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RATs in Your Computer

mouse_rat_keyboard_climb_rodent revisedN.jpgRATs in Your Computer!!

Remote Access Trojans have been around a long time. They have been a serious problem since the 1990s and were one of the first Trojans developed to penetrate, invade, and take over your computer. RATs give the hacker complete physical control over your computer, including everything from the keyboard, mouse and monitor to the DVD drives and other external ports. They hide in the background and can be difficult to detect. And to the hacker’s advantage, they allow someone else to masquerade as you, to send email, use your files, browse the internet, and access other accounts as if they were you.

How can you tell if you have a RAT? There’s no one-size-fits-all method for discovering if you have a RAT but there are several signs you should be alert for: First, is your computer running slower than normal? There are a lot of problems that can cause latency but RATs, because they run additional processes in the background on your computer, can make your computer drag. Are “strange things” happening? Odd mouse movements, keyboards with their own minds, track pads like Ouija boards, a web cam that turns itself on? If you do, consider checking for RATs.

What to Do if you suspect a RAT! First and foremost, disconnect your machine from the internet. RATs are live connections. A hacker actively using your machine can prevent your attempts at removing his RAT.

Then immediately run an anti-virus scan. Make sure the virus and malware definitions are up to date and do a deep scan using whatever advanced heuristics your provider has available. Almost all providers are pretty good at finding most known RATs.

In addition, check both your installed software using Windows Control Panel and the processes running and loaded into your system using windows Task Manager. You’re looking for anything odd or different that you don’t remember installing. You can easily Google any process or program to see whether it is legit or not.

Also, check your Startup configuration for anything you can’t recognize. RATs try to imbed themselves so they run every time you start your computer.

The best defense is a good offense! RATs are easier to prevent than they are to cure. A well maintained anti-virus program installed to regularly scan your system and also watch in real time for intrusions is an absolute necessity. A firewall is one also. Finally, and equally important, is keeping your system up to date. Make sure your software is updated, patched and “revised” as often as the developer makes changes available. If you’re shy about having it updated automatically, configure your system to alert you for new updates and then review and install them immediately.

Questions? Further information? Contact or call 917.686.4480.

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