Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are You Unwillingly Helping Cyber Criminals?

Are You Unwillingly Helping Cyber Criminals? Wow! The thought of helping Cyber Criminals is kind of sickening but many do it everyday without even knowing it. Let s start by talking about what Cyber criminals do. Cyber criminals use the internet to attack companies using the power of the internet as well as spamming, identity theft, and extortion. Perpetrators of these attacks typically - but not exclusively - target sites or services hosted on high-profile web servers; a pair of DNS Backbone DDoS Attacks, on October 22, 2002 and February 6, 2007, targeted DNS root servers, in an apparent attempt to disable the Internet itself. The type that I see most is threatening companies by shutting their website business or services down with a DDOS (distributed denial of service attack). A distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) occurs when multiple compromised systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers. These systems are compromised by attackers using a variety of methods. These attacks cost companies tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue plus the cost of fighting the attack itself and these costs go into the cost of doing business thus you and I pay for it. This is where you come in! The reason these cyber terrorists have the power to bring down large networks and company websites is because of the thousands of PC s that are connected to the Internet and are not secure! Yes you Joe and Jane hope PC user (this is also how they get your personal information). You have your PC connected to the internet and go merrily along searching the web and checking email wondering why your PC is running so slow. At the same time they do are running out of date Virus protection or none at all and no firewall. The Cyber criminals love you. They are harvesting machine after machine just like yours with little or no effort because you did not protect PC with a few simple steps. They now have control over your PC and can use it anytime they like to attack others, steal your personal information and SPAM people just like you. Yes I said SPAM. Spamming using compromised computers is now the preferred way since it is hard to trace and easy to obtain compromised PC s (also knows as bots or botnet s when controlled as a group). It has been estimated that up to one quarter of all personal computers connected to the internet are part of a botnet! The scary thing is most PC users have no idea their PC has been compromised and so do nothing to fix it. If all PC owners installed anti-virus software and a firewall, kept the software up to date and scanned their PC s once a week these criminals would have to find another way to do business and we would save millions of dollars each year. One of the excuses I hear from people I talk to about why they do not secure their PC s is it costs too much. Well that excuse doesn t fly. There are several anti- virus companies that offer free versions of there products for home users. Customers to my site can find a list of these in the computer section or do an internet search but be careful there are fakes out there that will compromise you PC. The same goes for firewalls; Zonelabs has a free version of Zonealarm for home users. These are easy to install and do a great job keeping you PC and the internet at large safe. So if you don t want to be part of the problem then protect your PC by installing an anti-virus and firewall program. Make sure you keep the software up to date as well as running regular scans. We can all protect ourselves and each other this way! Comptia A and Network certified professional. More great information can be found at

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