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Did Hackers Steal My Stuff?

January 8th, 2009 surfer

computermdbismarck.com – In the movies, brilliant good-looking kids are able to break into other peoples’ computers just by typing some nonsense at a keyboard and luckily guessing a password. In real life, that’s impossible. Even if you leave your computer on and connected to the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, nobody can log into your computer and rummage around through your files. Nobody can steal stuff off your hard disk. Such things never happen, because they can’t happen, despite what the media tells you.

hackFear01There is a form of hacking, however, that’s worth protecting yourself against. It’s computer-to-computer hacking, where one computer (which we’ll call an ad server) manages to get irritating messages and pop-up ads onto your screen. Or worse yet, a worm like the infamous Blaster Worm that managed to infect thousands of computers a few months ago. In both cases, though, there is no human “looking around” your computer and stealing stuff. The hacker is, instead, just another computer who doesn’t know (or care) who you are, where you are, or what’s in your computer. It’s just trying to make some money for its unscrupulous owners.

There are some simple things you can do to prevent any and all forms of hacking. Those include:

  • Never purchase anything from a pop-up ad or e-mail message. When you see “threatening” messages like either of the examples below, ignore them. Both of those are bald-faced lies, and there is no need to purchase whatever product they’re hawking.

hackFear02

hackFear03

  • Use a pop-up blocker to prevent pop-up ads. If you’re using Windows XP, turn off the Alerter message service to prevent the Messenger Service ads like the example above.
  • If you’re using Windows XP, make sure you’ve enabled its Internet Connection Firewall (ICF).
  • Install and use anti-virus software. A virus can “punch a hole” through your firewall from the inside, thereby allowing stuff that would otherwise be blocked to get into your computer.
  • Keep your copy of Windows up-to-date, so you always have the latest security enhancements.

Alan Simpson

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