Is Your Computer at Risk of Being Used in a Cyber Attack?

If you have been watching the news lately then you will have likely seen that there has been a rise in the number of cyber attacks which are being taken out against a number of high profile companies.

And while there is a range of technologies at play during these attacks, maybe people just like yourself are surprised to find that their computer at home or at the office has inadvertently been used during such attacks.

To Learn More About a DDoS Attack, Keep Reading.

Your Computer

If there was ever a time where you received an email from a sender you didn’t recognize asking you to either visit a link, download a file, or install an update then you have likely received a malicious email. If you completed any of the tasks in the email, then you computer has been infected.

However, the purpose isn’t to access your files or your information. Instead, hackers are after your computer’s resources and internet access. Let’s explain.

How Do You Access a Website?

When you think about visiting a website like the Groupon Coupons page for Merrell you don’t think that there is too much involved. And rightfully so given that the experience is pretty seamless.

However, behind the scenes, there is a hosting company which is working to keep the page accessible and able to return what you need on your screen. This company handles requests from millions of people at the same time. And generally, these services are pretty good at keeping pages active.

However, there is time where there are just too many people trying to visit the page. This often happens to local news station websites when there is a big breaking story and everybody in the state is trying to access it at the same time. When this happens. The page either becomes remarkably slow or it simply doesn’t respond. This is known as the website crashing.

The site remains down until all of the visitors have stopped requesting access to the site or the provider is able to employ tech-based tools.

How Does It Relate to Your Computer?

The hacker who sent you the email has been quietly accumulating a list of zombie computers just like your own. When they choose a target, such as the website of a company who they don’t believe is doing the right thing, they call upon their army of infected computers and utilize their resources to request access to one single website.

As you can imagine, with tens of millions of requests, this quickly becomes too much for any website to handle and it inevitably crashes, leaving the business unable to provide many of its service to its customers.

However, unless the example of a local news station, these bot computers don’t simply move on to another site once it crashes. Instead, they continue to bombard the site with the request, leaving the hosting company unable to return the site to its active state.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

The first thing to do is to run a thorough virus and malware scan of your computer to remove any found issues. Once you are sure that your computer is clean, education is your best bet.

When you receive an email from somebody you don’t know, always be skeptical of their intentions and never install any files from a sender you don’t fully trust.