Did you accidentally leave the back door open? This thought can be scary because you know that leaving the back door open at home could allow someone to enter your home and take your personal belongings.
The same is true for a backdoor in the computer world. It is a vulnerability that gives an attacker unauthorized access to a system by bypassing normal security mechanisms. This threat works in the background, hiding itself from the user, and it’s very difficult to detect and remove.
Cybercriminals commonly use malware to install backdoors, giving them remote administrative access to a system. Once an attacker has access to a system through a backdoor, they can potentially modify files, steal personal information, install unwanted software, and even take control of the entire computer.
These kinds of attacks represent a serious risk to users of both computers and mobile devices since an attacker can potentially gain access to your personal files, as well as sensitive financial and identity information.
Say, for instance, an attacker uses a backdoor to install keylogging software on your computer, allowing them to see everything that you type, including passwords. And once this information is in the hands of the cybercriminals, your accounts could be compromised, opening the door to identity theft.
Here are a few tips to protect you from back door threats:
- Use comprehensive security software on your computers and mobile devices, like McAfee LiveSafe™ service, to protect you from malware.
- Never click on an email attachment or a link sent from people you don’t know and watch what you download from the web.
- Be careful about which sites you visit, since less secure sites could contain a so-called “drive-by download” which is able to install malware on your computer simply by visiting a compromised web page. You can check the safety of a website before you visit it by using our free McAfee® SiteAdvisor® tool, which tells you if a site is safe or not right in your search window.
- Only install programs that you really need, minimizing your exposure to potential vulnerabilities.
Make sure you don’t leave any back doors open. Stay safe online!
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.