By Trip Elix

With so many computers on the internet and many unprotected it’s no surprise that so many sites get hacked.   Protection is not what most people think of, when they think about going on the internet and to their favorite web site.  You have the impression that the web site is safe, while you are tucked away at home, with your doors locked in your neighborhood.  Perhaps you have regular police patrols, the area you live in not much happens in, perhaps no crime at all.

Then after a long day you turn on the computer launch a web browser and sit down and play a game of cards and forget about the day.  Meanwhile the internet is on fire, hackers, identity theft, cyber warfare, banks under attack and you may ask “what’s all that have to do with me?”

Many people have never heard of a bot, and a zombie is a television show about dead people right? In the computer world it means something else.  A Bot or robot is a program that runs on a computer like yours that sits and waits for a command from another computer.  These programs most of them run silently on home computers, sitting waiting.  The antivirus programs ignore them.  Many anti spyware applications ignore them also.

A Botnet is a collection of internet connected computers communicating with similar programs, in order to perform group tasks. Computers can be co-opted by running malicious software.  Some of the ways that software gets installed is by the user installing things that look like something else.  This process is called installing a Trojan program.  Many of these are installed along with the intended program so the user has no idea that their computer is infected with a Bot application.

The name of a computer that is infected with one of these types of programs is called a zombie computer.  Last April it was confirmed that 500,000 Macs were infected with flashfake and were part of a botnet.

So how hard is it for someone to use your computer to bring down a bank system or participate in Cyberwarfare you may ask.  I don’t think it is really very hard.  Currently there are over 20 million malware and an additional, 22 million virus applications known on the internet.  There are far more that are not known publicly but are found and added daily.

So what can you do? First there is a activity light on your router, if your computer isn’t doing anything it really shouldn’t be blinking flashing like crazy.

You should always make sure your anti virus is updated and also that you update your antispyware applications. When you are not using your computer or your tablet turn them off.

Botnet applications depend on the compromised computer to be turned on. And remember the next time that you hear about some company hit with a denial of service attack your computer could have been part of it.

Your vulnerability is everyones business.