Viruses and other Nasties! What you should know


Member Extraordinaire
Dec 31, 2004
Reaction score
With all the MSN viruses and little nasties going around and causing upheavel at the moment, i thought you all might find this more than interesting...

There is a big difference between a hacker, a cracker and a script kiddie. The media and Law Enforcement use the word hacker to include anyone that is trying to get around the way computers and the internet are suppose to work. Have you ever retyped a URL just a little different than what you were directed to, just to see if there were other pages that didn't have public links? Did you ever mistype a URL and get a file list of a site instead of the Page? If you have then by law enforcement definition you are a hacker, I know it makes me one. But a hacker has skills. He has learned how the internet works, how the software works, how the hardware works, and is a code writer. These are skills that are not easy to come by, they take hard work and a singular focus. And the people who make this effort are going to try and make money using their skills. There are two kinds of hackers, White hat and Black hat.

The white hat hackers. They are the ones that start out trying to figure out how things will work but basically don’t want to do any damage to the computers they hack into, so they are going to be the ones that corporation go to and hire them to try and break into their systems and pay them to do it. Kind of like the Homeless hacker, he didn't steal anything or break anything. He hacked a system and then told them how to fix it.

Then you have the Blackhat hackers. They will try and break into systems for their own reasons, but again they are more than likely going to want to get some benefit from doing the hack.

A home PC isn't a juicy target for the most part. There really isn't much worth their time on them. If someone got into mine, they might get my credit card number and bank number, they would wonder at my taste in wallpapers and glance thru the pics on my hard drive, but there is really nothing there that is going to give them the satisfaction or profit from getting in there. They want the juicy prizes.

Then you have the crackers. They work on software. They are the people that don’t want to have to pay for software so they try and figure ways around registering software or purchasing it thru keys.

And then you have script kiddies, they use tools written by someone else to try and get into your system. They more than likely don't know what the code means, they are using a tool. They use other tools to rewrite virus and trojans without really understanding how to code and how to do what they really want. they are the ones that will get on your machine and just thrash it to make you mad.

And then you have Trojans, Virus’s and worms, all of which are just a small program that was written to take advantage of an exploit. The only real difference is how they operate. Virus’s tend to be noisy and draw attention to themselves. Trojans just sit there doing what they are programmed to do and they do it in the background and are very quite when they do it. Worms dig in replicate and try and take over your system.

Of all of them I fear the script kiddie the most. That is why I run a firewall.

A firewall that is purely software based isn't 100% secure, but its not the firewalls fault. It has to rely on the OS and all the software that has opened ports in the firewall to be secure too. In fact if the OS and the other software were secure then there wouldn't be a need for a firewall at all. So software firewalls, such as ZoneAlarm are trying to stay at least even with if not a few steps ahead of the known exploits in the OS, to try and secure your connection. It is also true that a hardware firewall is better in ways than a software firewall, because it isolates your computer from the net and is not reliant on the operating system at all, BUT it still isn't a solution that is perfect, because in theory they are also hackable, and they do not protect you from outbound threats at all. So the best solution is a good hardware firewall and a good software firewall working together.

If a hacker can get your IP address at any time then chances are if he really wants to spend the time trying to get into your system, he probably will. As for the Trojans, you are relying on the OS to hold up part of the security so a properly written Trojan could more than likely get thru a firewall. But depending on the firewall, may not be able to get back out. In fact some firewalls control if a program can communicate with the outside world at all, thru the net or thru email. And if you can stop it, then the virus or trojan or worm has not been able to do its job.

Now, that said you have to think about something else. A real hacker doesn't want to get into your and my systems because they are not juicy targets. And another reason is we do have firewalls, so we are looking at how our system reacts and interacts on the net for at least some of the time. People who run firewalls tend to watch things more and are interested in keeping thier machine safe. So if a hacker could get around the firewall and use our machines to do something, we will notice and cut him off. And as for them wanting a credit card number, you may have 1 or 2, but there are systems out there with no firewall (or a badly administered one) with millions of numbers that will be easier to get. And if he really wanted your personal information, there is no need to crack into your computer to get it. Almost all of your personal information can be gotten to on the net, just by knowing where to go.

So basically what it gets down to is this, in a perfect world for a hacker you would just hand over your passwords to a hacker and be done with it. But this isn't a perfect world, and Trojans are not written well, and most hackers don't have the skills required. Its not hackers that you and I spend so much time defending against, it’s the script kiddies, the punks that are basically trying to get into your machine just to wreck things. They are the ones that cause most of the damage to machines connected to the net.

Now if you do a scan on your system and find an open port it doesn't make you more any more vulnerable to a hacker, but it does make you more vulnerable to a script kiddie, who probably doesn’t have the skills to go thru the firewall in the first place.

It all seems kind of daunting but you need to be aware of security while being connected to the web. Not just a virus scanner or a firewall or any one singular thing. Security on the net needs to be multilayered. You need a firewall, a virus scanner, a trojan scanner, and several malware scanners. All, including your OS, need to be updated regularly, and used. If you have a router, that gives you another layer of defense. Also you need to know sites (keep them bookmarked) where you can go to scan your system for virus’s , trojans, and other things. That way when a virus or other program comes out that keeps you from running the programs you have, or you think they are missing something, you can go right to the site and scan your machine with a scanner that professionals are maintaining and updating immediately when new exploits are found.

With all of that said, you are probably thinking, what’s the use of being on the net in the first place? To my answer is , it’s a great tool, entertainment medium, and it makes that person on the other side of the world your neighbor. It sounds like a lot but most of the programs will work in the background, and you can spend just a little time each week checking for updates and doing system scans, just to make sure that you are safe. You just need to get into the habit of doing it all and don’t skip it. Also pay attention to the news, they usually say when there is a new virus out, or when patches come out for windows, but they also gives you clues on what not to do, like if you get an email from any software vendor that has an attachment, chances are 100% that it’s a virus (unless you asked for it). So just think about what you are doing, and use some free tools and keep your system safe. a free online trojan scanner a good source for technical papers and port references ARIN's whois lookup, can lookup by IP or Domain Geektools whois, by IP only good general information about Firewalls Another reporting agency Spybot S&D Malware scanner AdAware malware scanner Spy Sweeper, another malware scanner


Yank Upstart
Aug 30, 2004
Reaction score
crazylegs said:
Did you ever mistype a URL and get a file list of a site instead of the Page? If you have then by law enforcement definition you are a hacker,

Oh God, im going to jail :D
no seriously this is a very infomative article you got here! i highly suggest you try to turn it into a sticky thread, ask ian about it. :)

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question