Often this is this misconception that hackers are children who are computer geniuses who are just up mischief. This comes from what is sometimes seen in movies where a student or scholar hacks into the school or institutes computer systems. The truth of the matter is that hacking is a multi-billion dollar international industry, and some estimates report that approximately 25% of computers are infected with some kind of software developed by a hacker.
One of the methods or techniques hackers use is to take over your system is to use it as a BOT, like to robot, to do the scrupulous work for them. Your system gets infected while being connected to the internet. It is often an innocent looking file which you download that unknowing has been invaded with one of these malicious threats. Once on your computer system this little applications which can a virus, a Worm, Spyware, Malware or a Trojan can now go about turning your computer into a Bot. Unknowingly your computer infects other computers. With the internet, sometimes thousands of computers may be affected by a single Bot attack. One of the tell tales left by Bots is a slow and unresponsive computer system. If picked up by your ISP, it might close down your internet connection until the problem is rectified. This can usually be done by a qualified computer virus expert. ISPs are also knowledgeable about this type of attack and will restore your internet connection without any personal repercussions.
Then there are the phishers who are after your sensitive information such as banking details and passwords. The main approaches that these phishing attacks use, which also originate from bot-nets, are emails which request some sort of information about your banking account or details. It is only activated when you click on a requested link. Your details are recorded and send to the hackers. This can be used to empty your banking accounts or even steal your ID. It is estimated that about 3% of all people confronted with such an email actually innocently give heir bank password and pins.
Another sly attacker is the Key logger, which also gain entry to your computer when you download an infected file or program. These invaders operate totally undetected but record each key stroke made on your system. They even quietly scan through your files and folders without being noticed. In this way the key loggers are able to record and steal your banking information, ID, social security numbers, etc. These are passed on to their creators who sell off your information to bad third parties who are known to steal your ID and rob you. There are many of these bad guts around which has resulted in many organizations such as the FBI to have whole departments dedicated to tracking these bad guys.
With all of these threats around you might feel helpless. There are a few techniques that can be adopted to make it difficult for these doers evil to gain access to your computer system and personal information. Many online resources which require a password or personal information will automatically encrypt it upon entry. To make it even more difficult to be cracked by hackers, make it a habit to use long passwords which have a combination of alphanumeric letters and special characters.
These dangers and threats will always be around. They do not only attack individuals, but also target large corporations and even government departments.