We’ve all seen the news articles or heard reports of top companies like Home Depot and Target getting hit with malware that was stealing credit card info. Those are high-profile targets, so they are naturally going to be attacked. Don’t think for a second, however, that you’re in the clear. Those big attacks were all aimed at one thing … money. And what gets criminals money far more easily than cracking a major corporation’s network? Getting into yours. Don’t get me wrong… it’s RARE for an individual to get targeted specifically by someone trying to actively hack into their computer. No, most infections are part of a larger campaign by organizations trying to infect as many computers as possible. How? They take advantage of low security, lack of installed system patches, or compromised software. Java, Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer itself … each of these has been an avenue (vector) of attack against the unprotected masses.
You wouldn’t leave your spare tire at home, would you? Chances are, you have needed that spare at some point in your life. The same goes for security software. Just because you’ve never been infected, that DOES NOT mean you’re IMMUNE. There are new versions of classic malware (often called viruses, though I’ll talk about why that’s inaccurate another time) being developed and released EVERY DAY. New vectors of attack are being discovered and exploited regularly. Don’t leave yourself wide open!
Think of it this way: If there’s a thief in the area looking for easy marks, are you going to leave your front door unlocked or open? NO! You lock it up tight, double-bolted, and hope he’s just cruising for the less-cautious. As mercenary as it sounds, you don’t have to be unhackable, you just have to be harder to hack than your neighbors. A properly configured security suite can do this, and it’s a service I can provide.
Last thing …
NOBODY is completely unhackable. If someone is determined enough and has the resources to dedicate, they WILL find a way to get inside. The idea is to make it as hard as possible for them. Just know that nearly all attacks on residential networks are automated and are just looking for “unlocked doors” that nobody is watching. A firewall can prevent those from the outside from even seeing you, and an antivirus can grasp the little buggers before they can infect your system — ask me about setting up both!