Since so many people use the Internet and their computers for searching, emailing, instant messaging, online shopping, and banking, the home PC has become the educational, communication, and entertainment hub for families everywhere. Many store their digital assets and personal files—photos, movies, music, resumes, financial information, and other valuable documents—on their computers.
Unfortunately, a family’s PC may be compromised and provide hackers with valuable information that could include addresses and phone numbers, bank user names and passwords, and credit card numbers.
Identity thieves and hackers target home computers because they know families often do not maintain adequate security protection on their PCs. This makes these family users easy, lucrative marks. Many hackers access your personal information in order to steal your money and your identity. Others might want to use your home computer as a shield to mask their identity as they steal from others.
Anyone can fall victim to identity theft. Consider the following ways:
- Accessing the Internet from an unsecured PC—Without a security layer between your computer and the Internet, you invite hackers to steal your identity, destroy your files, or use your PC to attack others
- Obtaining potentially unwanted programs like spyware or adware on your PC—Malicious software programs may monitor your keystrokes, track your Internet logins, transmit your confidential information, or redirect your browser to fake web sites
- Sending personal information over the Internet—Hackers can easily retrieve sensitive data that is sent over an unsecured Internet connection
- Downloading files from friends and family or accepting unknown emails—You can obtain a virus, worm, or Trojan simply by accepting files from your friends, family, or others
- Not recognizing phishing scams or spam—Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and web sites to lure unsuspecting users into revealing private account or login information
- Leaving your wireless network unsecured—Since your wireless network’s radio waves travel through walls, a hacker with a simple antenna could attack you from miles away to steal your information or to launch attacks from your PC
The single best step to help protect your computer and identity is to use up-to-date PC security software like McAfee® Internet Security, which provides comprehensive, multi-layered computer security against inbound and outbound Internet threats. It helps protect you from viruses, spyware, hackers, unwanted emails, phishing scams, and identity theft. It includes the following components:
- Anti-virus—Detects and blocks viruses before they infect your PC
- Anti-spyware—Detects and blocks potentially unwanted programs, such as spyware and adware, before they can retrieve your personal information or slow your PC
- Firewall—Continuously monitors your broadband, dial-up, or wireless Internet connection, preventing unwanted traffic to and from your PC
- Anti-spam—Helps keep your inbox free from unwanted, fraudulent, offensive, and phishing emails that deceive users into providing personal information to identity thieves
- Identity threat prevention—Protects your identity by alerting you before personal information is transmitted via an unsecured Internet connection
- McAfee SiteAdvisor®—Warns you before visiting known and potential phishing scam web sites
- Parental controls—Allows parents to establish Internet access controls to create a safe browsing environment for children
McAfee products safeguard your personal and financial information, documents, and online communications. They also allow you to easily manage the security settings on your PC using a simple control panel. The suite runs silently in background, updating automatically without manual intervention.