How Did the Hacker Get My Stuff?

Every OS has a weakness somewhere. (No exceptions!) Since Windows is by far and away the most used OS on computers, Windows is what hackers generally target.

A hacker gets into a computer in any one of a number of ways.

The user invites the hacker in by clicking on a link that is unsafe. The link may connect to a site that downloads and installs spyware or other malware on the user's computer. Even though the user has an updated anti-virus/spyware scanner on the computer this can happen. Because the user told the computer to download and install the bad software by clicking that link, this will override the anti-virus/spyware scanner. A good scanner should warn the user, but sometimes the warning may come too late. An infected website visited by the user can also cause malware to download and install.

Sometimes users want to get commercial stuff (music, etc.) without paying for it.  They use a peer to peer program to download music and other stuff for free.  However they may find it isn't really free as this is a really good way to get virus, spyware and/or other malware as it will come 'piggy-backed' on to the desired download.

Visitors to suspect sites (porn, program hacks and even some so-called 'safe' sites may get more than they bargained for as this is the kind of site hackers like to infect with their scummy infections.

If the user connects to the Internet using an 'unsecured network' (generally a wireless network), a hacker using a program called a sniffer can locate the network and access the user's computer. Then they find an open port and access the computer.

Sniffers: What They Are and How to Protect Yourself

Today everyone wants to connect to the Internet. ISPs (Internet service providers) generally provide a modem for users to connect to the Internet. Some, but not all, of these modems may contain a firewall to help keep a hacker out. The firewall should have an option for a user name and a password. Until the user changes the password for the firewall, this connection to the Internet is not secure. If your ISP does not provide a modem with a firewall, I highly recommend you get a router that does contain a firewall.

To check your computer's safety from hackers, go to Shields Up by Steve Gibson

Once a computer has been hacked, it no longer belongs to the owner, but to the hacker.