How's your virus protection? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Fair use: Source: It started off as curiosity, but novice Calgary hacker Richard was soon stunned by what he found on other people's computers. Self-taught as a website designer and highly proficient behind the mouse, Richard -- not his real name -- decided to test-run one of the countless "point and click" programs he had seen for would-be hackers. "I'd heard about these programs, so I went and found one, downloaded it -- it was all point and click, real simple to do -- and to my surprise, it found people all over the place," said Richard. "Basically, it looked for people with a particular program on their systems, and I was amazed -- so many people out on the Net are already infected, and they have no idea." The "hacking for dummies" program in question -- known as a "Trojan Horse" for its ability to sneak into a system undetected -- is slipped in through e-mail, or an innocent-looking program. Once attached, a hacker can go in through the infected computer's so-called back door, gaining access to virtually any file. "The funniest thing I found was almost everybody had anti-virus software on their computer, but nobody was using it," said Richard. "Ninety percent of people could stop this from happening if they used their software -- they're fools." One user Richard secretly watched had his files encrypted, so no one could read his private information without the right password. "I placed a pop-up box on his screen, claiming to be his service provider, and asking him to re-enter his user name and password," he said. "Sure enough, he did." On another infected terminal, Richard sent an on-screen message telling the user, "Hi, I'm in your system. You should start using your anti-virus software." Another programming possibility for someone with Richard's knowledge is a hidden file showing everything the victim had typed into his computer the previous day -- including pin numbers and the like. "It's a log file, so every stroke on the keyboard is recorded, and I can grab it and take it back to my computer," he said. And destroying a computer would be child's play, said Richard. "I could have completely warped their computers so they'd lose all their data." The basic programs needed to hack into a system are widely available on the Internet, and Richard said it wouldn't take much to become a computer villain. "It takes very little knowledge. "You don't have to be a hacker, you could just do it all with the programs hackers have made available."

-- mike in houston (, March 21, 2000

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