5 ways to avoid computer hackers

That’s the warning from an ex-hacker turned computer security specialist. Gregory Evans spent years hacking computers, tapping into everything from high school grades to corporate business files. Now, he’s using his powers for good: trying to keep cyber-crimes from happening to anyone else.

Evans is the CEO of LIGATT Security International in Norcross, a company investigating high-tech crime and working to keep computers secure. He says everyone is susceptible to hackers, but there are some things you can do to help ward them off:

  1. Change your passwords often. Evans suggests doing so monthly.
  2. Do not use the same username and password for different accounts. For example, your Wells Fargo account should not have the same login as your Facebook account.
  3. Do not log onto secure areas (those requiring passwords) from other computers. You never know how susceptible they are to hackers, or if that computer will store your information.
  4. Purchase a firewall protection for your wireless network Simply “locking” your wireless network will not prevent hackers from accessing your information. You should also install a spyware program.

Finally, an easy tip you might not think of:

“When you’re not using your computer, when you go to sleep at night, turn your computer off,” Evans says. “Your computer can’t get hacked when it’s off.”

He also suggests going to websites like AmIHackerProof.com to test your computer’s vulnerability.

His warnings come as a Lithonia man pleads guilty to identity theft and credit card fraud. Investigators say 26-year-old Rogelio Hackett, Jr. spent years stealing more than 675,000 credit card numbers, adding up to $36 million in losses.

Hackett pleaded guilty Thursday before a district judge in Alexandria, VA. Secret service agents discovered the account numbers on his computer during a raid in 2009. Hackett will be sentenced in July and faces up to 10 years in prison.

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