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5 Computer Myths Most People Believe In

computer myths

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About the Author

Liz Cornwell Liz Cornwell
PR specialist at Auslogics. Liz can optimize just about any computer.

Discussion

Heard a lot about myths like these mentioned. Always loved the one with cactuses :-) Liz proved herself to be kind of a Mythbuster, I'd say :-)
Max
March 29th, 2014 @05:01 am
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I just wanted to correct what the Author Liz Cornwell published about computer myths. I'm sorry to inform all you concerned and responsible security buffs, but #4 is a FACT and not a myth. A hacker can access your computer even if you have powered it off. In most system BIOS's one can schedule a power on and power off time. (Award, Phoenix, and BioStar). There are a few ways a hacker can access a remote BIOS. A hacker can as well schedule a task, writes a script, or cmdlet using CMD line or IDE PowerShell on compromised system to schedule your pc to power up without your knowdledge. Ie, you turn your system off before you go to sleep and you go to bed at 1030 every night; thehacker knows this and uses amethod listed and sets your pc to powerup at midnight from a remote location and uses your computer until 5 am and shuts down before you wake up. You check and see that your pc is off and are unaware . My advice (I have bchlor degree in Network Security) is to unplug pc every night if you are that paranoid, but I promise eveyone that just because you turn off your pc doensn't mean it's safe. If you have a PHOENIX, AWARD, or BIOSTAR BIOS, just access setup option and make sure that your pc isn't sceduled to start up and run tasks because it is common especially in the early am. that is when most computers are off or idle.
J.R. Minard
April 2nd, 2014 @04:41 am
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How can hackers use your computer?
Is that alien technology?
L.X.T.
May 17th, 2014 @03:45 am
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All so true and yes you can believe it, it all works IN THE MIND !
Frans deGraaff
June 1st, 2014 @09:03 am
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Most people believe in these? That is terrible.. we need to start teaching people about computers if they really thought these were true.
Brad Martin
July 4th, 2014 @10:34 am
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J.R. Minard,

That would only be true if a hacker did choose to do that on your computer.
Brad Martin
August 3rd, 2014 @10:35 am
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I had a hacker trade my mouse for a prickly cactus they had left in the freezer overnight......
Greg
August 13th, 2014 @03:38 am
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@ J.R. Minard, while some of the points seems valid I still don't believe that a hacker can remotely access your computer at least not in the way most people would understand anyway.
Here are the reasons:
1. I know of the ability of common BIOS feature of being able to automatically turn on your computer at a specific time. But how many people actually use the feature and how many common folk use it? I will assume not many.
2. I am also you are assuming the those people that do use this feature either don't use a password on their computers or set their computer to automatically log on using a known password. Again not many people would be doing this especially average folk (of course there are exceptions) And this itself is a security vulnerability how safe is it to allow a computer to automatically turn on and log onto a predetermined account!
3. When we mean remote most people (including me) are usually thinking of via the internet or wirelessly. Which is perhaps the hardest way of gaining access to a computer that is already turned off. BUT there is a known way that a computer within the network may be able to perform this attack (but I won't mention how :) ) But this would not normally be thought of as remote especially when referring to hackers trying to get into your system, unless they have already compromised one system and want to access others.
4. If I understand the hack correctly there is still the barrier that a certain
function needs to be activated in the computer for this to happen and usually this function is disabled by default. (You know what I mean hint:Tinker Bell) But the function may be enabled in some environments (AFIAK)

If it happens that I am wrong then God help us all! :)
MadMonkey
August 14th, 2014 @07:40 am
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@ MadMonkey

The short answer is yes, a hacker can gain access to your computer at any time provided the computer is networked regardless of if the computer is turned off.

Most of the time, this is done by the user running a piece of code written by the hacker which then sets up the capability for remote access. This can be as simple as some cross site scripting, click-jacking, or full blown malware (which includes viruses, trojans, worms, rootkits, etc...). Often, the user has no idea that the code was run. The code could be something simple like enabling Wake On LAN or it could be as complex as a mini-OS with SAM file access (where older versions of Windows store user credentials). To make a long story short, one innocent click by a user could unwittingly provide all the access a cracker (the correct term for a malicious hacker) needs and the user might never know what just happened.

There's a simple mantra you can take to heart which explains this quite well:
"If someone made it, someone can break it."
In other words, do not EVER assume that you are 100% secure. In fact, your objective should never be to achieve that because it won't happen and you will simply be deluding yourself into believing it. Instead, focus on being as secure as you can without removing the functionality and usability that you need to go about your business and just be aware of your vulnerabilities and be prepared to recover from a possible attack.

In regards to Myth #4 in the main article, yes, unplugging your network cable is a pretty decent means of securing your computer. It's not 100% secure but it's definitely better than leaving it plugged in. However, is your data worth that much effort to protect? Do you need to run internet applications overnight that require a connection? Unplugging the network cable may not be your best choice for security.
Joe
August 15th, 2014 @11:35 am
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Joe,
Regarding myth #4
I am aware of what you are saying but I was more or less referring to attacks that are more likely to occur to home or personal users. From my point of view this form of attack is unlikely to affect home users.

That said its still possible, now where this form of attack (turning on you computer and using it) is more likely is when there are corporate networks in play. The attacker would probably need to compromise at least one local computer or in some cases leave a 'hole' (keep a port open) in a router to perform this attack via the Internet. The attacker may have to have physical access to the computer to 'install' the code and therefore is more likely if the attacker wants something from the system.

Bottom line:
1.Its is possible for an attacker to turn on your computer at night and do his/her nasty deeds?
Yes, but its unlikely unless you run a business network where there may be a number of machines and one has been 'infected'. Still that doesn't mean you should leave your router (modem) on all the time, turn it off and give it a break. :)

And Joe you are right on the mark about security never being 100% as its really a myth. And if your read my rather long previous comment you would have realized there are some configuration required before such an attack is possible. That configuration is really difficult to do if you don't have physical access to the machine.

Really really bottom line: Don't underestimate the power of a hacker (cracker)
Madmonkey
August 17th, 2014 @01:21 pm
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