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Remote Employees and Network Security

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Cyber Hackers Want to Access Your Computer

Pete Stauffer
3 min read
May 17, 2021 10:00:00 AM
This post covers:Managed IT

Your computer is more valuable to hackers
than you think

As a community banker, security is often focused on protecting the privacy of account holders. But cyber hackers are growing increasingly more sophisticated in their attacks, and while it's obvious many are looking to access cash and credit card accounts, it's equally as dangerous to assume their interest ends there. The fact is, today’s hackers know everyone's computer holds valuable information that can be used in a variety of ways—not just account numbers and passwords. Partnering with the right network security specialists is key to shielding your business from potential attacks and shoring up vulnerabilities.

Beyond account numbers and credit cards: What hackers want

Even if you only use your computer to stream videos, access social media, or send emails, it can be a treasure trove of information for cybercriminals. So why do cyber hackers want access to your computer—even if your online life seems rather simple? Let's take a closer look at why this issue matters for all computer users, including you.


With so many passwords to manage, many are relying on saving their passwords on their computers so that they don't have to input them every time they log in to a website or application. That can represent a vulnerability. Cybercriminals may be able to access saved passwords and gain entry to your local and cloud-based applications. From there they can read emails, reset passwords, and mine your account for other passwords and financial information. The potential for damage to your financial wellbeing and reputation is real.

Webcam and microphone access

Most of us don't give a second thought to what we do when we're on or near our computer. At the office, though, you are likely having sensitive conversations about proprietary information, or handling paperwork with client data. Many internet users don't realize that their webcam and microphone can serve as an entry point for internet hackers. What's at risk? They could capture images of you or record sound without your knowledge. Often, hackers will seek to embarrass someone or extort them by leveraging the content they've illicitly gathered.

Installation of malware, ransomware, and more

The damage inflicted by cybercriminals isn't just what they can take from you, such as photos, audio recordings, account information, or money. It's also about what they can give you. We're talking about malware, ransomware, and other malicious software. Malware can easily spread within a network and infect your computers en masse, which can bring your bank operations to a full stop. Such a hack will also enable cybercriminals to force you to pay a ransom for information they've encrypted—which happens in our region with shocking regularity. Hackers can also target your website. By injecting malicious code into vulnerable plugins, cybercriminals can wreak havoc using your compromised website to distribute malware to unsuspecting visitors or insert SEO spam that can redirect them to their scam sites.

Access to your email

Most of us have a general sense that our email communications are protected. But an attacker who can access your email has information at their fingertips that can include personal information, account numbers, customer information, and private communications. By using phishing or other social engineering scams, an attacker can deceive a victim into revealing their login credentials. The attacker gains entry into a victim’s email account thus taking it over, otherwise known as email hijacking, to send fraudulent and malicious messages to others. The results from just one email account hijack can be devastating to multiple victims and businesses alike.


Did you know cyber attackers can use your computer to mine cryptocurrency? It's true—it’s called cryptojacking. In most cases, hackers will deploy phishing scams, or they may entice computer users to visit malicious sites that leverage an internet browser to mine digitized money, commonly known as cryptocurrency.

Today, cryptojacking is gaining in popularity as cybercriminals’ crime of choice over ransomware. Why? Because there is more money to be made with far less risk. As an example, the use of ransomware might get a handful of victims to pay a ransom, then again, maybe not. However, cryptojacking allows cybercriminals to compromise an indefinite number of computers to continuously mine cryptocurrency, generating a greater payout. Cryptojacking is also much harder to trace back to the cybercriminal, unlike ransomware.

Cryptocurrency mining often goes undetected. However, one tell-tale sign of an infection is the computer’s CPU running at maximum utilization, impacting its overall performance. Remember, the more computers cybercriminals can compromise to commit mining crimes, the more the financial reward. So just imagine the impact on your business’ productivity if several or all of the computers on your network become infected with malicious cryptojacking code.

Since employees are always a cybercriminal's favorite target, phishing will continue to be their primary method to deliver and inject malicious cryptojacking code. Banking and other financial institutions, just like all businesses need to remain vigilant so they don’t fall prey. Incorporating an ongoing security education and awareness training program is the best approach to provide your employees with the know-how to spot phishing or other social engineering attempts.    

Protect your business by partnering with IT security experts

Protecting yourself from cybercriminals is an essential part of running a business these days—partnering with the right experts for your network security is key. At Locknet® Managed IT, we stay informed about emerging threats and trends. Contact us today to learn how we can train your staff to recognize threats and avoid common pitfalls. Let's get started!





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