A while back, the IT Help Desk received a number of complaints that one of the employee’s computers was sending out Viagra spam. They checked it out, and the reports were true: a hacker had installed a program on the computer that made it automatically send out tons of spam email without the computer owner’s knowledge.

Q: How do you think the hacker got into the computer to set this up?

This was actually the result of a hacked password. Using passwords that can’t be easily guessed, and protecting your passwords by not sharing them or writing them down can help to prevent this. Passwords should be at least 8 characters in length and use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.

Even though in this case it was a hacked password, other things that could possibly lead to this are:

Out of date patches/updates
No anti-virus software or out of date anti-virus software
Clicking an unknown link or attachment
Downloading unknown or unsolicited programs on to your computer

 

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