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About Zombie Computers

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What are "Zombie Computers"?

Though the name may conjure up images of undead and grisly computers mindlessly roaming the land and causing mayhem, a zombie computer is simply a computer that has been surreptitiously hijacked by a cyber-criminal. Cyber-criminals use large numbers of zombie computers to remotely conduct hacking and other illegal internet activities, and may even rent out the zombified computers to someone else. The owners of most computers that have been hijacked into these zombie networks are completely unaware that their computers have been compromised.

When your computer becomes a zombie, hackers can use it for a variety of hacking purposes, none of them desirable. They could even turn on your microphone and camera remotely to watch and listen to you. At some point, they could even remove the zombieware from your computer, leaving no traces on your computer.

How can I tell if my computer is a zombie?

Hackers get the most out of zombie computers when the computer users do not know that their computer has been compromised, so they design their zombie malware to hide on your computer and not bring notice to itself by slowing it down, causing random error messages or anomalous behavior. For detection in these situations, it is easiest to capture the communications between the zombie computer and the hacker's command-and-control server via packet capture.

With a permanently-installed packet capture appliance, such as our IPCopper USC4060 continuous packet capture appliance, you would be able to review your computer's past network activity and see the anomalous transmissions and be able to tell if any of your personal or business data has been stolen or compromised in the process.

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