What's The Password? Hackers May Already Know

Firewall software is as important as a lock on your back door

It happened silently, without so much as a flicker or a beep to indicate that something was amiss. My computer had been hacked. There it sat on my desk, connected to America Online, as usual, while--unseen by me--an intruder rummaged freely through the contents of my hard drive. In less than 10 minutes--the time it takes me to make a cup of coffee--the hacker planted a computer virus that enabled him to intercept my online banking and brokerage-account passwords the next time I typed them in.

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