In this capitalist society, almost anything and everything can be bought, or at the very least temporarily rented. Whether it be a home, car, or even a forehead, there is a price on almost everything. But unlike the few rent-able aforementioned objects, the topic of this story is renting something that the owner is unaware of—a personal computer for the purpose of committing cyber crime.
The business of actually renting these computers is called an “anonymization service,” and works by secretly installing bots on people’s computers and then renting them out for criminal use. The whole idea here is that a hacker can use a person’s computer to commit a crime that won’t be traceable back to the criminal, and will instead leave footprints back to the hacked computer.
Aside from anonymity, another reason that cyber criminals use these bots it to help them carry out identity-theft operations. For instance, say a hacker from India managed to get your bank details and wants to max out your account. If all your previous online shopping is done from a computer in the United States and then out of nowhere the account is used by a computer in India, it would be pretty obvious to the credit card companies that some foul play in going on, and the fraudulent purchase will be denied. However, if the Indian hacker uses a rented bot that is located in the same town or city as all the other purchases, then the credit card companies will most likely think the real owner is using the card and the charges will be approved.
So how do you make sure that your computer doesn’t end up on one of these services’ websites and also make sure that you won’t have the authorities knocking on your door about some recent cyber attack? The first step is to head on over to http://www.safer-networking.org and to download and install the Spybot Search & Destroy tool; a free tool that not only scans and destroys the bots on your computer, but also protects against future bot attacks.
To ensure that your computer is safe from bots at all times, make sure to also use the “immunize” feature to protect from future threats and let the program run the in background. You don’t have to worry about opening the program every time you use the computer, as you will see the tiny Spybot icon on the bottom right of your start bar, which means that your computer is now protected against spyware and other bots.
Happy web surfing and make sure to stay away from those bots!