Cybercrime isn’t just something you read about in the newspaper or see imagined in the movies—it’s something which affects you everyday.
How Cybercrime Attacks You Constantly
You’re constantly under attack from cybercriminals. Thousands of times a second, they’re sending out probes to random computers on the Internet—including your computer—to see if your computer has the latest firewall and security software.
If your computer isn’t protected, they’ll start a new cycle of cybercrime by breaking into your computer and installing viruses into Windows which let them control your computer without your knowledge.
How To Detect If You’ve Been Hacked
The most obvious sign that your computer has been hacked is that it starts running much slower than usual. The virus on your computer is working for the hackers by looking for other computers to infect or other cybercrime to perpetrate, so it uses your computer processing power (CPU) and memory.
Another sign that you’ve been hacked is strange computer crashes. Hackers don’t put their virus software through the same tests that commercial software programmers do, so the viruses likely contain bugs which cause your computer to crash.
How Cybercrime Can Get You In Trouble
Hackers in the movies often seem to use their own computers in hacking attempts. But in real life, hackers don’t want to get caught, so they do all of their hacking using other people’s computers, which they call proxies.
If your computer is one of the proxies they use, it will look like your computer is the one trying to hack into a government or corporate website. Later, when the government goes looking for the cybercriminal, they’ll see your computer in the logs and they may blame you.
On numerous occasions, warrants have been issued, computers have been seized, and innocent people have been charged with nefarious cybercrime, such as hacking and hosting child pornography.
How To Protect Yourself From Cybercrime
The best and easiest ways to protect yourself from all forms of cybercrime are to improve your computer security by running a firewall and anti-virus program.
A firewall will block hackers and viruses which try to access your computer directly. An anti-virus program will help protect you if you open a file or a program which contains an embedded virus.
Other steps you can take to prevent cybercrime from ruining your life include being careful to avoid scam sites used in phising attempts or not giving out your password or account information to anyone.
Finally, if you do think you computer may be infected with a virus, don’t wait to get the problem fixed. Start by using your anti-virus program to run a whole disk scan. If that doesn’t fix the problem, backup your files and take your computer to a repair shop and tell them you think you may be a victim of cybercrime.