Hacking refers to activities that seek to compromise digital devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and even entire networks. And while hacking might not always be for malicious purposes, nowadays most references to hacking, and hackers, characterize it/them as unlawful activity by cybercriminals - motivated by financial gain, protest, information gathering (spying), and even just for the “fun” of the challenge.
White Hat Hacker - First up, we have the perfect type of hacker to break the stereotype. The white hat hacker is a good guy, as ironic as it may sound. White Hackers, white hat hackers or ethical hackers are the people who test existing internet infrastructures to research loopholes in the system. They create algorithms and perform multiple methodologies to break into systems, only to strengthen them. Think of this as a lockpick, who would work his way around locks, only to inform the owners of how to make the locks work better. Famous white hat hackers have historically been pivotal in ensuring that large corporations maintain a strong network framework so that it is unbreakable against all other types of hacking. From being employees of the Government to being private consultants, white hackers help internet be a better and safer place. Black Hat Hacker - Simply put, these are the bad guys. Black hat hackers are responsible for all that is wrong with hacking. These guys break into systems purely with negative intentions. From stealing credit card information, to altering public databases, a black hat hacker looks to gain fame or monetary benefits from exploiting the loopholes in internet frameworks. Famous black hat hackers have notoriously robbed banks and financial institutions of millions of dollars, and invaluable private data. Grey Hat Hacker - A grey hat hacker usually has mixed intentions. As the color code implies, this hacker type does not have the good intentions of a white hat hacker, nor does he have the ill intentions of a black hacker. A grey hat would break into systems but never for his own benefit. Famous grey hat hackers have exploited systems only to make the information public, and to bring to limelight vast datasets of information that contains wrongdoings.
A router is a device that communicates between the internet and the devices in your home that connect to the internet. As its name implies, it “routes” traffic between the devices and the internet. With the right kind of router in your home, you may be able to enjoy faster internet service, help protect your family from cyberthreats, and avoid those maddening Wi-Fi dead spots. You don’t have to be a computer genius to know what a good router has to offer. All it takes is to know what you need it for. Understanding how routers work will help you choose the right equipment for your home.
A virtual private network (VPN) gives you online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so your online actions are virtually untraceable. Most important, VPN services establish secure and encrypted connections to provide greater privacy than even a secured Wi-Fi hotspot.
Think about all the times you’ve been on the go, reading emails while in line at the coffee shop, or checking your bank account while waiting at the doctor’s office. Unless you were logged into a private Wi-Fi network that required a password, any data transmitted during your online session was likely vulnerable to eavesdropping by strangers using the same network. The encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides protects all of your online activities: sending emails, shopping online, or paying bills. VPNs also help keep your Web browsing anonymous.
The best way to stay secure when using public Wi-Fi is to use a VPN solution, like Norton Secure VPN, which is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as Windows PCs and Apple Macs. Here are some questions to ask when you’re choosing a VPN provider. Do they respect your privacy? The point of using a VPN is to protect your privacy, so it’s crucial that your VPN provider respects your privacy, too. They should have a no-log policy, which means that they never track or log your online activities. Do they run the most current protocol? OpenVPN provides stronger security than other protocols, such as PPTP. Do they set data limits? Depending on your Internet usage, bandwidth may be a large deciding factor for you. Make sure their services match your needs by checking to see if you’ll get full, unmetered bandwidth without data limits. Remember, some packages may not cost you money, but you’ll be subjected to frequent advertisements instead. Where are the servers located? Decide which server locations are important to you. If you want to appear as if you’re accessing the Web from a certain locale, make sure there’s a server in that country. Will you be able to set up VPN access on multiple devices? If you are like the average consumer, you use between three and five devices. Ideally, you’d be able to use the VPN on all of them at the same time. What happens if the VPN goes down? Be sure that your provider implements a kill switch system in the event of failure. This means that your connection would automatically be locked down and would not default to an unsecured Internet connection if something goes wrong.
A no-log VPN means that the virtual private network provider does not collect, or “log,” any information transmitted through the network. They don’t save information about your personal details, where you go online, what you download, or what you search for. Therefore, your online privacy and anonymity are protected from everybody — even your VPN provider.
Why do VPN service providers do this? If you’re entrusting a company to encrypt and protect what you do online, shouldn’t you fundamentally trust that business to follow the same practices? Most VPN companies believe the answer is yes. They don’t log any of your information because they don’t want it. These no-log VPN service providers won’t build databases of your personal information to sell to third parties.
Your “digital footprint” includes all traces of your online activity, from commenting on news pieces or social media to making online purchases. When you know the boundaries of your digital footprint, and take steps to control it, you can protect your identity and your reputation.
It’s a good idea to have a positive digital footprint. This information is your digital identity, and it could show up when someone searches for your name online. Your online identity can influence different aspects of your life. For example, employers, schools, colleges, and law enforcement officials could use your digital footprint as a basis for character assessment.
Digital footprints can be classified into two broad categories - active and passive footprints - which depends on how your information is acquired. 👣 Active Digital Footprints - Active digital footprints consist of the data you leave when you make deliberate choices on the internet. For instance, posts you make to your social media channels are a form of active footprint. When you are logged into a project management or similar site, changes you make that are connected to your login name are also part of your active footprint. Here are a few examples of active digital footprints. - Posting on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and other social media platforms. - Filling out online forms, such as when signing up to receive emails or texts. - Agreeing to install cookies on your devices when prompted by the browser. 👣 Passive Digital Footprints - Passive digital footprints are those you leave behind without intending to or, in some cases, without knowing it. For instance, websites that collect information about how many times you’ve visited recently are adding to your digital footprint in a passive fashion. That’s because you don’t choose to give them this data. They collect it when a device at your IP address connects with their website. This is a hidden process, and you may not realize it is happening at all. Here are three examples of passive digital footprints. - Websites that install cookies in your device without disclosing it to you. - Apps and websites that use geolocation to pinpoint your location. - Social media news channels and advertisers that use your likes, shares, and comments to profile you and to serve up advertisements based on your interests. Both active and passive footprints can be tracked and observed in multiple ways and by multiple sources.
Your “digital footprint” includes all traces of your online activity, from commenting on news pieces or social media to making online purchases. When you know the boundaries of your digital footprint, and take steps to control it, you can protect your identity and your reputation.
Hacking is typically technical in nature (like creating malvertising that deposits malware in a drive-by attack requiring no user interaction). But hackers can also use psychology to trick the user into clicking on a malicious attachment or providing personal data. These tactics are referred to as “social engineering.”
A Trojan horse, or Trojan, is a type of malicious code or software that looks legitimate but can take control of your computer. A Trojan is designed to damage, disrupt, steal, or in general inflict some other harmful action on your data or network. A Trojan acts like a bona fide application or file to trick you. It seeks to deceive you into loading and executing the malware on your device. Once installed, a Trojan can perform the action it was designed for. A Trojan is sometimes called a Trojan virus or a Trojan horse virus, but that’s a misnomer. Viruses can execute and replicate themselves. A Trojan cannot. A user has to execute Trojans. Even so, Trojan malware and Trojan virus are often used interchangeably. Whether you prefer calling it Trojan malware or a Trojan virus, it’s smart to know how this infiltrator works and what you can do to keep your devices safe.
Here’s a Trojan malware example to show how it works. You might think you’ve received an email from someone you know and click on what looks like a legitimate attachment. But you’ve been fooled. The email is from a cybercriminal, and the file you clicked on - and downloaded and opened - has gone on to install malware on your device. When you execute the program, the malware can spread to other files and damage your computer. How? It varies. Trojans are designed to do different things. But you’ll probably wish they weren’t doing any of them on your device.
Here’s a look at some of the most common types of Trojan malware, including their names and what they do on your computer: Backdoor Trojan - This Trojan can create a “backdoor” on your computer. It lets an attacker access your computer and control it. Your data can be downloaded by a third party and stolen. Or more malware can be uploaded to your device. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack Trojan - This Trojan performs DDoS attacks. The idea is to take down a network by flooding it with traffic. That traffic comes from your infected computer and others. Downloader Trojan - This Trojan targets your already-infected computer. It downloads and installs new versions of malicious programs. These can include Trojans and adware. Fake AV Trojan - This Trojan behaves like antivirus software, but demands money from you to detect and remove threats, whether they’re real or fake. Game-thief Trojan - The losers here may be online gamers. This Trojan seeks to steal their account information. Infostealer Trojan - As it sounds, this Trojan is after data on your infected computer. Mailfinder Trojan - This Trojan seeks to steal the email addresses you’ve accumulated on your device. Ransom Trojan - This Trojan seeks a ransom to undo damage it has done to your computer. This can include blocking your data or impairing your computer’s performance. Remote Access Trojan - This Trojan can give an attacker full control over your computer via a remote network connection. Its uses include stealing your information or spying on you. Rootkit Trojan - A rootkit aims to hide or obscure an object on your infected computer. The idea? To extend the time a malicious program runs on your device. SMS Trojan - This type of Trojan infects your mobile device and can send and intercept text messages. Texts to premium-rate numbers can drive up your phone costs. Trojan banker - This Trojan takes aim at your financial accounts. It’s designed to steal your account information for all the things you do online. That includes banking, credit card, and bill pay data. Trojan IM - This Trojan targets instant messaging. It steals your logins and passwords on IM platforms. That’s just a sample. There are a lot more.
Examples of Trojan malware attacks Trojan malware attacks can inflict a lot of damage. At the same time, Trojans continue to evolve. Here are three examples. 1. Emotet banking Trojan : After a long hiatus, Emotet’s activity increased in the last few months of 2017, according to the Symantec 2018 Internet Security Threat Report. Detections increased by 2,000 percent in that period. Emotet steals financial information, among other things. 2. Rakhni Trojan : This malware has been around since 2013. More recently, it can deliver ransomware or a cryptojacker (allowing criminals to use your device to mine for cryptocurrency) to infected computers. “The growth in coin mining in the final months of 2017 was immense,” the 2018 Internet Security Threat Report notes. “Overall coin-mining activity increased by 34,000 percent over the course of the year.” 3. ZeuS/Zbot : This banking Trojan is another oldie but baddie. ZeuS/Zbot source code was first released in 2011. It uses keystroke logging — recording your keystrokes as you log into your bank account, for instance — to steal your credentials and perhaps your account balance as well.
Trojans aren’t problems for only laptop and desktop computers. They can also impact your mobile devices, including cell phones and tablets. In general, a Trojan comes attached to what looks like a legitimate program. In reality, it is a fake version of the app, loaded up with malware. Cybercriminals will usually place them on unofficial and pirate app markets for unsuspecting users to download. In addition, these apps can also steal information from your device, and generate revenue by sending premium SMS texts. One form of Trojan malware has targeted Android devices specifically. Called Switcher Trojan, it infects users’ devices to attack the routers on their wireless networks. The result? Cybercriminals could redirect traffic on the Wi-Fi-connected devices and use it to commit various crimes.
Here are some DOs and DON'Ts to help protect against Trojan malware. First, the DOs: - Computer security begins with installing and running an internet security suite. Run periodic diagnostic scans with your software. You can set it up so the program runs scans automatically during regular intervals. - Update your operating system’s software as soon as updates are made available from the software company. Cybercriminals tend to exploit security holes in outdated software programs. In addition to operating system updates, you should also check for updates on other software that you use on your computer. - Protect your accounts with complex, unique passwords. Create a unique password for each account using a complex combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. - Keep your personal information safe with firewalls. - Back up your files regularly. If a Trojan infects your computer, this will help you to restore your data. - Be careful with email attachments. To help stay safe, scan an email attachment first. - A lot of things you should do come with a corresponding thing not to do — like, do be careful with email attachments and don’t click on suspicious email attachments. Here are some more don’ts. - Don’t visit unsafe websites. Some internet security software will alert you that you’re about to visit an unsafe site, such as Norton Safe Web. - Don’t open a link in an email unless you’re confident it comes from a legitimate source. In general, avoid opening unsolicited emails from senders you don’t know. - Don’t download or install programs if you don’t have complete trust in the publisher. - Don’t click on pop-up windows that promise free programs that perform useful tasks. Don’t ever open a link in an email unless you know exactly what it is.
Encryption is the process that scrambles readable text so it can only be read by the person who has the secret code, or decryption key. It helps provide data security for sensitive information. Vast amounts of personal information are managed online and stored in the cloud or on servers with an ongoing connection to the web. It’s nearly impossible to do business of any kind without your personal data ending up in an organization’s networked computer system, which is why it’s important to know how to help keep that data private. Encryption plays an essential role.
Encryption is the process of taking plain text, like a text message or email, and scrambling it into an unreadable format — called “cipher text.” This helps protect the confidentiality of digital data either stored on computer systems or transmitted through a network like the internet. When the intended recipient accesses the message, the information is translated back to its original form. This is called decryption. To unlock the message, both the sender and the recipient have to use a “secret” encryption key — a collection of algorithms that scramble and unscramble data back to a readable format.
An encryption key is a series of numbers used to encrypt and decrypt data. Encryption keys are created with algorithms. Each key is random and unique. There are two types of encryption systems: symmetric encryption and asymmetric encryption. Here’s how they’re different. - Symmetric encryption uses a single password to encrypt and decrypt data. - Asymmetric encryption uses two keys for encryption and decryption. A public key, which is shared among users, encrypts the data. A private key, which is not shared, decrypts the data.
There are several types of encryption, each developed with different needs and security needs in mind. Here are the most common examples of encryption. Data Encryption Standard (DES)- Data Encryption Standard is considered a low-level encryption standard. The U.S. government established the standard in 1977. Due to advances in technology and decreases in the cost of hardware, DES is essentially obsolete for protecting sensitive data. Triple DES - Triple DES runs DES encryption three times. Here’s how it works: It encrypts, decrypts, and encrypts data — thus, “triple.” It strengthens the original DES standard, which became regarded as too weak a type of encryption for sensitive data. RSA - RSA takes its name from the familial initials of three computer scientists. It uses a strong and popular algorithm for encryption. RSA is popular due to its key length and therefore widely used for secure data transmission. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) - Advanced Encryption Standard is the U.S. government standard as of 2002. AES is used worldwide. TwoFish - Twofish is considered one of the fastest encryption algorithms and is free for anyone to use. It’s used in hardware and software.
1. Internet privacy concerns are real - Encryption helps protect your online privacy by turning personal information into “for your eyes only” messages intended only for the parties that need them - and no one else. You should make sure that your emails are being sent over an encrypted connection, or that you are encrypting each message. Most email clients come with the option for encryption in their Settings menu, and if you check your email with a web browser, take a moment to ensure that SSL encryption is available. 2. Hacking is big business - Cybercrime is a global business, often run by multinational outfits. Many of the large-scale data breaches that you may have heard about in the news demonstrate that cybercriminals are often out to steal personal information for financial gain. 3. Regulations demand it - The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires healthcare providers to implement security features that help protect patients’ sensitive health information online. Institutions of higher learning must take similar steps under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to protect student records. Retailers must contend with the Fair Credit Practices Act (FCPA) and similar laws that help protect consumers. Encryption helps businesses stay compliant with regulatory requirements and standards. It also helps protect the valuable data of their customers
Most legitimate websites use what is called “secure sockets layer” (SSL), which is a form of encrypting data when it is being sent to and from a website. This keeps attackers from accessing that data while it is in transit. Look for the padlock icon in the URL bar, and the “s” in the “https://” to make sure you are conducting secure, encrypted transactions online. It’s a good idea to access sites using SSL when: - You store or send sensitive data online. If you use the internet to carry out tasks such as filing your taxes, making purchases, renewing your driver’s license, or conducting any other personal business, visiting sites using SSL is a good idea. - Your work requires it. Your workplace may have encryption protocols, or it may be subject to regulations that require encryption. In these cases, encryption is a must.
Encryption is designed to protect your data, but encryption can also be used against you. For instance, targeted ransomware is a cybercrime that can impact organizations of all sizes, including government offices. Ransomware can also target individual computer users. How do ransomware attacks occur? ━━━━━━━━━━━━━ Attackers deploy ransomware to attempt to encrypt various devices, including computers and servers. The attackers often demand a ransom before they provide a key to decrypt the encrypted data. Ransomware attacks against government agencies can shut down services, making it hard to get a permit, obtain a marriage license, or pay a tax bill, for instance. Targeted attacks are often aimed at large organizations, but ransomware attacks can also happen to you.
- Install and use trusted security software on all your devices, including your mobile phone. - Keep your security software up to date. It can help protect your devices against cyberattacks. - Update your operating system and other software. This can patch security vulnerabilities. - Avoid reflexively opening email attachments. Why? Email is one of the principal methods for delivering ransomware. - Be wary of any email attachment that advises you to enable macros to view its content. If you enable macros, macro malware can infect multiple files. - Back up your data to an external hard drive. If you’re the victim of a ransomware attack, you’ll likely be able to restore your files once the malware has been cleaned up. - Consider utilizing cloud services. This can help mitigate a ransomware infection, since many cloud services retain previous versions of files, allowing you to “roll back” to the unencrypted form. - Don’t pay the ransom. You could pay a ransom in hopes of getting your files back — but you might not get them back. There’s no guarantee the cybercriminal will release your data. - Encryption is essential to help protect your sensitive personal information. But in the case of ransomware attacks, it can be used against you. It’s smart to take steps to help you gain the benefits and avoid the harm.
Today, your continuously connected lives are leaving behind a trail of data from your electronic devices. From the apps on your smartphones, your browser history on your computer, to the data on your fitness tracking device- anything that is connected to the Internet is storing information. What Information is Okay to Share Online? ━━━━━━━━━━━━━ While all this abundance of information sharing may seem alarming, there are good reasons for it. It’s very natural to hit the “accept” popup when your device asks for allowing Cookies, location services, or to access other features of your device to be used by certain Apps or programs. We often do this without thinking of the privacy ramifications. Companies actually need to track certain information in order for their products to work. Therefore, these technologies help facilitate GPS directions, localized search results to find a nearby restaurant, and help improve the targeting of ads. Remember- You are in control of what information you share abut yourself online. Research privacy policies and block access to suspicious requests from Apps or programs. If you have social media accounts, be sure to check those privacy settings too. Risks to Privacy with Connected Devices ━━━━━━━━━━━━━ The downside to this information sharing is that there are also ways in which your privacy can be compromised, illegally or unintentionally. Unfortunately, some companies do not think of security first and focus on the functionality of their product primarily. With the emerging Internet of Things, most of the new gadgets we bring into our homes now have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi. This means Internet connected devices such as streaming security cameras, light bulbs, thermostats and smart home products all have computers in them that store data. Most all of these technologies have security issues, such as default passwords left unchanged once installed, to unsecured routers protecting these devices. As a result, cybercriminals with nefarious intent can bypass the poor security included in these devices. The key to protecting your privacy is learning how to properly setup and secure all of your connected devices.
Internet scams are different methodologies of Fraud, facilitated by cybercriminals on the Internet. Scams can happen in a myriad of ways- via phishing emails, social media, SMS messages on your mobile phone, fake tech support phone calls, scareware and more. The main purpose of these types of scams can range from credit card theft, capturing user login and password credentials and even identity theft.
Phishing - The top online scam today is Phishing. Internet thieves prey on unsuspecting users by sending out phishing emails. In these emails, a cybercriminal tries to trick you into believing you are logging into a trusted website that you normally do business with. This could be a bank, your social media account, an online shopping website, shipping companies, cloud storage companies and more. Another type of popular phishing scam is the Nigerian Prince, or 419 scam. These are phishing emails in which you’re asked to help bring large sums of money into the country, cash phony money orders or wire money to the thief. The trick is that the scammer first asks you for a small fee because the larger sum of money is “tied up” whether it be in wire transfer fees, processing fees or some other tall tale. Fake AV - One close to our industry is fake security software, which is also known as scareware. These start with a pop up warning saying that you have a virus. Then the popup leads the user to believe that if they click on the link, the infection will get cleaned up.Cybercriminals use the promise of “Free Anti-Virus” to instead implant malware on a victim’s device. Social Media Scams - Social media scams are a variety of posts you will see in your news feeds- all with the goal of getting you to click on a link that could potentially be hosting malware. Mobile Scams - Mobile scams can come in many forms, but the most common are phishing apps. These apps are designed to look like the real thing, just like phishing emails. It is exactly the same premise, however, instead of emails, the malware is passed through a fake app. Social Engineering Scams - Social engineering is a way that cybercriminals use human-to-human interaction in order to get the user to divulge sensitive information. Since social engineering is based on human nature and emotional reactions, there are many ways that attackers can try to trick you- online and offline.
The online world is becoming every child’s favorite playground. With more children accessing the Internet with different devices, they are learning and growing more each day. When used appropriately the cyber world can be your child’s portal to achieve great things. While every parent wants their child to have access to the latest and best information, they also know that safety is paramount. How can parents help their child? - Learning is not limited to children alone. It is important for parents to know what is out there. With the launch of new apps and social media sites, children are exposed to new things – things with the potential to make or break them. As a parent, it is best to stay fortified with all the information there is know about emerging threats, the latest school yard jargon and ways to deal with issues that emerge as a result of cyber behavior.
Identity theft is a two-step process. First, someone steals your personal information. Second, the thief uses that information to impersonate you and commit fraud. Of course, stealing your personal information isn't the worst of the crime; it's the second part of this process that does the most harm: using your information to commit credit card fraud, mortgage and utilities scams; and leave you with emptied bank accounts.
Online threats to Macs have increased lately. The most recent one to make news, called "Crisis", targets Mac users. Your risk of infection is probably very low, but here are some basic facts: - "Crisis" is a Trojan that steals potentially confidential information. - The malware takes control of X programs/applications on your Mac that intercepts email and instant messages and utilizes internal microphones and cameras to spy on anyone near the Mac. - When this backdoor is installed, it can monitor the following programs: Adium, Mozilla Firefox, MSN Messenger (for Mac) and Skype. - Existing Norton security customers with the latest virus definitions are already protected. Threats can occur at any moment, some more dangerous than others. If you want to learn more about how to protect your Stuff on your Mac, take a look at some of our security solutions.
A computer worm is a type of malware that spreads copies of itself from computer to computer. A worm can replicate itself without any human interaction, and it does not need to attach itself to a software program in order to cause damage.
Worms can be transmitted via software vulnerabilities. Or computer worms could arrive as attachments in spam emails or instant messages (IMs). Once opened, these files could provide a link to a malicious website or automatically download the computer worm. Once it’s installed, the worm silently goes to work and infects the machine without the user’s knowledge. Worms can modify and delete files, and they can even inject additional malicious software onto a computer. Sometimes a computer worm’s purpose is only to make copies of itself over and over - depleting system resources, such as hard drive space or bandwidth, by overloading a shared network. In addition to wreaking havoc on a computer’s resources, worms can also steal data, install a backdoor, and allow a hacker to gain control over a computer and its system settings.
In July 2010, the first computer worm used as a cyber weapon was discovered by two security researchers after a long string of incidents in Iran. Dubbed “Stuxnet,” this worm appeared to be much more complex than the worms researchers were used to seeing. This attracted the interest of high-profile security specialists around the world, including Liam O’Murchu and Eric Chien of the Security Technology and Response (STAR) team at Symantec. Their extensive research led them to conclude that the worm was being used to attack an Iranian power plant, with the ultimate goal of sabotaging nuclear weapon production. Although the attack ultimately failed, this computer worm is still active on the threat landscape today.
If you suspect your devices are infected with a computer worm, run a virus scan immediately. Even if the scan comes up negative, continue to be proactive by following these steps. 1. Keep an eye on your hard drive space. When worms repeatedly replicate themselves, they start to use up the free space on your computer. 2. Monitor speed and performance. Has your computer seemed a little sluggish lately? Are some of your programs crashing or not running properly? That could be a red flag that a worm is eating up your processing power.
A keylogger is a type of spyware that can be used to track and log the keys you strike on your keyboard, capturing any information typed. Keyloggers are insidious because you don’t know they’re there, watching and recording everything you type. How do keylogging activities benefit cybercriminals? The data captured can include your personal and financial information, PIN codes and account numbers, credit card numbers, usernames, passwords, and other sensitive data — all of which can used to commit fraud or identity theft. Keyloggers can be software or hardware. Software is more common. The majority of keyloggers are used to capture payment card data you might enter online with a device. Once captured, your data can be retrieved by the person on the other end of the keylogger program. Many keyloggers have root-kit functionality. That means they’re hiding in your system. These so-called Trojan-spy programs can track user activity — including keystrokes and screenshots —save the data to your hard disk, and forward the information to cybercriminals. An example of a hardware-based keylogger is the keyboard overlay on an ATM. Every time a bank customer presses the buttons on the criminal’s fake keypad - thinking it’s the legitimate ATM keypad - the keylogger records the keystrokes and forwards the information to the cybercriminal.
Bots, or Internet robots, are also known as spiders, crawlers, and web bots. While they may be utilized to perform repetitive jobs, such as indexing a search engine, they often come in the form of malware. Malware bots are used to gain total control over a computer.
✅The Good One of the typical “good” bot uses is to gather information. Bots in such guises are called web crawlers. Another “good” use is automatic interaction with instant messaging, instant relay chat, or assorted other web interfaces. Dynamic interaction with websites is yet another way bots are used for positive purposes. ❌The Bad Malicious bots are defined as self-propagating malware that infects its host and connects back to a central server(s). The server functions as a “command and control center” for a botnet, or a network of compromised computers and similar devices. Malicious bots have the “worm-like ability to self-propagate,” and can also: Gather passwords, Log keystrokes, Obtain financial information, Relay spam, Capture and analyze packets, Launch DoS attacks, Open back doors on the infected computer, Exploit back doors opened by viruses and worms. Bots are usually used to infect large numbers of computers. These computers form a “botnet,” or a bot network.
Here are some of the many ways to tell if your computer is infected by bots: Internet access is slow for no apparent reason. The computer crashes for no apparent reason. The fan goes into overdrive when the device is idle. The computer takes a long time to shut down, or fails to shut down correctly. Pop-up windows and advertisements appear even when you aren’t using a web browser. Friends and family receive email messages you did not send. Computer programs are running slowly. Settings have changed, and there’s no way to reverse them. The browser features components you didn’t download.
It’s very possible to protect your computer from bots, but it takes diligence and knowing what to look for. Use the following tips to keep your computer safe: - Install firewalls to block malicious attacks and never turn them off. - Use a long and complicated password that contains numbers and symbols. - Never use the same password for multiple programs. - Install quality anti-malware software such as Norton Security to protect your device. - Ensure software is up to date, and never ignore system updates. - Refrain from using flash drives, or thumb drives, in an infected computer.
If your computer is already infected by bots, protecting your data is the most important thing. Disconnect the computer from the network as soon as possible, which will halt the theft of sensitive information. It also prevents your computer from being used to attack other networks. The next step is moving all important/personal data to another computer or external hard drive—just make certain they’re malware-free first! Once this is complete, you’ll need to clean your computer using assorted security tools, or by having a professional work on the device. Remember, prevention is the best medicine in regard to bots and all other malware. Stay up to date with your software, never click on anything suspicious, and utilize anti-malware techniques to the fullest extent.