Perhaps your Internet searches are being redirected to sites unrelated to what you want to find. Maybe your antivirus software has inexplicably been disabled, or the speed of your computer has slowed to a crawl. These and other symptoms could mean you’ve been hacked. Worse than just a pesky virus, an attack on your system directed by a hacker can be far more damaging and costly.
Many users believe they are too small a target to be attacked by hackers. Previously, cybercriminals may have agreed with that assessment, but that is quickly changing. Today, hackers see an individual’s data as low-hanging fruit. Without the need to get past sophisticated corporate firewalls, or bypass complex security protocols, the idea of penetrating your personal computer’s almost nonexistent defenses becomes very attractive.
Once hackers gain access to your system, a number of frightening scenarios can take place. Using sophisticated and well-planned methods, they have been known to hold data hostage, engage in identity theft, and even use your computer to launch attacks on other networks. The best way to combat these cybercriminals is to understand how they carry out their attacks.
HACKERS MOSTLY USED TECHNIQUES AND VIRUS
- Drive-By Downloads
A Trojan is malware disguised as harmless software, named after the wooden horse the ancient Greeks used to trick their way into the city of Troy. The intent of the hacker is to get you to install it by making you believe it’s safe. Once installed on your computer, a Trojan can do anything from logging your keystrokes, to opening a backdoor and giving the hacker access to your system.
In a drive-by download attack, you don’t have to click on anything to initiate the download and installation of malware – just visiting a website that has been compromised is enough to get your computer infected. A rather dated but good example of this was the infected site known as LyricsDomain.com. According to Spyware Warrior, in 2004, Internet users who visited LyricsDomain.com had unwanted software installed on their systems – a collection of eight advertising programs that, in addition to causing other problems, hijacked the users’ homepage and search bar, and placed advertisements in the users’ “Favorites” folder.
A rootkit is not exactly malware like a virus or Trojan. It is something much more insidious: a malicious segment of code injected into your computer system, designed to hide any unauthorized activity taking place. Since rootkits grant administrative control to the attacker, your computer can be used without restrictions and without your knowledge. A rootkit can attack and replace important operating system files, allowing it to hide or disguise itself and other malware. Once a rootkit has buried itself deep within your system, it can cover an intruder’s tracks (by altering system logs), cover up evidence of malicious processes running in the background, hide files of all types, and open a port to create a backdoor.