Why Criminals Want Access to Your Machine

Numerous times I’ve heard ignorant people stating that nobody will attempt to break in to their laptop or PC, because they don’t have anything of value for a random hacker. Well, you can’t be more wrong.

Cyber criminals can benefit from your system in many ways. Remember that most of these guys can do stuff with your system where you didn’t even dream about.

Let me give you a few real-life examples:

  • Install keyloggers to get passwords from all kinds of accounts.
  • Turn on the webcam and microphone to record you and manipulate the images to extort you afterwards (seems to become a trend).
  • Install ransomware, which encrypts your hard drive. The only way to get your data back is to pay the cyber criminal for the decryption key.
  • Use your system as a depot for all kinds of illegal files, including files that contain child abuse.
  • Let your system participate in an attack on different servers in a larger botnet, like a Distributed Denial of Service attack.
  • Format your hard drive
  • Steal personal data

These things happen every day. The very minimum that you can do is to install AV software and a firewall and keep your virus definitions up to date. Other recommendations are to backup regularly, install an IDS, turn on extensive logging and patch where you can ;) .