It comes as no shock to me that my first real article on the BBQ Blog would be regarding "the latest" threat.  There’s always another one these days.  We’ve gone from viruses, to worms, and finally phishing.  Now, let me introduce the latest threat – Remote Access Trojans (RATs).  No, Trojans are not new to the computer security scene, but these are different. They exist to do one thing – steal your on-line banking information!

Trojan horse programs, ones that hide on your computer unknown to you, have been used in the past mainly to send out SPAM email, launch attacks against web sites, and other undesirable activities.  The recent round of RATs though, has one real scary new threat.  You could very well become a victim with no warning signs at all, even if you went to your on-line banking site yourself.  These RATs just sit there and wait until they can steal your username and password, then silently transmit them back to the author.  You can figure out the rest on your own, but just in case, here’s an excerpt from the Microsoft article.

"First, the ability to capture every screen and keystroke means that intruders can gather users’ passwords, directory paths, drive mappings, medical records, bank-account and credit card information, and personal communications. If your PC has a microphone, RATs can capture your conversations. If you have a WebCam, many RATs can turn it on and capture video—a privacy violation without par in the malicious-code world. Everything you say and do around the PC can be recorded"

Here’s a couple links to sites with more information.  I will be following up this article with more on how to secure your system, so stick

MSNBC Article – RATs
Microsoft’s Article

Gerry Schatte