TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Invasion of the Computer Snatchers

Invasion of the Computer Snatchers

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 14 May 2006 16:26:26 -0400

[Interview with 0x80 from February 2006]

Invasion of the Computer Snatchers
Hackers are hijacking thousands of PCs to spy on users, shake down
online businesses, steal identities and send millions of pieces of
spam. If you think your computer is safe, think again

By Brian Krebs
Sunday, February 19, 2006; W10

In the six hours between crashing into bed and rolling out of it, the
21-year-old hacker has broken into nearly 2,000 personal computers
around the globe. He slept while software he wrote scoured the
Internet for vulnerable computers and infected them with viruses that
turned them into slaves.

Now, with the smoke of his day's first Marlboro curling across the
living room of his parents' brick rambler, the hacker known online as
"0x80" (pronounced X-eighty) plops his wiry frame into a tan,
weathered couch, sets his new laptop on the coffee table and punches
in a series of commands. At his behest, the commandeered PCs will
begin downloading and installing software that will bombard their
users with advertisements for pornographic Web sites. After the
installation, 0x80 orders the machines to search the Internet for
other potential victims.

The young hacker, who has agreed to be interviewed only if he isn't
identified by name or home town, takes a deep drag of his smoke and
leans back against the couch to exhale. He smiles. This is his day
job, and his work is finished in less than two minutes. In two weeks,
he will receive a $300 check from one of the online marketing
companies that pays him for his services.

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