By Nancy Pagé
A hacker is a person with enough technological skill and knowledge to gain unauthorized access to computers. The key word here is unauthorized. If you answered an email or phone call asking for your password or other personal information, you have allowed access to your computer. When there is a pop-up on your screen telling you to phone a help line number, you call the number and allow someone access to your computer, you are giving permission “to come on in and help yourself to whatever you want”. This is like giving a burglar the key to your house.
When people tell me they have been hacked, 99% of the time this is not the case. Someone has copied a small amount of information and a picture or two from your Facebook account and pretended to be you, sending out messages to entice your friends to be caught up in a scam. These scammers are looking for unsuspecting victims to join in on get-rich-quick schemes. If you had actually been hacked, the criminal would be inside your computer, stealing your personal and financial information.
The best piece of advice: Don’t panic. Viruses and real computer hacking does not happen to common users as often as we might think.