Business Week is reporting that hackers are going after home computers searching for online investment accounts and emptying them out when found. They are targeting people’s home computers because they are much less secure and most contain (84% as reported by the magazine) sensitive information needed to access the online brokerage accounts:
Business Week reports that $20 million has been stolen from online brokerages in the last 12 months and the problem is only expected to grow. There is $1.7 trillion worth of assets currently sitting in online brokerage accounts making it a worthwhile pursuit of hackers.
If you keep sensitive material on your computer, you want to take basic safeguards to make it as difficult as possible for those trying to gain access to your computer. Anti-virus and firewall software that is updated regularly is especially important.
Don’t keep your passwords or other sensitive information on your computer, even in other files. With tools like Google desktop that will search your entire computer, it doesn’t take any time for even a novice to find the sensitive information on your computer if it is there.
Taking a few precautions now to educate your self on how to prevent hackers from accessing your computer will save you countless hours of frustration, wasted time and headaches in trying to get your finances back in order if it should happen to you.