Home Pc Security

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Hackers have a number of methods for breaking into your computer, and new attacks are constantly being developed. Some of the most popular hacking techniques are successful due to their simplicity, while others are designed to infiltrate complicated security protocols. Some hacking devices are employed as a virus, sent to your computer embedded in an email. When you open the email, the virus quietly integrates itself into your system, and sets about automatically reconfiguring specific aspects of your computer according to the hacker's intention.

By now, most PC users know enough to be wary of suspicious emails, and many email clients actually pull and quarantine any questionable messages until they can be accepted or rejected by the user. However, many virus programs propagate themselves by embedding copies of the virus in all email sent from their host computer. Even though you know enough to delete any mail from potentially shady senders, your friend might not be as cautious. As a result, your friend can acquire the virus, and unknowingly transmit it to your PC in an email that you would have no cause to suspect.

Implementing Home PC Security

Virus files can also be picked up from a website. A virus can be embedded in a file, such as an image file. You might, while visiting a site, click on a thumbnail to view a full sized image. As the full image is opened in your browser, the virus is downloaded to your system, all without your knowledge. Although this type of virus distribution is usually limited to adult sites, any unfamiliar, anonymous site is a potential security risk.

The widespread popularity of peer-to-peer file sharing has introduced a new generation of home PC security risks. Peer-to-peer (P2P) programs allow users to go online and exchange files with each other, creating a reservoir of free audio, video, image, document, and software files. Trojan horse and backdoor programs are hacking tools hidden in these files, which are then made available to anyone for the asking.

For example, a user might download an infected mp3 from a P2P network. The first time the mp3 is played on the PC, an invisible program is installed on the system, granting the program's distributor remote access to the computer. This means that a hacker, using a backdoor program, can browse through your entire hard drive just as easily as he could if he were sitting at your desk. He can use your computer to hack other computers, creating a trail that leads back to your IP. He might also use your PC to distribute spam, and other virus/backdoor programs, which can not only make you appear to be a criminal, but can slow your system's performance to an unbearable degree.

Backdoor programs can also record keystrokes, Internet activity, and virtually everything else you do on your computer. Most of these programs will even send regular email updates to the hacker, using your online connection. The keystroke recorder can provide the hacker with any user name or password you might have entered online, even if the password was obscured onscreen by asterisks. In addition, personal exchanges such as your instant messaging sessions and emails can all be easily included in the report, as well as a record of all your Internet searches and surfing. All of this information can be potentially abused in many ways, which is why it is crucial to be vigilant against anything that might compromise your home PC security.

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