Hackers in the USA

By: Courtney Lassiter Email
By: Courtney Lassiter Email

According to a study by Symantec Corporation, the USA leads the world when it comes to hacking.

One-third of the world's hackers come from the United States. In comparison, Symantec Corp. reports China is responsible for about 10 percent of computer attacks and Germany around seven.

A computer systems expert we spoke to said that report is probably not too far off base. Gordon Johnson works with Western Kentucky University's computer system.

Johnson said you track where hacking originates by using a computer's IP address. An IP address, much like your home mailing address, is a unique address computers use to communicate with each other on a computer network.

"Even though hackers are good at spoofing social security numbers and hiding their identities, you can get a feel for where it's coming from," Johnson said.

According to Symantec's study, the U.S. is not only home to malicious computer activity, sophisticated hackers worldwide are banding together to form crime rings. People are making money by stealing.

"I've seen numbers go for 10 - 20 dollars a pop for a social security number," Johnson said. "Personal ID type of info, there's really a market for."

That's not all, U.S. hackers are installing something called bots and the U.S. leads in bot network activity.

Bots are a hacking device you install through a vulnerable backdoor of the computer. Bot activity is used for port scanning.

"It will scan for parts on the network it's installed on looking for vulnerability on server, work station, whatever's on the network it can hack into," Johnson said.

Hackers doing activities like this are the reason universities and large corporations hire ex hackers to find viruses and fix it before it hits the computers.

Johnson said there's big money in legal hacking.

"We put up defensive measures. Everyone is trying to stay one step ahead of the next one," Johnson said.

It's much like the frustration of buying a new computer. As soon as one virus is stomped out by a sophisticated hacker, there's another virus waiting to damage a computer.

The report focused on attacks during the last half of 2006 on more than
120 million computers running on Symantec Anti virus Software.

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