Getting hacked or a computer virus is most technology users’ worst nightmare. All devices are susceptible to being hacked or having malicious software put on them. Your computers, smartphones, tablets, and TVs all can be hacked and used to collect information about you that can later be sold or posted online.
If you can learn how most people get hacked or aquire computer viruses, you can then avoid falling victim yourself. Check out these top 10 ways computer users get hacked or acquire computer viruses.
1. Using the same password over and over again
This may come as news to you, but whenever there is a breach in a company’s database or information, emails, passwords, names and other confidential information is what usually gets posted online. You can check if your information has been posted online here, just type in your email address and it will tell you if your account is posted online somewhere.
2. Visiting questionable websites
Whether you mean to or not, you may end up at a questionable website. You might click on a pop-up ad or a bad link in an e-mail. Either way these types of websites do NOT have your best intentions in mind. To avoid pop-ups or other questionable blockers, check out services such as Adlock Plus for Google Chrome or Firefox.
3. Failing to update software
One of the easiest ways for hackers to access your computer is by not updating your software. Software makers are always plugging security holes to prevent this from happening, but if you don't have the latest version, you can be more likely to become a victim.
4. Downloading illegal online content
Sure it is easy to get the latest music, movies, or games online but should you? No. One, it’s illegal. Two, it can really cause some serious issues. Hackers know lots of people are searching for free content like this online so they put viruses and Trojan viruses into illegal content. It is just waiting for you to download and run it.
5. Unsafe web searching
Make sure you use the real Google, Yahoo or Bing as your search engine rather than another browser. Sometimes a toolbar will change your search engine to theirs so they can make some money from advertisements.
6. Clicking unknown links in your e-mail
This one is very essential now-a-days because everyone gets a few hundred e-mail messages a day. Most of them are spam but a few of them look legit because they claim to be from your bank, courier services or some other well-known company. They are just there to get you to click a link then steal your login information.
7. Installing junk software
Free is not always the best option. Free comes with a few extra things most of the time. Who would spend all that time making a program then just give it away? Most of the time they expect you to just hit next when installing and also install their partner advertisements and junk on to your computer.
8. Not keeping virus or malware scanners or software up-to-date
By not updating your scanners you are basically scanning your computer for viruses that are old. Most scanners now update their virus definitions hourly or at least daily. So it is very important to check in with your scanner at least once a week and make sure all is running smooth. Generally they have a dashboard that will let you know.
About this Angie’s List Expert: David Trifiro is the manager of Layer 2 Computers, providing computer service in Springboro, Ohio. Since 2007, Layer 2 Computers has specialized in computer diagnostics and repair, wireless network installation and troubleshooting, data recovery and backup, virus removal and more. You can follow this #ALExpert on Twitter @Layer2Computers.
As of September 20, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.