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Anatomy of a Hacker Attack

Phase 3 - Download and Execute Software

Once a weakness is found, it is typically used to download one or several executable files to the target computer. The hacker might use a buffer overflow, an e-mail or a web browser bug to initiate this phase.

Although there are many publicly available hacker tools on the Internet, the professional hacker will probably custom build his own executable tools. This means that normal virus protection software will not be able to recognize them.

Hacker tools can be used to perform most of the tasks the hacker wants, more or less as if he were physically present in front of the computer. They can also be designed for very specific purposes, such as elevating privileges or bypassing security controls some other way. Yet other tools may be used to hide the fact that the computer has been hijacked.

If the hacker gets past phase three, the game is basically up. Once he is able to execute arbitrary code on your computer, there will not be much holding him back.


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