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Hacker attacks hit home computers 50 times a night

Hacker attacks hit home computers 50 times a night
Hacker attacks hit home computers 50 times a night,,1891177,00.html 

Staff and agencies
October 9, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Home computers can be attacked by hackers more than 50 times a night, 
the results of an experiment showed today.

Every time a test PC was connected to the internet, it was targeted by 
viruses and attempts to gain access to the information it contained.

The experiment, carried out by the BBC News website, used a "honeypot" 
PC, which looked like a normal computer to potential hackers but 
secretly recorded every attempt to gain access to it.

Each time the machine was put online during the month-long test period, 
it came under attack from hackers or dangerous computer programmes. In 
one of the busiest nights of malicious activity, it was attacked 53 

The computer was subjected to a hijack attempt by subverting the web 
server built into Microsoft Windows. A successful hijack would have 
handed control of the PC over to the hacker.

There were two port scans - the reconnaissance process used by hackers 
to find new victims.

It was attacked 11 times by the Blaster worm, a computer programme that 
sends copies of itself to other PCs. A successful attack would have left 
the machine unstable.

Three Slammer worm attacks were made, which could have crippled the 
computer and left it prone to crashing, and there were 36 fake security 
announcements or advertisements for fake security software posing as 

Reacting to these could leave a PC clogged with spyware - programmes 
monitoring what users do with their computer and then sending the 
information over the internet.

Over the course of the experiment, at least one attack an hour on 
average came from a dangerous computer bug with the ability to cripple 
an unprotected PC.

There was at least one serious attack a night, such as attempts to 
hijack the computer that could have led to it being turned into a zombie 
PC used to carry out criminal activity without the owner's knowledge.

The BBC said the experiment demonstrated the vulnerability of 
unprotected home PCs to malicious hackers.

According to the security software firm Symantec, 86% of all targeted 
attacks on computers are aimed at home users.

Experts estimate that there are around 200,000 malicious programmes, 
such as viruses, worms and spyware, in existence.

One hacker the BBC spoke to claimed to have made $10,000 (5,345) a day 
from computer crime, while another claimed the ability to hack into many 
online shops within three to four hours.

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