10 Ways to Stop Computer Hackers, Internet Viruses, Spyware, Email Spam, Cyber Crime and Zombie Bots
Stop computer hackers who target your computer for cyber crime
as you travel the internet. Computer hackers have created viruses, spyware, email spam and zombie robots for their own malicious purposes. With a few precautions you can keep your computer safe from cyber crimes.
Here we clear up your questions about computer hackers, virus, email spam, spyware, and zombie bots. What Is a computer virus? How do you stop a virus? What is email spam and how do you stop it? What is spyware and how you protect your computer? What are zombie robots and how do you prevent them? Here are 10 things you should know to stop computer hackers
Hacking Is a Computer Crime Called Cyber Crime
Computer crime, also called cyber crime, is criminal activity that targets the computer or the network. Computer crime and hacking includes illegal access to a computer, illegal capture of data, altering data, interfering with the functioning of a computer system, forgery, ID theft and electronic fraud.
The tools for protecting yourself against computer crime are powerful. Cybercriminals are regularly caught and prosecuted.
What Is a Computer Virus
Computer hackers program viruses to duplicate themselves from computer to computer. Regular computer backups help protect against file damage due to viruses. When the computer virus is exterminated and your backup files are scanned for viruses, you will have a clean backup file to use. For backup, you can use a few CDs, an external hard drive or a flash drive.
Anti-Virus Software Stops Computer Hackers
Anti-virus software programs can detect computer hacking and eliminate known viruses. They work by examining the content of the computer's memory and the files stored on hard drives and floppy drives, and comparing those files against a database of known virus "signatures." In addition to scanning sent and received emails, some anti-virus programs are able to scan opened files in a similar manner. Sometimes in the worst cases, to destroy the virus it is necessary to back up important files, erase the hard drive and reinstall the operating system. Anti-virus software is available from BitDefender, Zone Labs, Kaspersky Labs, Norton, McAfee and Trend Micro. Alwil provides free, effective anti-virus software. Other products cost from $30 to $50 each year.
How Hackers Use Computer Spyware
Spyware is software written by a hacker and secretly installed on your computer. It can collect personal information, install additional software, redirect your Web browser to another site, or divert advertising revenue to a third party. Adware is used as an advertising agent to put popup ads on the screen when you least expect them. Spyware and adware are often hidden inside free screensavers or downloaded music. Internet file-sharing sites, where music files are available, can be the source of infected files that, when downloaded, have access to your computer. Law enforcement has successfully brought to trial the cyber crime hackers that use Spyware to deliver unwanted ads to your computer.
One notorious type of Spyware hacking is the key-logger, which records your keystrokes and secretly sends screen images to the spy. Key loggers can monitor every email, Instant Message, chat and Web site visited. Suspicious spouses might buy and install this software to check up on their partner’s activities. Worried parents install key-logger software to oversee their children's surfing activities. Key logger Spyware can be used by computer hackers as a form of malicious stalking. If you suspect that you are the target of a stalker, contact a law enforcement official.
Anti-Spyware Software Stops Computer Hackers
If you surf the Internet often but have not checked your computer for Spyware, your computer could be infected. Download the free, effective software called Spybot to locate and remove any Spyware on your computer. Other popular anti-Spyware programs include F-Secure, Webroot Spy Sweeper, PC Tools Spyware Doctor, Trend Micro Anti-Spyware, Lavasoft Ad-Aware, Zone Labs, BitDefender and McAfee. Prices range from $10 to $60 for a one-year subscription. Be sure you download any software from the official site.
What are Computer Robots, or Zombie Bots
The fastest growing cyber crime of computer hackers are the robots, also called zombie bots. Software robots can control a computer without the owner’s knowledge. Even while you are using the computer, the robots run in the background doing their own dirty tricks. The compromised computer is called a zombie.
How does the robot invade your computer? It is often hidden inside features you downloaded from the internet, like free screensavers and free games. Free porn downloads are likely to be used by computer hackers, too. Eventually, the robot owner gains control of thousands of computers, which he calls his “herd.”
The robots play a role in Internet cyber crimes of extortion. A computer hacker will demand money from large, well-known Internet shopping sites. If they don't pay him off, the hacker threatens the web site with a Denial of Service attack. He will command the herds of robot-infected computers, including your infected computer, to flood the shopping site with browser requests for pages. This cyber attack effectively blocks legitimate customers from the shopping site, and shuts down the web site.
A Firewall Stops Computer Hackers
A firewall is computer software or hardware that blocks unauthorized communications between your computer and the Internet. It will protect your computer from computer hackers, viruses, spyware, spam and robots. Computers with high-speed Internet connection are the prime targets for hackers. Windows XP, Vista and Mac OS X have built-in firewalls. If you need a firewall, ZoneAlarm is inexpensive firewall software for effective computer security. Antivirus Programs vendors like McAfee, Kaspersky and Norton also offer software firewalls . Hardware firewalls are available from Netgear, Dlink, Linksys and Buffalo among others.
How Computer Hackers Use Email Phishing
Email phishing, pronounced “fishing”, is another cyber crime of computer hackers. Using email or instant messaging, computer hackers attempt to fraudulently acquire your usernames, passwords and credit card information by pretending to be a legtimate business. Most often, the victim will receive an email purporting to be from a site like Paypal, eBay, a well-known bank or even the IRS. The email will ask you to click a link and enter your security data. When you click the link, the site you visit looks authentic, but it’s actually a fraud. And once the criminals have your personal data, they can wreak havoc.
How to Protect Yourself From Phishing Hackers
It is actually easy to protect yourself from phishing cyber crime if you keep your eyes open. Don’t let an email message trick you into revealing personal information. There are ways to recognize fraudulent emails. They almost never address you by name. The fradulent document may contain grammar and spelling errors. And if you are at all suspicious, don’t click the link that’s provided. Instead, enter the correct web address in your browser when you want to check your account.
If you look at the HTML source code for the fradulent phishing email, you’ll see that the link which appears to connect you to eBay or Paypal or Hawaii Credit Union, is actually defined in HTML as a link to an unfamiliar Internet address, often with the IP numbers instead of a name. What I do with fradulent emails is to forward them to the real company, eBay or Paypal or whatever, together with the message headers. Internet companies have the procedures in place to deal with these criminals.
How Computer Hackers Use Spam Email
Spam email is any unwanted email that you have not requested. By law, emails should contain the sender’s contact information so that you can opt out or unsubscribe. Much span originates from computer hackers outside the United States and is tricky to stop. Maybe you have received spam emails for penny stock pump-and-dump schemes, or for pharmaceutical drugs sales. Spam is annoying and time consuming, but by itself spam email will not harm your computer.
Spam Blockers Prevent Spam Email
Spam blockers that prevent spam email are provided by most large Internet Service Providers, like AOL, MSN and EarthLink. Spam blockers also come bundled with Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail.
There are relatively few computer hackers targeting Mac OS X and the Unix operating system. But because Windows allows users to accesss and make changes to the operating system environment, it has been the target of computer hackers.
You can prevent computer hackers with security software, safe practices and cautious Web surfing. To keep your computer safe, stop these rogue hackers and cyber crimes. Be sure that children’s computer activities online are always supervised. Children who surf the Internet are easy targets for viruses, spyware, spam, robots and phishing.
The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards - and even then I have my doubts.
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Eugene H. Spafford, director of the Purdue Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security
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