How Hackers Control Your Computer

Your PC has many “ports” that are vulnerable to attacks from hackers. These ports are used to communicate internally with your monitor or printer or externally to the internet. For example, Port 25 is used to receive incoming email and Port 80 is used to connect to the internet.

Additionally, you have a unique IP number assigned to your computer by your Internet Service. Provides what is needed for you to use the internet. This is the way you send and receive information. This also functions as your computer’s “address”. The IP number looks like this – 106,185.21,243.

If you have a broadband or DSL connection your IP address rarely changes which makes your computer more vulnerable. If you connect to the internet via dial up then you will usually be given a new IP address every time you log in, but this does not make you vulnerable to attacks! Another problem is that with a broadband connection you tend to be online for a longer period of time giving hackers more chance to attack you.

Hackers use port scanning software to find vulnerable computers with open ports using your computer’s IP address. They will then send the malicious program through this open port to your computer.

Another common method used by hackers to gain control of your computer is by sending Trojan Viruses disguised as email attachments. Hackers usually send these messages to 1000 users with interesting titles and attachments that they hope you will open. When the attachment is opened, the virus loads itself on your computer and allows the hacker to control your computer.

Hackers also bundle Trojan viruses into free downloads such as screensavers that are usually installed on home users’ computers. Illegal P2P networks also circulate many infected files.
Here are a few steps you can take:

1) Make sure you receive the latest Window updates.
2) Install a good firewall.
3) Install a spyware removal tool to get the latest spyware definitions. Run a scan at least once a week or after being online for a long period of time.
4) Install an anti-virus program and update the virus definition. Perform a virus scan at least once a week.
5) Use Spam Filters to stop malicious emails

Further actions you can take:
– Don’t open e-mail messages that look suspicious especially if they have attachments.
– Be careful what free software you download. Only download from reputable sites like CNet’s Download.com.
– Remember to turn off your broadband connection if you are away from your computer for a long period of time. Get used to turn off the computer and broadband connection at night. This is very relevant for wireless network users.