Hacking by Governments or Criminals has Become a Real Threat

hackingHacking is now a danger that we can’t over look. Due to the ineptitude of our government, it seems that any of our information that is on the governments computers is now available to China, Russia and any other country or criminal that wants it. The recent hacking of the Federal employee database is a good example. The Hacking of Federal Data Is Much Worse Than It First Seemed. It has been revealed that all of the information that was gathered to provide security clearances for millions of current and former military and intelligence workers is now in the hands of Chinese hackers.

This is just one example, many large financial institutions and other data banks have been hacked. In addition, we see news articles on the vulnerability of our power and water system and other infrastructure. There have even been incidents of people showing their ability by hacking into and controlling planes and cars.  Alleged Airline Hack May Expose Transit Vulnerabilities. Think about that next time you take a trip on a commercial airliner.

It used to be that you could protect yourself by keeping your financial data private and not doing internet banking. But that is less of an option now that they go directly to the source and hack the bank.

So what can you do to protect your computer from hacking?

Keep Your Firewall Turned On: A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or steal passwords or other sensitive information. Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers. The software is prepackaged on some operating systems or can be purchased for individual computers. For multiple networked computers, hardware routers typically provide firewall protection.

Install or Update Your Antivirus Software: Antivirus software is designed to prevent malicious software programs from embedding on your computer. If it detects malicious code, like a virus or a worm, it works to disarm or remove it. Viruses can infect computers without users’ knowledge. Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.

Install or Update Your Antispyware Technology: Spyware is just what it sounds like—software that is surreptitiously installed on your computer to let others peer into your activities on the computer. Some spyware collects information about you without your consent or produces unwanted pop-up ads on your web browser. Some operating systems offer free spyware protection, and inexpensive software is readily available for download on the Internet or at your local computer store. Be wary of ads on the Internet offering downloadable antispyware—in some cases these products may be fake and may actually contain spyware or other malicious code. It’s like buying groceries—shop where you trust.

Keep Your Operating System Up to Date: Computer operating systems are periodically updated to stay in tune with technology requirements and to fix security holes. Be sure to install the updates to ensure your computer has the latest protection.

Be Careful What You Download: Carelessly downloading e-mail attachments can circumvent even the most vigilant anti-virus software. Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know, and be wary of forwarded attachments from people you do know. They may have unwittingly advanced malicious code.

Turn Off Your Computer: With the growth of high-speed Internet connections, many opt to leave their computers on and ready for action. The downside is that being “always on” renders computers more susceptible. Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection—be it spyware or a botnet that employs your computer’s resources to reach out to other unwitting users.

So what can you do to protect yourself from other types of hacking?

The truth is that there is very little you as an individual can do to protect yourself from someone hacking third parties   Just protect your privacy as best you can. This means give out as little information to financial institutions and others as possible. Maybe keep several smaller accounts than one large one and don’t access them from your home computer.

Keep credit cards to a minimum; don’t have extra if you don’t need them. Don’t give out information to anyone on the phone or over the internet without being very sure of who you are dealing with.

As far as the loss of water, power or destruction of infrastructure, you have no real control. Here you are dependent on the preps you have in place. So do what you can to protect yourself, but always have the preps and other items you need on hand to protect yourself or carry you through an emergency, either financial or other.

Now I am no expert on hacking, running this blog is about the limit on my expertise.  If any of you have good suggestions to share please contact me at PreparednessAdvice@gmail.com or post them to comments.  Thanks
Howard

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2 Responses to Hacking by Governments or Criminals has Become a Real Threat

  1. Security Guy says:

    A month ago on the radio they talked about privacy and the ways it is being violated regularly. The guest mentioned that one of the most recent scams goes like this:
    You get a call from India and the caller says they are with your computer’s service center. They just received a message from your computer that a very bad virus has made it into your system. They then walk you through the steps of giving them access so they can take care of the problem. You give them access and then they start to delete files from you computer while they say they are checking your system out. They then give you your results, your computer is infected with a really bad virus and here is the proof, look at these files that have been deleted and/or added by the virus. You are then told that they can fix the problem but because of how difficult the fix is you will have to provide a credit card number and will be charged X-amount. You do it so they can get rid of a virus that was never there. Now they have control of your computer and your credit card info.

    The guest said that some people are very wise that it is a scam and they lead the scammer on for as long as 2 hours until the scammer gets pissed off and hangs up realizing they have been scammed by their intended target. There are suppose to be recordings posted online from these incidents.

    Moral of the story, when in doubt double check even if the number looks legit (like an 800-number which is what is used in the above scam). And take your computer to a reliable local repair person, do not let someone else in another country (or another state) have access.

  2. Joe Friday says:

    If you have a wireless router be sure to turn it off at night. Why give someone the opportunity to try to hack into it all night/day long while you’re asleep/out. Also, PLEASE change the default password to the administrator account on the unit. If you don’t, it’s like leaving the key in the front door. Unless you know computers well enough look for an expert to come in and check your system. Talk to friends/family members and look for someone trustworthy.

    Get into the habit of changing passwords and updating security questions every so often. Several email providers have been hacked and customers’ accounts were compromised.

    Backup your data often and to a device not always connected to the computer.

    I could go on but, let’s just say a little research and being cautious will go a long way!

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