Recently the Department of Justice announced that it had broken up a major bank hacking conspiracy that had used a computer virus that infected more than a million computers worldwide to break into bank accounts around the world and steal from individuals, businesses and government agencies including NASA. The virus that was created to steal this money has been called Gozi. It was created by a Russian hacker who made it appear as if it was an innocuous PDF file, but when downloaded into the victim’s computer enabled the hacker to steal personal information from the victim’s computer such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers and massive amounts of personal information that was used to access the victims’ bank accounts.
As the old cartoon character Pogo said, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” We are our own worst enemies when it comes to giving our information to hackers and identity thieves who use that information to steal from us and access our bank accounts. Generally, keystroke logging malware that steals personal information from our computers and sends the information to the hackers and identity thieves is installed by us unwittingly when we click on tainted links or download tainted attachments. Free music, free games and free pornography have been three of the more common vehicles used to get people to let down their guard and invite these viruses on to our computers. Never click on a link unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate. Even if it appears to come from a legitimate source, you cannot be sure that the apparent legitimate source has already been hacked so the real email, link or attachment is coming from a hacker. Also, make sure that your computer security software is up to date. Even if it is, you may not be protected from the latest viruses, but it is a step in the right direction.