Friday, September 14, 2007

Keep Hackers Out! Hackers pose a constant threat to the Home PC.

Hackers pose a constant threat to the Home PC. Keep Hackers Out!

Article by Valeria Gooner

If you've ever spent time just hanging around a big city's street, you may have noticed an interesting phenomenon: the car door handle flipper. He's the dude sauntering alongside a row of parked cars nonchalantly trying each door handle to see if it opens. He's looking for that promotion from urban nuisance to car thief. He's in no hurry and he doesn't discriminate between the cars. This is how computer hackers work as they search for access to someone's home computer.

Like the prospective car thief, hackers randomly and systematically scan machines on a network, like Road Runner's or Earthlink's for example, looking for a way in. The way in is one of the 65,535 ports that exist as a part of any machine's IP address.

If nothing is holding these access points closed, the hacker knocks until a port answers. Nothing personal, the whole thing is automated, and the hacker is probably off doing his laundry or playing UNO with his little brother while his port-scanning script runs wild over the network you happen to be using.

“Lately, a number of worms and virus infections have, among other things, ‘listened' on a particular port, so that when scanned, the infected computer is able to be controlled remotely. Computers that have been hacked this way are said to have a ‘back door,' and are used to send spam and conduct internet attacks, among other things. What this means is that the computer is completely unsecured and readable from across the net,” explains Rob Noel , Client Services Manager for OASIS. It is frightening to think that your machine might be used for nefarious purposes, isn't it?

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