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Identity Theft Protection: Protect Your Computer

Similar to the war on drugs and terrorism, internet security teams are engaged in an ongoing battle against Cyber-crimes.  As the fight wages on, home computer users are often caught in the crossfire.  While the actions hackers use are immoral and malicious, the fact remains: the more we rely on the web for survival, the greater the damage done to our computers and personal lives. 

One of the biggest threats posed to internet users is the crime of identity theft.  This practice has become an epidemic on the web and has proven very difficult to prevent.  Identity thieves remain innovative, using methods such as phishing, pharming, and other schemes to pump information out of innocent victims.                                                                                             

Security experts have contributed some of the problem to the public's lack of technical savvy.  Though computers become easier to use, the number of online surfers who truly understand the importance of security implications are declining.  This lack of knowledge has opened a huge window of opportunity, allowing hackers to slide in and exploit various computers.  Aside from faltering the performance of an operating system, several malicious individuals take advantage of these vulnerabilities to commit identity theft and other serious crimes. 

Trojan Horses

A Trojan program is perhaps the most known computer infection.  They often come in the form of attractive gifts or software, tempting a user to download the contents.  Once installed, a Trojan horse will often unload other malicious items on an operating system.  These programs are capable of ruining a computer's performance and thieving information. 

Spyware

Spyware has now become a frequently used tool in the crime of identity theft.  This is one of the many programs that a Trojan Horse will unload onto a computer.  The technology is often used maliciously to gather the personal details of a single user or an entire organization.  This type of program typically hides with genuine software and downloads itself onto a computer.  From there, spyware will collect every bit of important data from the system it report it back to the creator. 

Adware     

Adware is referred to as any application that displays a variety of banner ads while running.  This program is very dangerous because it often includes spyware to secretly track personal information. 

Malicious programs are spreading faster than many security solutions can keep pace with.  Most of the attacks are of diabolical nature, completely destroying a hard drive and seizing total control of a computer.  Hackers frequently target large corporations to thieve personal information such as credit card numbers and other sensitive details, blatantly committing identity theft. 

Solutions for Protecting Your Computer

Anti-virus Software: These programs are in great demand as a result of the many existing security threats.  A quality application will run a thorough scan of your system in seek of items such as spyware and other programs that pose a threat to your identity. 

Spam Filters: Unsolicited mail is one of the biggest problems on the web.  A spam filter is a solid method of defense when it comes to preventing phishing schemes from reaching your inbox.  You are less likely to be victimized by identity theft if fraudulent messages are not able to reach you. 

Firewall: This type of program will work wonders at keeping intruders away from your system.  A firewall will protect you against viruses, Trojans, spyware and several malicious email attachments that may contain identity theft scams. 

The computer just isn't as personal as it used to be.  If the information it contains is not protected, you, your family or business could be at the risk of identity theft and many more crimes.  

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In 2003, more than 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft.

Identity theft costs business and individuals $53 billion dollars annually

In 2003, Americans spent 300 million hours resolving issues related to identity theft.

70% of all identity theft cases are perpetrated by a co-worker or employee of an affiliated business.