Modern IT: How to Fight the Script Kiddies

by Modis on April 4, 2012

Hackers are all across the Internet and come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. The majority of the threats to security don’t necessarily come from experienced hackers, but more so from people who are commonly referred to as “scriptkiddies.” These relatively inexperienced exploiters are commonly looked down upon by the vast majority of the “professional” hacking community due to their lack of sophistication and diversity.

The coding they use to exploit personal information or otherwise compromise network security is typically created by other hackers. While they may not exactly know how computers function, they can still pose a serious threat. Here are a few ways you can protect your network from these impostors.

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The Threat

Whether you’re on Linux, Windows, or that “hack-proof” Mac, you’re at risk for a breach. Windows has a wide variety of threats each year and has a great deal of issues with rootkits and keyloggers. Keyloggers track, as the name implies, keystrokes from a user that is on a device vulnerable to spyware. Both Mac and Windows now have built-in protection from these attacks, though it is up to you to keep it up to date. As with the other two systems, Linuxusers often keep backups of their operating system just in case a computer is compromised.

Many times when a system is infected with a rootkit or keylogger, it remains undetected due to their attachment to vital existing files. Even if these viruses and spyware are detected, it doesn’t guarantee that they are removed. To completely ensure you are safe, use the operating systems restore disk to fix any files that have been edited by an outside source such as a script kiddie.

 

Practical Use vs. Exploitation

From time to time – because keylogging programs can be used by a company to track their employees or protect copyrighted data while on the Internet – script kiddies can imprint this conniving spyware code to steal a plethora of information. They can obtain passwords to bank accounts, personal email accounts, or even the numbers on a credit card. Cyber security programs aren’t always as steadfast about plugging vulnerable loopholes in modern software. Don’t lose faith in your network’s safety just yet, though.

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Protecting a Network

Protection from these malicious attacks comes in many forms. For one, an anti-spyware or anti-virus can help to protect valuable information, but it also provides an additional safety feature – virtualkeyboards. These lightweight programs allow you to enter personal information on your computer without worrying about script kiddies stealing from you. As an expert in IT, don’t be afraid to flex your muscle when it comes to layering network protection. It will pay off in the long run to be overly rather than under secured when it comes to company property.

Also you should be utilizing one-time-use passwords, which can deter these inexperienced criminals from bothering your computer or network. These passwords are randomly generated via a specialized USB adapter, cell phone texting system, or a simple bit of coding from a trustedsource. Conficker, a 2008 server virus, allowed for anyone with a keyboard and the corresponding script to take control over a server and extract information as they saw fit. While this vulnerability has long since been patched, similar threats arise constantly.

Rootkits

Rootkits are similar to keyloggers except that they insert their code into an existing file system on a computer and can be customized for a variety of applications. Some uses include monitoring and shutting down certain processes, controlling a computer directly, or simply observing a system’s traffic. Another excellent way of detecting this is a virusscan, which will locate defective files and advise you on what steps you can take to remove the compromised file or files.

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Curbing the Threat

Advances in firewalltechnology have halted the majority of private computer attacks, whether it is Mac or PC, but the risk of a compromised server is a more realistic scenario. Servers can be accessed by people at home and, if they’re set up correctly, on cellphones. Script kiddies have made it their personal mission to intercept this data and use it against a company. Just remember that these criminals don’t necessarily have to come from an outside source.

 

Occasionally angryemployees cause problems by compromising the security on their computers. Another common internal issue is neglecting to disable a former employee’s login. IT professionals must be on the front line to protect the company they work for and any precautions that can be taken must be taken.

To a veteran IT professional, it may seem insignificant to use protection on every computer on a network. But if a script kiddie gets a hold of one computer and installsarootkit, they now have the potential to access all computers on a network, thereby compromising every computer connected to the infected system.

 

While a great deal of security can be handled by IT specialists, it is also important to inform the users of the network you’re monitoring of possible risks. Sharing knowledge regarding information security will deter even the most accident-prone employee from compromising valuable data. Just remember to never let your guard down and be vigilant about plugging loopholes.

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.secpoint.com/what-is-a-script-kiddie.html

[2] http://www.informationweek.com/news/26806388?pgno=1

[3] http://backtosecurity.com/the-dangerous-evolution-of-the-script-kiddie/

[4] https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/security/Conceptual/SecureCodingGuide/Introduction.html

[5] http://www.symantec.com/connect/articles/introduction-spyware-keyloggers

[6] http://www.securelist.com/en/analysis/204791931/Keyloggers_How_they_work_and_how_to_detect_them_Part_1#prot

[7] http://support.kaspersky.com/kav2012/start?qid=208284630

[8] http://www.pctools.com/guides/password/

[9] http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/dd452420.aspx

[10] http://home.mcafee.com/downloads/free-virus-scan

[11] http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/windows-firewall

[12] http://www.macworld.com/article/135888/2008/10/firewalls.html

[13] http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-123/SP800-123.pdf

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