Computer hackers these days are not high school kids playing games to see who can hack the hardest targets. Computer hackers these days are highly trained computer scientists of whom many learned their trade working for intelligence agencies with unlimited budgets from around the world. Believe me when I say the NSA is the least of your worries.
These hackers are able to take total control of your computer, tablet, phone, or any other gadget with WiFi capabilities and make it there's.
The other problem is that most of these computer systems have only soft on/off switches. What this means is that you cannot know for sure the item is off. All of these gadgets can be turned on remotely in ways that you would not know it's on. That laptop or tablet could be watching your kids at this moment and you would never know it. Most of these items have batteries that allow it to run for days without being plugged in. And your smart phone is recording you at this moment.
The word privacy needs to be taken out of the dictionary because it no longer exists. In the same way a 12 year old girl doesn't understand why she needs to hold her skirt down in the wind, the public doesn't understand why privacy is so important to their existence. There are bad guys out there that have really bad things on their minds. Bad things you don't have the capacity to understand.
Broadband Internet connections are what make these present day "Command and Control Bot Nets" possible. Many people now leave their computers on all the time and are constantly connected to the Internet.
Command and Control Bot Nets, which are programs that use your computer to attack other computers or networks, take control of computers connected to the Internet and through these compromised computers these hackers commit their criminal activities. They search the Internet for exploitable computers 7/24 and within seconds they are able to take control of your computer.
There was a time when the user had to do something to get infected, but due to the reckless way Microsoft and other OS developers do their business these cyber criminals are able to do whats called drive-bys and exploit holes in operating systems and other software on your computer that allow them to take total control of your computer with no way of detection, and in some cases, no way of extracting or eliminating the malicious software. Such as when they rewrite your BIOS.
It is known that world wide at any point in time there are millions of computers infected with all kinds of nasty programs setup to hurt you and others. But what is not known is how many computers are infected with deep cover programs that have taken control of the operating system and are virtually undetectable by any anti virus program, no matter how good the anti virus programs may be.
It's unknown how many computers are infected with these, what I like to call, deep cover programs because they have taken over the OS (Operating System) and the computer only does what the OS tells it to do. All that these deep cover programs would have to do is tell the computer to give the all clear when an anti virus program checks for malicious infections.
Lets look at a very doable hypothetical situation.
In your child's bed room you have an unplugged laptop computer with a built in microphone and video cam that are turned off, totally unplugged from the Internet and wall outlet, just sitting there dead to the world.
A deep cover malicious program, or any virus at that, can turn that laptop on and record the audio and video of your child's actions and conversations, and record imput to a file on your hard disk, encrypted so you can't read it, then wait for an Internet connection to transmit the file to the controller of the malicious program. While all this is taking place, your laptop appears off.
Most laptops have built in wifi capabilities so most of the time the malicious software will be able to connect to the internet immediately.
How often does this happen? No one knows, these new classes of malicious software are undetectable.
You can never be sure, so you have to assume that you can't! This is why.
Because the deep cover malicious programs controls your computer, you can't trust anything your computer does or says and as of the writing of this article there is no known anti virus program that can be trusted to not fall under the control of these deep cover programs. So many security professionals will say the only way is to scrub the hard drive and reinstall your Operating System.
But I say wrong! You can never be sure and this is why.
How do you scrub a hard drive? Do you down load a program from the Internet? The majority of the sites on the Internet that cater to computer security are sites setup to infect your computer with malicious programs, so there is no way of telling if you're simple not adding another deep cover malicious program onto your hard drive.
Also there is no way of knowing if the malicious program uses an unrecognizable file system that is undetectable by the scrubbing program.
And on top of that, hard drives have operating systems that may have been compromised, these proprietary programs are guarded secrets of the hard drive developers and not open for public examination.
But lets say you go out and buy a brand new drive, that should be a sure way of knowing your computer is clean. NO wrong again!
If your running Microsoft Windows, once a new copy of Windows is installed you need to update your Windows install. You can never be sure that before the Windows updates took effect that the deep cover malicious program hasn't just reinstalled itself onto your system using the security hole it came in on in the first place; after all it does have all your movements monitored. It simply had to anticipate your move to reinstall your operating system. But then again it could have come in on a security hole Microsoft hasn't discovered yet.
Then there is whats called the BIOS, BIOS is the program that the computer uses before all others to do things like look for an operating system to run. The BIOS of a computer can be over written and told to do things way before the hard drive is even recognized by the computer.
Understand that computers are a very dangerous modern day necessity. Computers with or without Internet may allow some very nasty entities into the most private areas of your life. Don't be an idiot and make it easy for them.
How to protect yourself is by understanding that anything that is WiFi connected is a potential danger to you and anyone around you at all times.
Understand that anything on your computer is being hacked right now by someone.
Never store anything on your computer, phone, or tablet, you would not post on a huge billboard for everyone to see.
Most newer iphones, tablets, laptops, computers, and gadgets that have WiFi capabilities no longer allow you to delete sensitive information from your system. It's stored in secret places for greedy corporations, government agencies, and really bad people to find and use against you.
I just had to change the password to my network and all the items connected to it because of a Canon camera I just bought with WiFi that didn't work as it should, to make a long story short, there was no way to delete my network password from the camera.
Because of corporate greed, government indifference, and some really bad guys, what could have been a wonderful thing for the human race has turned into a very real threat to our understanding of what life on earth should be.
Huge sums of money are being spent on developing AI super computers to feed your personal information to, in an attempt to better hack and control the human mind. And nobody cares. Like the 12 year old girl that just can't understand why she should keep her skirt down on a windy day, after all she doesn't think she has anything to hide, the public at large just can't understand why privacy is so important. Yet!
Truth be told, there is no safe way to use today's technology.
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