Each one of us has hundreds of dollars invested in that desktop computer and/or laptop. For some people, the value of the computer is in the thousands, with modifications and improvements. It seems ludicrous to think that your machine would be sold for pennies. However, if your machine is infected by malware, someone else may be selling your machine for a nickle.

And you would not know that it is happening.

Many people can remember when malware would slow the computer and perhaps even cause the machine to crash. Those days are long gone. It simply pays for malware to keep your computer operating efficiently. By not causing computer problems, the malware has a better chance of avoiding detection. Once your computer has been compromised, it can be sold:

“…According to the price list in Finjan’s report, a batch of 1,000 infected PCs in Australia costs $100 – a whopping 10 cents each. A batch in the US runs $50, and bargain-basement bad guys can build a far-east malware network for as little as $5 per 1,000. Crooks can then install other malware, send spam, embed rogue antivirus, or use the victim PCs in any number of profit-making scams.”

link: Buy an Infected PC for 5 cents

The infected computer can be part of a spam network and/or crime network. The malware can sit and wait for key entries into targeted sites, like financial institution, colleges, retailers and so forth. Then the malware can ‘phone home’ with compromised personal information. It becomes another case of identity theft.

To protect yourself and to keep control of your computer, run your security programs regularly. Make sure that the programs have been updated with the latest security definitions. If you are not sure which security programs to use, watch Chris Pirillo’s site, as Chris makes recommendations for programs like SUPERAntiSpyware and VIPRE. Often, Chris manages to have security programs at a discount for his readers. And don’t fall for the myth that your computer is safe because you don’t visit dangerous sites. A computer is vulnerable simply by being online. And there is someone wanting to market your machine, for a few cents, and sell infected machines in volume. There are buyers.

Catherine Forsythe