News & Resources

Identity thieves target public computers

Nov 23, 2011 Karen Umpierre

There's no doubt that computer owners are vulnerable to identity theft. Hackers use spyware and spam websites to obtain personal information from unsuspecting consumers in hopes of opening up bank accounts and creating fraudulent credit cards or checks. Public computers are an even bigger threat to individuals, News 4 Jax reports. A keylogger is a spyware program that records the information typed by a computer user. If a hacker has a keylogger installed on a public computer, such as at an airport or café, and the user just so happens to access their bank account, the criminal will have access to their account login and password. "Criminals harvesting personal information off of public computers is an extremely prevalent crime in the United States," Damon Petraglia, a forensic investigator, told the news source. "There are hundreds and hundreds of different applications that criminals can use in a public environment to do nothing but record your data." While the news source suggests to change the passwords on personal accounts every so often, it is also beneficial to try to avoid accessing bank accounts from public computers at all costs.