How can my computer get hacked?
Hacked, Abso-freakin’-lutely, YES you hacked!
You computer can almost always become compromised.
APPLICATION LEVEL VULNERABILITIES:
Using applications on your computer also can create vulnerabilities on your PC. This can include browsers and emails as well. If you receive an unsolicited email, you should be very wary and not follow any links or even open it.
Many legitimate websites use 3rd party vendors to manage the ads on their sites and these can sometimes be used to propagate malware. Also, legitimate websites can be hacked in many ways and used to run malicious scripts on your browser. Aside from non-savvy users, browsers are hands down, the number one way a PC becomes compromised. Browser, network, and PC level security should not be considered optional!
OPERATING SYSTEM LEVEL VULNERABILITIES:
Sometimes a hacker is able to exploit particular services or processes on particular operating systems such as Windows or OS X etc.
Most hardware these days has software managing it built on the device itself called firmware. This can be compromised as well.
Most people do not have hardware and software firewalls. Simply having one or the other isn’t enough. The reason you need both for good security is simple, hardware firewalls cannot block everything otherwise you’ll have non-functional connection to the internet and it sometimes cannot tell what was requested by a PC. This is where a good software firewall and antivirus come into play.
They protect different things on different levels. Not having one or the other leaves you open different types of attacks from almost anyone, anywhere in the world. These kinds of attack do not necessarily rely on a web browser to even be actively running on your computer, let alone any computer to be running in order for them to infiltrate and compromise your home/work network
If anyone has physical access to your network or PC’s, then they can easily compromise your security without you even knowing it. For example: they can install viruses and programs, insert BIOS level viruses, insert media or key-loggers devices (see picture below) and much more. Even if you just have a password protected WiFi, they can hack your network with relative ease and run security scans and search for vulnerabilities to exploit with freely and readily available network and security tools. If they have physical access, then this is made all the easier.
Phishing or Social Engineering:
Sometimes hacker setup websites that look and may even function like other legitimate sites but they’re not. This is for the sole purpose of hacking your information like passwords or getting direct access to your computer by running compromising browser scripts. They may also have you download something that looks legitimate to install a virus on your computer. This is called Phishing.
Social Engineering is when you meet someone or they contact you, say by phone or email, and they talk you into giving them information such as passwords or personal information that they can use to hack you with like the info in your security questions.
In short, there are several ways to get hacked or viruses on your computer and as long as it has internet access and there is physical access to it by others, then it will never be 100% secure no matter how you browse the web.
Advice: Following proper cautious and security mindful procedures like not going to unrepeatable websites will protect you almost better than any anti-virus. Nevertheless, always have a firewall and antivirus installed. Never open unknown email and especially don’t follow enticing links in them or on ads on websites. Never give out personal information unless you’ve taken proper precautions to be sure of the person’s identity.