Accused of porn piracy: Are you next?

"There's so many ways your computer can get infected, it's pretty scary" says computer security expert John Gastreich.

Accused of porn piracy: Are you next?

CREATED Jul 26, 2012

A 9 On Your Side Investigation has uncovered that internet users could be accused of downloading porn, even if they didn't and become the target of a predatory practice.

Reporter: Tammy Vo

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Jenny Phan, a Tucson mom and small business owner thought her network connection at her nail salon, Nails 4 U on East Broadway, was properly protected until she got accused of illegally downloading and sharing pornography. She says she didn't do it. An attorney who represents an adult film company told her that if she didn't pay $3,500 she could be dragged into court and fined up to $150,000. Legal copyright experts tell KGUN 9 that those attorneys, also called "Copyright Trolls" who work for the porn companies, have made big bucks out of extorting money from thousands of internet users across the country. Could you be one of them?

John Gastreich is a computer security expert who agreed to watch our 9 On Your Side Investigation, and discuss the possibility that Phan could've been wrongly accused.

"It would be nearly impossible in this case to prove that woman did it, because they wouldn't be able to prove that she wasn't attacked by an attacker from the outside. It's very likely that it happened and someone came in through her wireless network" said Gastreich. Keep in mind, Phan's wireless network at the nail salon is password protected. But Gastreich says that it doesn't always matter and what professional hackers are capable of, is scary.

"They can take over your system. They can use a remote access trojan, get control of your machine remotely and your computer becomes a zombie. This happens every day all over the world. Millions of machines become zombies and your computer at home could become a zombie if not protected properly" said Gastreich, which could get you in trouble if the account is in your name.

Gastreich suggests these tips to protect your network security:

Passwords: Don't use your dog's name. Create a password that is at least 10 characters long. The longer the better. Using case sensitive letters and symbols, helps.

Check your security protocol: Get into your security protocol and make sure you're using WPA2 and not WEP (wired equivalent privacy which can be easily hacked). Which do you have? Get into your wireless network settings and take a look.

Get rid of old operating systems: They don't have the current updates to protect your network. Current operating systems include Windows 7, Vista & XP.

Don't click out of those update windows: If a window pops up on your computer asking if you want to install an update, do it. Those updates can keep up with the latest security threats and protect your computer.

Improve firewall security: Advanced users can greatly improve network security by upgrading their firewall settings.

Get antivirus protection: This is a must. AVG offers free antivirus software.

The National Security Agency (NSA) also offers Best Practices for Keeping Your Home
Network Secure.

Secunia also offers free software and is also recommended by experts to keep your systems safe.