Why Do Hackers and Viruses Want My Information?

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A good antivirus scanner protects your identity by actively identifying and removing malware on your PC. But why do these viruses want your information in the first place? What can they even do with it? Today, we’re going to answer that question for you.


Many hackers simply want to steal your information so they can sell you stuff, or to refer you to other people who will sell you stuff. There are plenty of shady online advertising companies that will pay up to several dollars for somebody’s personal information. Once they have this information, they can send advertising packages to your house, or spam your email inbox with thousands of messages.

As far as viruses and hackers go, this is a relatively harmless thing to do with your information, and it’s something that is already being done on a more minor scale by companies like Facebook and Google.

Money theft

Many people today use the internet to transfer funds and monitor their bank accounts. In fact, financial institutions like ING do basically all of their business online. While this is very convenient, it can also lead to security problems – particularly if your computer has a malware problem. Many viruses steal your information in order to gain access to your bank accounts. Once in, they can easily drain your funds and transfer your money to a network of accounts.

Similarly, if you shop online using your PC, then hackers may want to steal your credit card information. They may direct you to fake shopping websites in order to scam you into entering your information, or they could simply look at your cache files to find that data on your hard drive. Once they have your credit card information, hackers can sell it on the online black market for quite a bit of money, or they could use it for their own nefarious purposes.

Identity theft

Identity theft is the most dangerous thing that a hacker can do with your information. After scanning your computer for any personal data, or monitoring your keystrokes and online browsing history, a hacker can use that information for their own personal gain.

For example, they may try to contact your banking company using the information they’ve stolen. Many banking companies only ask one or two security passwords before giving someone full access to an account. How difficult are your security questions? Is it information that can easily be found online, like through your Facebook account? Try to proactively prevent identity theft by giving random answers to your security questions, and then keeping that answer in a safe location.

The bottom line

Think of everything you do on your computer: browse social media, enter your credit card information into shopping websites, transfer funds from one bank account to the other, and more. If a virus has infected your computer, then you should just assume that all of your online activities are being monitored.

After installing a good antivirus program and (hopefully) removing the virus, be sure to change your account information and monitor your credit card statements. If you think somebody did gain access to your PC, you may want to contact your bank and tell them to keep an eye out for any suspicious account activity.

Ultimately, by installing a good antivirus program and using smart, proactive malware prevention when browsing online, you can protect yourself from identity theft, financial loss, and advertising spam.

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