Seven reasons why someone would want to hack your computer.

hacked-pc

People constantly ask me: Why would someone want to hack my PC? I only use email and am careful with online banking. Why would they be interested in hacking my computer? There is nothing of interest on my computer.

Well, think again!

In this post I will give you seven reasons why someone could be interested in hacking your PC. I will not go into details here, but I will post in this blog and on the website some follow-up reading about different hacking methods and preventive measures in the coming weeks.

credit-card1. Financial access. Obtaining credit card and bank numbers are the first items of interest that come to mind when we think of hacking. This is certainly a potential goal for the hackers.

 

 

spam

2. Hosting a website.  Since your computer is connected to the internet, it can function as a web server. This means that someone can use your local computer to host their websites via the internet. Examples of such websites are Malware download sites, phishing websites, Spam websites and websites with illegal content. If this happens, it would seem as if you are the content provider.

webmail

3. Email harvesting. Email addresses  stored on your computer have value. They can be sold for phishing and spam attacks. Webmail hacking is also popular nowadays. Hackers can compromise a webmail account and try to get into other accounts using your email address. They will do a password reset and will direct the new code or a password to the hacked webmail account. Another popular misuse is sending an email to all your contacts saying that you need help and asking them to send money. See an example here. Hackers are also known to secretly read your emails and pretend they are you when they know you are abroad or not available/reachable.

zombie-computer

4. Zombie computer. Your computer can start functioning on its own. It can be part of a coordinated attack on a server, a so-called Ddos attack.  A lot of these zombie computers try to generate and overload internet traffic on a server. As a result the webpages on the server become unavailable because it cannot cope with the traffic. Hackers can also use your computer as a proxy server so that the traffic generated by the hacker goes through your computer. This way, anything he/she does to other computers seems to come from your computer. Creating a spam zombie is also common practice.

 

login-secure-member

5. Login credentials and reputation misuse. If you have a good online reputation, for example on eBay, then your account has value. Your security certificates, stored on your local computer used for logging into your workplace, are also of great interest.

 

 

 

on-line-game

6. Licence keys and virtual goods. Hackers can want to copy the licence keys imbedded in your software and sell them. Most underestimated, but most sought after, are the passwords for online games. Hackers aim to get access to those characters in which the gamer has invested a lot of time and money. This is a million dollar market.

 

webcam-computer7. Hostage attacks. So called hostage attacks are becoming more and more common. You have documents and pictures on your hard disk that are of great importance to you. Hackers can encrypt those files, which ten become inaccessible to you unless you pay to get the key to access those files again. If you don’t have a good PC back-up, then you have a real problem. Be aware that Dropbox or Google drive are not the best solutions to prevent hostage attacks They automatically synchronise files,which will get encrypted as well, and can spread to other computers.

Another type a hostage attack is the fake anti-virus scam. You are warned that you have a virus (and you really do), but the hackers offer to sell you a licence key for their fake anti-virus programme. Obviously, your computer is still infected with the fake anti-virus virus.

keyEmail lockout is one more example of a hostage attack. If a hacker resets the password of your email account you can be locked out. If you are willing to pay, the hacker will provide you with the new password.

 

 

And as a bonus – webcam extortion. If a hacker takes over your computer, he/she also takes over your webcam. Everything that the webcam can see can be used against you.

Congratulations. You made it to the end. I hope you found this post informative. Please add your comments below.

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