Sometimes, it's just not enough to simply know that there's a Trojan or Virus onboard. Sometimes you need to know exactly why that file is onboard, how it got there - but most importantly, who put it there.
By enumerating the attacker in the same way that they have enumerated the victim, you will be able to see the bigger picture and establish what you're up against. But how can you do this? Read on...
## Connections make the world go round ##
The computer world, at any rate. Every single time you open up a website, send an email or upload your webpages into cyberspace, you are connecting to another machine in order to get the job done. This, of course, presents a major problem, because this simple act is what allows malicious users to target a machine in the first place.
# How do these people find their victim?
Well, first of all, they need to get hold of the victim's IP Address. Your IP (Internet Protocol) address reveals your point of entry to the Internet and can be used in many ways to cause your online activities many, many problems. It may not reveal you by name, but it may be uniquely identifiable and it represents your digital ID while you are online (especially so if you're on a fixed IP / DSL etc).
With an IP address, a Hacker can find out all sorts of weird and wonderful things about their victim (as well as causing all kinds of other trouble, the biggest two being Portnukes/Trojans and the dreaded DoS ((Denial of Service)) attack). Some Hackers like to collect IP Addresses like badges, and like to go back to old targets, messing them around every so often. An IP address is incredibly easy to obtain - until recently, many realtime chat applications (such as MSN) were goldmines of information. Your IP Address is contained as part of the Header Code on all emails that you send and webpages that you visit can store all kinds of information about you. A common trick is for the Hacker to go into a Chatroom, paste his supposed website address all over the place, and when the unsuspecting victim visits, everything about your computer from the operating system to the screen resolution can be logged...and, of course, the all important IP address. In addition, a simple network-wide port scan will reveal vulnerable target machines, and a war-dialler will scan thousands of lines for exposed modems that the hacker can exploit.
So now that you know some of the basic dangers, you're probably wondering how these people connect to a victim's machine?
## Virtual and Physical Ports ##
Everything that you recieve over the Internet comes as a result of other machines connecting to your computer's ports. You have two types; Physical are the holes in the back of your machine, but the important ones are Virtual. These allow transfer of data between your computer and the outside world, some with allocated functions, some without, but knowing how these work is the first step to discovering who is attacking you; you simply MUST have a basic knowledge of this, or you won't get much further.
# What the phrases TCP/UDP actually mean
TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol, a TCP/IP packet is a block of data which is compressed, then a header is put on it and it is sent to another computer (UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol). This is how ALL internet transfers occur, by sending packets. The header in a packet contains the IP address of the one who originally sent you it. Now, your computer comes with an excellent (and free) tool that allows you to see anything that is connected (or is attempting to connect) to you, although bear in mind that it offers no blocking protection; it simply tells you what is going on, and that tool is NETSTAT.