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Got Rats In Your Computer? Remote Access Trojans Explained
Remote Access Trojans or RATs are very malicious and nasty. This software enables criminals and hijacker to control your computer by way of your Internet connection. RATs allow others to view and change your computer's files and functions. They can monitor and record all your activities and even use your computer to attack others. These Remote Access Trojans allow the criminals to do all of these things with out you even knowing. They can gain control of all your personal information and use it for identity fraud and other criminal activities. The only way to be sure you don't have a RAT in your computer is to run anti-virus, anti-Trojan, or anti-spyware to see if it is there. So, how do these lovely invaders get to you in the first place?
Remote Access Trojans usually come in illicit software and are for the most part hidden. They can also come from programs that are downloaded from the Internet that look safe and are unsuspected. Many of these RATs also come in e-mails as greeting cards, and/or audio and video file attachments. In fact they can come with any attachment and be downloaded when you open it. They also can come in your instant messages as a link or funny image. Sometimes RATs can get on your computer with out you doing anything at all. They enter through an open port on your computer while you browse the Internet.
Another computer by way of the RAT can control your computer. Criminals can use this to expose you to scams. The RAT program can trick your computer into thinking that a site is trust-worthy. It can even mimic your online banking or other sites you frequent to get your information. The user can then use your passwords or credit card numbers to steal your money and/or identity. They can also put you in debt by using your credit card number with out you even knowing. Remote Access Trojans can view, alter, copy, and/or delete your files from your computer. They can do it once or do it every time you restart your computer. It completely depends on what the user instructed it to do. This can cause your system to not function properly or crash completely.
RATS record your typing and send the information it has gathered to another computer. The people who get this information run it through another software program that put the information into words. This is how they get your user names and passwords as well as other personal information. They can capture video and audio from what you have hooked up to your computer. Once the RAT has saved the media files, they are sent to the other person's computer. Remote Access Trojans are also capable of running and/or ending any processes, programs, or connections you have on your computer. They will also create pop-ups to annoy you or get you to go to malicious web sites. Some RATs are used to form armies to attack other computers. The criminals will control these "zombie armies" and be able to send thousands of messages and/or mass spreading viruses or spyware.
So, how do you keep these horrifying menaces off your machine? First is to always have safe online communication. Only share your primary e-mail address with people you know. Don't list your e-mail in large directories online or other frequently traveled web sites. If you join an online user group be careful about who you give your personal info to. Don't just open attachments from anyone. Make sure you know what they are and who sent them. Also make sure your anti-virus scans and neutralizes all incoming mail that is infected. Only use software you get from trusted and reputable companies. The net is jammed pack with software programs that are free or cost little to nothing. That is the gimmick used to get you to download them. The real prize is in the malicious software you are loading at the same time. Check anything very carefully before you put it on your computer, especially if it is coming from a not so trusted site.
You want to make sure your computer is always up to date. Either visit Microsoft Update weekly or select the option that allow Microsoft to update you with critical files as needed. This will give you any programs or patches needed to keep intruders from getting into your computer. If the company finds that an intruder is invading people through a specific program or port they will make a patch to change the program to prevent it. Make sure you have a good anti-virus program on your computer. It should have the ability to detect all malicious threats no matter where they might come from. I should also have a firewall and anti-spyware program with it. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions on updates. There are tons of new threats out there everyday and you should update daily to keep you and your computer safe