What is a computer zombie?
A zombie is a computer that is hacked by a cybercriminal and then used, without the victim’s knowledge, to infect other computers and networks with malicious software via the Internet.
Usually, hackers create a zombie computer to either carry out malicious acts, to steal money, or steal identities.
How are zombies created?
Essentially, hackers use a bot, short for robot, to infect a particular computer.
The bot allows the cybercriminal to take control of the computer remotely to carry out the malicious tasks.
At that point, the machine is known as a zombie.
When hackers take control of large numbers of computers, the collective group of zombie machines come to be known as a bonnet.
Hackers can turn your computer into a zombie without your knowledge.
Access typically allows them to use your machine for whatever purposes they choose to carry out.
What do computer zombies do?
Zombie computers are used to flood other systems with dangerous programs or scripts.
While you’re using the infected machine to carry out your daily activities, it could be secretly sending out Trojan horses, attacking websites, or creating spam and phishing emails
Zombies have also been used to send out keylogging software.
Those could be installed on someone else’s computer and help the hacker copy down private information such as usernames, passwords, and bank account details.
The creating botnets with a large group of zombies, cybercriminals are able to send out a endless amount of attacks that targeted hundreds or even thousands of victims in an instance.
If even a small percentage of victims provide sensitive information to the hackers through the malicious programs, criminals stand to steal a lot of money from a lot of people.
How do I protect my computer?
As is true for most security protocols, keep an updated anti-virus program running on your computer.
Anti-malware software is also necessary, and can help detect and remove bots that try to move in and turn your machine into a zombie
Though it’s not always easy to tell if your machine is being used as a zombie for some unknown hacker, occasionally, an infected computer operates slowly or in other ways that aren’t ordinary.
If that’s the case, be sure to run a scan.
If your security software doesn’t detect a threat, but your machine still acts suspiciously, consider contacting a computer specialist about the problem.
Avoid suspicious email attachments or websites that could be infected with malicious codes, links or advertisements.
Many times, computers are turned into zombie machines through files that are disguised inside these attachments or on websites – even legitimate pages.
Remember, keeping your computer secure isn’t just for your benefit, but could also save your friends and family from being targeted by hackers.