Protecting Your Company from Hackers

National Pavement Contractors Association column.

NPCA is primarily a web-based association and thousands of people visit our forums every month to discuss pavement subjects and visit with others in the industry. But this interaction was seriously threatened last month and the threat could extend to your computer operation.

In the old days (up to last year) hackers used to "compete" with each other to see who could break into the coolest place (like Nintendo to steal its new game), and the ones that wrote viruses would try to write a virus that was badder than the last virus. Not anymore. Now huge groups of hackers cooperate to make their evil efforts more "successful."

If you only have one antivirus program on your computer then you are not protected regardless of the brand or how often you have it updated. Here's what happens: You get an alert that a virus has been detected on your system, you tell your antivirus program to fix it or have it set to automatically fix such problems (not a good idea) and as that virus is being deleted, it triggers a "bot" which is a mini-program. That bot downloads another virus on to your computer while your antivirus is deleting the first one. As of now, all antivirus products are not capable of detecting an incoming virus while they are deleting a virus, leaving your computer wide open for the hackers.

One goal of these hackers is establishing "bot nets," which are networks of thousands of infected computers that have one of these tiny "bots" hidden on the computer doing nothing which can be triggered by a remote signal. If you have a website which you log into yourself, many of these programs will quickly upload a bot on to your website and then any visitor to your website can get this bot type virus simply by looking at one of your web pages if they do not have good enough protection themselves. Hackers rent these out to other people in blocks of 100s for 24-hour periods and then they can be used to do anything from sending spam to launch a hack against other computers. So you must have more than one security product. Some recommended ones are:

  • Internet-based, no downloads needed
  • very good free product, some people have problems with Vista
  • good program, conflicts with few others
  • PC Tools Spyware doctor; free trial
  • Spybot Search & Destroy (an original kept updated-free, but does conflict with many other programs)

Using these with a good firewall and a good antivirus product updated daily should help protect you from unknowingly becoming part of a bot net and subjecting others to viruses or spam sent from your computer while you don't even know it.

Visit NPCA's website,, for a more detailed article on this subject.