A Special Report
A Hacker Inside Your Computer?

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A Hacker Inside Your Computer?
- by Jim Edwards

Imagine this nightmare scenario...

You check your e-mail program and it reports your
username and password as no longer valid. You call your Internet service provider (ISP) to discuss the problem and they tell you they turned off your account due to "abuse". "Abuse!" you cry to the customer service operator, "What are you talking about?"

"Someone used your computer this past Saturday night in an attempt to hack into a government computer system. They made the attempt at 1:20 a.m. from your account," replies the rep. "Look in your windows registry for a file called QAZWSX.hsq."

You punch a few keys and sure enough the file stares right back at you. "What is it?" you ask, scared to know the answer. "Someone used a Trojan Horse virus" to remotely control your computer and cloak the identity of the hacker. Here's how to get rid of it, just..."

What you just read happened very recently to someone I know quite well. A computer hacker found an open port on his computer when he switched over from a dial-up Internet connection to an "always-on" high-speed connection. The hacker used a robot scanning the Internet for available "ports", openings in a computer that allow data to pass back and forth from a network connection like the Internet.

Once the hacker found an unprotected port on my friend's computer he simply inserted a Trojan Horse virus that rides along with Windows Notepad, a handy utility used by just about everyone who makes web pages. (*)

When my friend activated the notepad program he also activated the virus. The virus in turn transmitted all of my friend's security information to the hacker and allowed him to gain access and control his victim's computer in the middle of the night.

Count me as the last person to sound paranoid, but, as always-on connections through DSL, cable, and T-1 lines proliferate, this story will repeat itself over and over until people learn to protect themselves.

Most people underestimate or are completely ignorant about the importance of information they send over the Internet when surfing websites and checking email. Even if you only use a simple dial-up account, you can unknowingly transmit a significant amount of sensitive information.

You can analyze the security of your web connection for free by going to  http://www.symantec.com/SecurityCheck/ . You can also verify the presence of any known viruses or Trojan horses on your computer. The information I saw when analyzing my personal computer frankly shocked me. I saw data I didn't even know existed staring me right in the face after I performed this analysis.

To protect your computer hardware and sensitive data you should obtain a software package called a "firewall". A firewall, when combined with a good anti-virus program, helps stop unauthorized access on your computer, prevents virus infection, and "cloaks" your data ports against a hacker scanning for openings.

Symantec.com and McAfee.com both offer excellent personal firewall and anti-virus software from their websites or you can buy them off the shelf at your local office supply store. A wise investment for anyone on the net... before it's too late!

--- Jim Edwards is the author of "How to write and publish your own Outrageously Profitable ebook in 7 days, even if you can't write, can't type and failed high school English class! CLICK HERE to become a profitable author. (c) Jim Edwards - All Rights reserved http://www.thenetreporter.com                                                            
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