Hidden spyware

Tips & Hints

19 June 2007

Spyware at the Opera House

Finding spyware at the Opera House shows just how dangerous the web can be. It appears a hacker managed to log into the Opera House's web site management system and was able to edit the page. Because the hacker didn't do much but add a couple of lines that linked to a spyware page they were able to get away undetected.

This week, the news came out that a number of mainstream Italian sites were similarly hacked. It's difficult to say how many people were infected with the spyware, but it once again illustrates how important it is to protect your computer. Even if you don't visit unsavoury or suspicious site, you need to take care.

Our protection kit goes through the basics. We would also suggest running as a limited user. We've discussed this many times in the past and will be updating the protection kit instructions in the next few days.

One of the aims of spyware writers is to use your computer as a "bot", that is it can be instructed to do things like send spam, store illegal materials or even attack other computers. Link together a number of these "bots" and you create a "botnet". Botnets are a major problem for computer networks as they can be used to cripple websites and corporate networks, in one case an entire country has been attacked.

Botnets are becoming such a problem that the FBI has started investigating them and warning users who are infected. The key phrase in The Age article is "The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised or their personal information exploited."  Many people have no idea.

This is the concern with the Opera House exploit. A well designed exploit might be sitting on a computer without a user even knowing. The first indication your computer is attacking Estonia or pumping out pornography is when the police knock at your door and this is why it's important to protect your computer.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 082 635 765
ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2011