WIRELESS IS VULNERABLE: The most common forms of wireless network hacking include methods for secretly intercepting passwords or other sensitive information by posing as a trusted network point. Such an attack is particularly effective against wireless networks that let users relay messages for one another. These so-called "ad-hoc" networks are useful in emergency situations, when the normal networks are overwhelmed or not working, but they are also more vulnerable to security breaches.
HOW DO HACKERS ATTACK YOUR COMPUTER? A virus is a small piece of software that attaches itself to an existing program. Every time that program is executed, the virus starts up, too, and can reproduce by attaching itself to even more programs. Unfortunately, viruses don't just replicate, they often cause damage. There is usually a trigger -- a command or keystroke -- that causes the virus to launch its "attack." This can be anything from leaving a silly message to erasing all of the user's data.
Worms are a different type of infection. A piece of worm software uses computer networks and security holes in specific software or operating systems to copy itself from machine to machine. Because Microsoft's Windows platform is so pervasive, for example, many hackers design their worms to exploit security holes in those products. In 2001, the worm Code Red spread rapidly by scanning the Internet for computers running Windows NT or Windows 2000.
In contrast to a worm, a Trojan horse can't replicate itself at all: it is simply a computer program pretending to be something harmless -- a game, for example -- but instead does damage when the user runs it, often erasing the hard drive.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.-USA contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.