Help!! How do I know if my computer is being hacked?

  • Archie
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Post 3+ Months Ago

can anyone please let me know how i can be aware of a hack into my computer so as to take precautions!!!! :?:

Archie
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • TheArchitect
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Chances are pretty slim. Here's what I'd suggest you do:

OS: If you've got Windows XP do the following

1. Get Service Pack 2.
2. Get McAfee's Firewall and Anti-Virus.
3. Get Ad-Aware [http://www.lavasoft.de] and also Spyware Blaster.
4. Panic (j/k :P)!

OS: If you've got Linux do the following

1. Get a cup of coffee.
2. Sit back and relax.
3. NOBODY hacks Linux.
  • Daemonguy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The ways are too numerous to mention, though, by "hacked" do you mean you think someone from the internet actually has access to your machine, or perhaps you were infected with a virus? (The two are not mutually exclusive).
If it's a virus, then I suggest any number of anti-virus programs; Symantec Anti-Virus is but one.

If you feel as though your system has been actually "hacked", that is to say, some vulnerability exploited to the extent that you feel as though someone is actively or passively utilizing the resources of your computer, the answer is more complex.
If this is a business system, you may wish to hire a forensics expert to determine when and if this occurred, trace the steps, if possible to determine business transgressions. If this is just your home computer, and the only thing you wish to do is get them the heck off, you need to format and start over. More importantly, before bringing it back online, you need to invest in a firewall of some kind.

I am not an advocate for software host-based firewalls for Windows. the reasons are many and varied, but suffice to say that one of the main reasons MS is vulnerable to attack is the very core of what make's it an operating system -- the same OS which runs the FW. But, having that would be better than nothing.

Zone Labs makes a decent client firewall, that is easy to use and configure on the fly.

I suggest however, that if you are on broadband, look into spending nearly the same amount of money on a hardware FW, or router. (A firewall is really nothing more than a router with ACLs [access control lists]).

Linksys is a popular choice and makes it just a bit more difficult, and really, that's the point. The vast majority of 'hackers' out there are just script kiddies; people who know squat about cracking, and use tools that were developed by real crackers (as a means to make a point to software developers to enforce more strict guidelines on software development). If it's too tough for them to do, they move along. This is the new low-attention-span generation, and most do not spend the time it takes to really hack a system. Kids... geez.

Anyway. Those are some of your choices. I wish you luck.

Cheers.
  • Daemonguy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

psyc0w wrote:
Chances are pretty slim. Here's what I'd suggest you do:

OS: If you've got Windows XP do the following

1. Get Service Pack 2.
2. Get McAfee's Firewall and Anti-Virus.
3. Get Ad-Aware [http://www.lavasoft.de] and also Spyware Blaster.
4. Panic (j/k :P)!

OS: If you've got Linux do the following

1. Get a cup of coffee.
2. Sit back and relax.
3. NOBODY hacks Linux.


Relax?

Negative. A default install of nearly any distro of linux is, in some ways, even easier to hack than Windows.
Let me clarify before the flames come on.

Because Linux is open-source -- and yes, that is a good thing -- people know how the code executes, line by line. That means that "bad people" know just as much as the "good people". Ergo, the more you know about your target, the easier it should be to whack.

That having been said, it doesn't happen as often for quite a few reasons. I think that there is a certain level of respect, but more importantly, there are just too many Windows machines out there. The ratio is staggering. Plus, as I said in my initial reply, the easier something is, the more often it is attacked. With all the crackers writing script code to whack windows machines, it's no wonder the kiddies are going nutso.

There are as it happens, quite a few Linux vulnerabilities (and subsequent scripts to exploit said vulnerabilities) out in the wild. The main difference between the two concepts -- open source and closed source -- is the time between code releases and patch updates. Typically, when a hole is discovered in an open source project, the community is all over it and it gets fixed rather quickly -- but only, and let me state this in caps, ONLY , IF THE SYSAD OR OWNER UPDATES REGULARLY! If you build a distr of say, SuSe, and leave it alone for 6 months without ever installing an APAR or security kernel patch you are just as if not more so vulnerable.

The other benefit is that because the open source community is so proactive, crackers rarely feel the need to write exploitation code -- remember it's only written as an incentive to software companies to comply.

Now, closed source is a bit more difficult. Regular patch fixes can use up human resources; resources better spent on making the company more money -- which BTW, is also a "good thing". :) However, it means that code releases are fewer and farther between, and patches only come at the needling of paying customers.

In actually, as of late, more Linux systems (in as much as website defacements) are being "hacked". (Ref: http://www.zone-h.org)

So to say "Linus doesn't get hacked", is clearly a misrepresentation.

Cheers.
  • TomK
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Here's my thinking when it comes to hacking Linux.

Most people who use Linux are experienced computer users who know what they're doing. Therefore they will implement security against being hacked more than somebody who uses Windows. This is a generalization, but it's true. Most Linux users will employ anti-virus protection, firewalls, etc. where as the vast majority of Windows users depend on Microsoft for their security.

Another thing to remember about Linux users are that quite a few are programmers, or at least friends with programmers. Personally, if I were a hacker, would I want to attempt to hack a computer knowing that the person owning the computer could retaliate? I'm not saying people do this on a regular basis, but I am quite sure it would happen a lot more often if you're trying to hack a Linux system instead of a Windows system.

All in all, Windows users are bigger targets for hackers since their are a lot more of them (easier to find somebody with bad security) and a lot of Windows users have no clue when it comes to security.
  • ATNO/TW
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Post 3+ Months Ago

As noted, Linux has it's vulnerabilities as demonstrated here:

http://www.ozzu.com/general-discussion/sans-most-critical-internet-security-vulnerabilities-t33143.html

My personal opinion is that Home computer users have less to worry about than Corporations. Your biggest concern is backdoor trojans and unpatched vulnerabilities that can allow malicious people to take control of your computer (or harvest information from your computer without you ever knowing it). The solution to this is install any critical update/ security patch, have a good virus protection, firewall, and use any number of Spyware detection and removal tools (most of which have been numerously mentioned in the Windows board). Corporations are the real challenge.

Face it, it is just simply not a challenge to a hacker to get into your personal PC. There is no notoriety or sense of challenge in that. Most home users are relatively benign targets provided you take security precautions as those mentioned.

In my personal opinion, I think Linux doesn't get attacked as much because it is Linux. I get the sneaky suspicion Windows get's targeted just because it's Windows and people just like screwing with Mr Gates and company. (just my opinion)
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Why do most people think Linux is un-hackable? Its quite hackable if you know what your doing..
  • Felix_net
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ATNO/TW wrote:
In my personal opinion, I think Linux doesn't get attacked as much because it is Linux. I get the sneaky suspicion Windows get's targeted just because it's Windows and people just like screwing with Mr Gates and company. (just my opinion)

Amen. Believe me, I've had it up to here (gesture towards neck) with Microsoft. I'm sick of explainable GUI errors, especially the ones that come up as your PC boots up when you haven't had a chance to do anything. The computer just confuses itself and crashes. I'm going to switch to Linux or some BSD as fast as I can. I don't care about the hardware incompatibilites anymore, I'll make it work. As for security, Linux is slightly safer because it's much less common than Windows. Plus, I think their is an unspoken respect between hacker and Open source OS users. Not that I condone hacking. Love the white hat, not the black. There are just so many people that are ignorant of securing their PC from outside forces. Most people nowadays have some sort of Anti-virus protection. But many are oblivious to spyware and adware, things to that nature. People wonder why they get so much spam. It's a sad world for the uneducated PC person.
  • TomK
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I would run Linux, but I like playing games. Most games are designed for Windows. Hence, I can't switch.
  • madmonk
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Post 3+ Months Ago

yea linux is good. :-)
  • faith4
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Post 3+ Months Ago

why no 1 hacks linux ?
just cuz people dont like microsoft(hackers)
  • Daemonguy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

TomK wrote:
Here's my thinking when it comes to hacking Linux.

Most people who use Linux are experienced computer users who know what they're doing. Therefore they will implement security against being hacked more than somebody who uses Windows. This is a generalization, but it's true. Most Linux users will employ anti-virus protection, firewalls, etc. where as the vast majority of Windows users depend on Microsoft for their security.


Really? While I might agree that a large number of *nix users have some level of experience, I sincerely doubt that the vast majority of them have experience with said operating system. That is to say, they take jobs where *nix is the OS in use, having once been MS admins, or a company make a technical and strategic move to a new OS (*nix) without considering the ramifications of those actions. A quick visit to the Linux/Unix section will show that there are plenty of people who are being forced or have chosen to migrate, and are beginners.
Also, just because someone uses an OS for application work, does not mean they know the nuts and bolts of said OS. If that were the case, my company would not be making the sort of consulting dollars we do at present.
There are a large number of default install Linux system in use by start-up hosting companies that do not have adequately patched kernels; note that this is not due to a lackadaisical approach by the system administrators, but more a lack of time and resources to obtain that knowledge.
A visit to the link I provided earlier (defacement mirror) shows a tremendous amount of linux hacking going on.

Very few Linux admins are fluent with kernel level security.


TomK wrote:
Another thing to remember about Linux users are that quite a few are programmers, or at least friends with programmers. Personally, if I were a hacker, would I want to attempt to hack a computer knowing that the person owning the computer could retaliate? I'm not saying people do this on a regular basis, but I am quite sure it would happen a lot more often if you're trying to hack a Linux system instead of a Windows system.

All in all, Windows users are bigger targets for hackers since their are a lot more of them (easier to find somebody with bad security) and a lot of Windows users have no clue when it comes to security.


Programmers, by and large, are the worst offenders where security is concerned. A large number of them actually HATE computers -- I know, an odd concept to follow, but nearly every one of them I have met from software group despise computers. They're an odd bunch.

Generally speaking, and I think I made that point apparent, there are many more Windows systems available, ergo increased activity towards security, however, I think if we look at ratios, we'll see a distinct similarity.
I can agree with the fact that most Windows users have not a single clue about security, but I would not carry that assumption to the conclusion that just because someone runs Linux, they are completely clue-full either.

Cheers.
  • Daemonguy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

ATNO/TW wrote:
As noted, Linux has it's vulnerabilities as demonstrated here:

http://www.ozzu.com/general-discussion/sans-most-critical-internet-security-vulnerabilities-t33143.html

My personal opinion is that Home computer users have less to worry about than Corporations. Your biggest concern is backdoor trojans and unpatched vulnerabilities that can allow malicious people to take control of your computer (or harvest information from your computer without you ever knowing it). The solution to this is install any critical update/ security patch, have a good virus protection, firewall, and use any number of Spyware detection and removal tools (most of which have been numerously mentioned in the Windows board). Corporations are the real challenge.

Face it, it is just simply not a challenge to a hacker to get into your personal PC. There is no notoriety or sense of challenge in that. Most home users are relatively benign targets provided you take security precautions as those mentioned.

In my personal opinion, I think Linux doesn't get attacked as much because it is Linux. I get the sneaky suspicion Windows get's targeted just because it's Windows and people just like screwing with Mr Gates and company. (just my opinion)


While I agree that there are plenty of exploitable vulnerabilities in Linux ATNO, I disagree that home systems are largely at reduced risk, merely because they are in someone's home.
Quite the contrary. When we were trying to figure out some DNS issues in July of 2002, we found -- and it was subsequently reported -- that the source of those issues were DDoS attacks aimed at the 13 root servers -- 6 of which were downed. This was accomplished via hundreds of thousands of home machines on broadband connections working in concert to overwhelm the large pipes. The Patriot Act addresses this in that -- technically -- home users could be held liable should not prevention/protection exist. It has not been the case thus far, as it's far more profitable for say, AG Edwards to go after other corporations whose netpipes were utilized for this nefarious activity, but the verbiage would not have been included if the opportunity did not exist.

Barring that, a large amount of home systems are hacked to afford file storage for software pirates, or IC bot controllers for inter-cracker communication. While not directly contributing, it's still just a degree of separation.

I will grant you, that a modicum of individuals crack Winders simply because it's Winders. :) Mr. Gates is not a well-liked individual in those circles, but path of least resistance is the deciding factor. IMHO. ;)

Cheers.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I sorta get the feeling that Archie is now everwhelmed with a plethora of information that he/she was in no means expecting. Sorry Archie...but you probably got the most informative replies you could possibly find.
  • TomK
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Daemonguy wrote:
Really? While I might agree that a large number of *nix users have some level of experience, I sincerely doubt that the vast majority of them have experience with said operating system. That is to say, they take jobs where *nix is the OS in use, having once been MS admins, or a company make a technical and strategic move to a new OS (*nix) without considering the ramifications of those actions. A quick visit to the Linux/Unix section will show that there are plenty of people who are being forced or have chosen to migrate, and are beginners.
Also, just because someone uses an OS for application work, does not mean they know the nuts and bolts of said OS. If that were the case, my company would not be making the sort of consulting dollars we do at present.
There are a large number of default install Linux system in use by start-up hosting companies that do not have adequately patched kernels; note that this is not due to a lackadaisical approach by the system administrators, but more a lack of time and resources to obtain that knowledge.
A visit to the link I provided earlier (defacement mirror) shows a tremendous amount of linux hacking going on.

Very few Linux admins are fluent with kernel level security.


I think you misunderstood my point (due to my poorly-thought out post, no doubt). I realize that many Linux users don't understand the Linux kernel, but they do know about basic security precautions such as firewalls and anti-virus programs. I think the people most vulnerable to hacker attacks on their home PCs are people that ordered a Dell or went to Future Shop and picked out what the sales guy told them to. These people really have no idea what a firewall or anti-virus program is, hence they are more vulnerable to hackers. Almost all Linux users know enough about computers to setup a firewall, anti-virus programs, spyware detection, and update their OS to fix security bugs. Also, these people are less susceptible to those viruses that require you to click on things or download files since they are more knowledgable about computer viruses. The difference between Linux and Windows in terms of security is neglible (they both have their flaws, and both can be hacked). It's the people that are using the OS that truly controls the security of it. And generally, Linux users have a higher computer security IQ than Windows users.
  • dqualter
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Post 3+ Months Ago

well i have used linux and windows, apart from hardware issues (modem :( ) linux was lovly . windows is easyer to gt a head around but i think thats only because every one has grown to m$. spyware and adware is not designed for linux hence less security problems . most viruses are designed for windows .
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BTW im trying to get a HDD to work so i cant instal linux (help me in hardware lol) and Daemonguy you type too much :LOL:
  • Daemonguy
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TomK wrote:


I think you misunderstood my point (due to my poorly-thought out post, no doubt). I realize that many Linux users don't understand the Linux kernel, but they do know about basic security precautions such as firewalls and anti-virus programs. I think the people most vulnerable to hacker attacks on their home PCs are people that ordered a Dell or went to Future Shop and picked out what the sales guy told them to. These people really have no idea what a firewall or anti-virus program is, hence they are more vulnerable to hackers. Almost all Linux users know enough about computers to setup a firewall, anti-virus programs, spyware detection, and update their OS to fix security bugs. Also, these people are less susceptible to those viruses that require you to click on things or download files since they are more knowledgable about computer viruses. The difference between Linux and Windows in terms of security is neglible (they both have their flaws, and both can be hacked). It's the people that are using the OS that truly controls the security of it. And generally, Linux users have a higher computer security IQ than Windows users.


Well, are we talking "hackers" or "virus programmers"? They most certainly are not the same animal, and if you went to DefCon or the BlackHat conferences you would, most assuredly be castigated for even thinking they run in the same circles. :)

I will grant you that *nix systems are entirely less susceptible to virus infection -- though not completely "bug-free".

I can state categorically that there are many more *nix users our there "catching the wave" as it were, and that a *nix newbie is definitely open for attack, as much as any Windows user. An open stack, is an open stack. Certainly, if someone approaches a *nix for use, they intend to at the very least attempt to protect the machine in some fashion, though the point could be made that it is, in fact easier to install a software client-based protection package on Windows than a new user learning how to run IPFW.
There simply are not enough, nor widely available knowledge on 'firewall' packages for *nix; one must WANT to delve into the guts and make it function in that capacity.

It's always about the people; while programs like Black Ice and Zone Alarm are functional to some extent, the number of people that run them (aside from mandatorily installed images from a corporate policy) are low, at least until it's too late. The fact that it is easier to install a client-based "firewall" in Windows, does not seem to generate that level of interest -- though I admit, that mindset seems to be rapidly changing.

Cheers.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

dqualter wrote:
BTW im trying to get a HDD to work so i cant instal linux (help me in hardware lol) and Daemonguy you type too much :LOL:


Sorry. I will endeavor to be less verbose. :)

Cheers.
  • BaDD CoDeR
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Quote:
I would run Linux, but I like playing games. Most games are designed for Windows. Hence, I can't switch.-Tom K



All my brothers only use Linux n they play a lot of games. They use that virtual windows thing for Linux. I forgot the right name for it, but the ppl on here will probably know for you. :)
  • Felix_net
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BaDD CoDeR wrote:
Quote:
I would run Linux, but I like playing games. Most games are designed for Windows. Hence, I can't switch.-Tom K

True for the most part.

All my brothers only use Linux n they play a lot of games. They use that virtual windows thing for Linux. I forgot the right name for it, but the ppl on here will probably know for you. :)

Now that's a nice setup. I've had the same problem as dqualter. I experimented with an old copy of Redhat, but I could not for the life of me get an internet connection. If I could get the modem to work, I would probably leave windows forever. I have an Intel modem, which I believe is called a winmodem in the Linux realm. Anyone else have a similar problem?
  • Mr Silence
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I've had problems on all the different kinds of system I use, including linux. There's this clever litle bastard who keeps worming into my software and destroying all my files. and he always sends me an email after wards as well just to take the piss! :evil: :evil:
  • Archie
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanx! Guys,for the tons of information, i was a little worried about getting hacked or something of that sort as my Norton suite gives me a report of a probale hacking activity with the inetnum, netname, country etc etc, once maybe a fortnight or so. Maybe it was probably to hijack my computer or just a scare. i use windows xp pro SP2 with Norton Antivirus Pro edition 2003. Maybe i'll continue to look up these pages so as to get a hold of my anxiety as well as my computer!!
  • noddynoodle
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I got h4xx3d once, I found out because Shutdown suddenly appeared, 1 min timer...




And I'll never install SP2. Just to say it.

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