Protection online and off

Not many years ago, computer attacks generally took place when someone would write a piece of malicious software and send it to millions of people, hoping that someone like you or me would open the attachment or click on a link. Once compromised, our computers would fail or files would be corrupted, rendering the computer unusable. We’d immediately know we’d been had!

By contrast, today’s methods of compromising someone’s account or computer are so subtle that we may not even be aware the attack is taking place. In some cases, attacks may even come from what seem friendly or familiar sources. A hacking attack might start with an e-mail from someone posing as a friend, or even as a company you do business with. You might click on a link or attachment in the e-mail because it seems to come from someone you know. To the casual computer user—and in some cases even the experienced professional—nothing seems to happen when you click on the link, or fill out information on a web site, and, since nothing happens, you move on. We might continue for weeks or months or longer without knowing that our private information is being gathered surreptitiously.

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