May 10th, 2011 was a bad day for the hackers of the world. The United States federal government passed what is considered to be the most extensive anti-hacking laws in history. These new laws were introduced in an attempt at protecting U.S. citizens and businesses from hackers and their actions. But what do hackers know about your computers that you don’t? Here are just a few of the things that hackers can potentially do to your computer, without your knowledge:
First, hackers check your browsing history.
They can tell which websites you visit, how often, and for how long. All the information hackers need to know is there in your browser bar! Since hackers are always striving for knowledge about computers that their victims don’t know or understand, hackers need to stay up-to-date on new information that pops up all the time–and this includes what you’re doing online. What data hackers would find useful were things like your passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc… But now hackers have found something even better than those things–your browsing history .
The second thing hackers look at is your cache files.
These are images and objects stored on your computer so you won’t need them again if you visit the site they are on again. If hackers can’t find any of your information in your browsing history, hackers will look for cached files to make up for it! Sometimes hackers come across big money by finding bank accounts or credit card numbers saved in cached files that you don’t need anymore.
The third thing hackers search through is your “cookies.”
Cookies are pieces of code used to gain information about a visitor to a webpage. They’re used all over the place now–not just on websites but also on social media sites like Facebook and even email services like Gmail. The only way hackers can get this information is by manipulating things behind-the-scenes of these places so they know everything there is to know about you. Hackers have been doing this for years, and it’s no surprise that they know about your computers more than you do.
The new U.S. anti-hacking laws make it a crime punishable by up to five years in prison to access a computer without authorization, but as we can see from the examples above, hackers are still finding ways to get into our computers and inflict harm.
So, what can you do to protect yourself?
- Install anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date.
- Use a strong password and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Install a firewall on your computer.
- Be aware of what you are clicking on – hackers often use phishing scams to try and get you to click on links or download attachments that contain viruses or malware.
- Beware of hackers who use social networking sites to steal personal information.
- Have a plan in place if your identity is ever hacked and you need to restore it.
- Be careful how much personal information you put on the internet – hackers can find more information about you through places like your LinkedIn page or Facebook account, so be mindful of what you share.
Follow these simple tips and you can help to protect yourself from hackers and the damage they can do. Remember, hackers are always evolving their methods, so it is important to stay informed and hire an information technology company like ThrottleNet to help keep your software, hardware, and information protected.