When we advise people that they need computer security we often get following responses,
- My computer works for me why should I change it?
- I have nothing to hide / hackers won't get anything useful from my computer
- So long as I can use the computer I don’t mind a hacker using it
Let's answer each of these in tern
My computer works now why should I change it?
If you don't have security software on your computer it is a matter of time before you get an infection.
Ok there is one instance where you don't need any security software, that is if your computer is never connected to the internet and you don't run any files, from other computers on it. (We have yet to meet someone who uses a computer like this.)
If you don't fall in the above category and you are not running any form of security software you are VERY lucky if you still don't have an infected computer. Studies have shown that an undefended computer will become infected within minutes of being connected to the internet. We have personally witnessed repeated attempts to hack a computer's defences within minutes of being connected to a popular ISP's network.
If you don't have security software on your computer it is only a matter of time before you get an infection.
I have nothing to hide / hackers won't get anything useful from my computer
Many people are surprised what information hackers want from your computer.
Second to wanting to use your computer to attack other computers, the hacker's next most popular piece of information they want from your computer is the list of your friends email addresses. They then use this list to impersonate you and your friends to send millions of SPAM emails.
You may have seen the adverts from several banks in the UK that state identity theft as one of the fastest growing crimes. It's easier than you think to steal your identity. Criminals don't just need to know your bank details, (although these are highly prized,) but things like who you buy electricity from and your account number with that company is someties all they need. e.g. Finding a letter that you wrote to the electricity company gives them the information they want.
Other information that you may think is not important but can be used are things like your mother's name, favourite pet, etc. This type of information is often found in Christmas letters to family and friends.
Even if not stealing your identity, hackers can make a lot of money buy selling your profile to those people who send out spam. Just getting a list of websites that you visit can give criminals the information they need to make a false email sound believable.
So long as I can use the computer I don't mind a hacker using it
Hackers love people like this. It means they can use your computer to attack others. At best your computer is being used to annoy others and at worst cost them their jobs or life savings.
You may also get a knock on the door from a policeman wanting to know why you have been blackmailing companies, sending illegal images, or stealing money from people's bank accounts.
If all this hasn't convinced you then bear in mind that, in the same way insurance companies will not pay out if you don't lock your doors, banks are unlikely to want to replace your missing life savings.
The solution to all this is simple - follow the 5 steps we have outlined in 5 steps to computer security