There’s a zombie in your computer.

OK, maybe, but it’s not trying to eat your brains. It’s just sitting there quietly in your computer…waiting for its commands. It usually doesn’t mess with anything. It may be watching what you are doing…quietly recording items from your life. Passwords, bank accounts, and so on. Every once in a while, it delivers it’s package to headquarters.

Then…it receives it’s instruction. It starts sending requests to a provided IP address or a URL. Still, you don’t even notice. Your system is still working just as it did before. There’s a spike in your internet usage…but most of us will never notice that. Your computer, it’s a zombie part of a Botnet. Lots of computers are all sending requests to the same website or maybe a few websites. The servers there can’t handle the load of all those requests…so it stops responding. It’s Bank of America, maybe Wells Fargo, maybe both. Customers trying to do banking can’t access their accounts, make their payments, transfer funds. And you’re part of it.

IF it’s stealing my information, I’ll be mad. But if it’s not? If it’s JUST a zombie? What of it? Why do I care? Well….I DO CARE. It really makes me grind my teeth to be part of something that I didn’t choose to be part of. How did this happen?

Well, there’s 3 common ways for this kind of software to make it to your system.

1. Removable media (used to be floppy disk, now it’s thumb drives).
2. Website with malicious code.
3. Emails.

Emails….MOST of them are distributed by emails. You can put all kinds of security measures in place for removable media and for surfing to protect yourself or the computers in your care at. Still, ANY person can circumvent ANY security measure, through their own actions. In spite of the complex and sophisticated technology and encryption employed in our daily lives, PEOPLE are the weak link.

When you open that email. When you click that link. When you install that program.

How do you protect yourself? Rely on that anti-malware program? Antivirus? Not if you say “OK” to an installing program. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that everyone’s not out to get you!

Read my future article on how to check your email messages.

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