything from your baby pictures, to your banking and credit card information is up for grabs. In the case of ransom ware, all data on your computer(s) is stolen and encrypted. But things don’t stop there. Next the hackers will require money to be forked over, in order to get your data back. A recent twist in the ransom ware case is bit-coin being used as payment since it cannot be tracked or reversed like a credit card.

Phishing emails: Unfortunately these emails don’t have much to do with the band “Phish” or whatever else the subject line may be!  Their goal is to catch your attention with a subject line and email message that you will read, and once you open the email, malware infects your computer, or even worse, your entire network. As with other threats, hackers are constantly changing the malware, delivery, and even look of these emails, making up to date security measures more necessary than ever. For some great tips on how to recognize and avoid phishing emails, take a look at Microsoft’s great article.

Botnets: This is one of the more recent hacker developments. A botnet is a group of computers that is controlled by the hacker who infected them. Not just something out of the Terminator movies anymore, these groups of computers can cause some real trouble: sending out spam emails, malware, and taking down important websites. The worst part about botnets is that your computer could be a part of one, and you won’t even know it.

Hackers play the integral role in every online threat; at some point, everything comes down to the guys who make the viruses, steal the data, and launch the attacks. Like most IT issues, avoiding them is easier than recovering from a problem, especially when it comes to your PC.

Same Day Computer offers top of the line IT services and security evaluations to prevent and reverse damage caused to your computer by hackers.  If you ever have a question about whether you should open an email or click on a link, please don’t hesitate to call us first and we will give you our best recommendation!  We can be reached at 603-524-1400 or by email at