In the good old days, most hacking was performed by young males looking to boost their self-esteem. Nowadays, almost all hacking and malware is carried out with criminal intent. Yet for some reason, people who get hacked or are infected by malware still treat the problem as if it were a mere annoyance, as if they’d been infected by a virus from 1998.
I have two words for those people: Wake up! If your computer has been compromised, here are the four most likely reasons. Be warned: They’re not pretty.
1. Picking your pocket
By far, the vast majority of hacking and malware is for quick financial gain. Bad guys are after your passwords, your bank account information, your credit card information, your identity, or some other way to take your hard-earned money — such as selling your stocks, initiating unauthorized e-money trades, holding your information hostage for payments, and so on.
That’s why, whenever I get involved with a computer that has been hacked or compromised, I assume the worst. You can’t simply clean the infection because you don’t know what has been maliciously modified. The only safe step you can take is to back up your data, format the drive, and re-install everything. (You have all the installation media you need, right?) Once you’ve set up a clean computer, you have to change the logon password information on all websites you use or that share those common passwords.