There's big security risk out there that could be leaving your computer completely open for anyone to access. The scariest thing is, they don't even need to hack in - you might've already done that for them.
At the DefCon security conference this week, engineer Paul McMillan talked about a problem that's been around for a while: remote access software without password protection. Having remote access to your computer with programs like LogMeIn can be really convenient, but it's also really dangerous if you don't have a password.
In just that short hour, the results came pouring in: thousands of computers on port 5900 using a program called VNC for remote access. The total number is likely over 30,000. Those using the program failed to password-protect it, meaning anyone who comes looking can see what they’re doing, and manipulate their computers.
McMillan accessed computers without the owner even noticing. Luckily, he was only doing it to prove a point. He wanted to show everyone out there how vulnerable computers can be if you're not taking the right security steps.
He found everything from people checking email and Facebook to more risque activities. And, he took screenshots of every exposed computer! The problem is really serious because he didn't just find vulnerable computers in people's homes. There are also computers from stores, pharmacies and power plants that are completely open to attack.
Remote desktop programs are like a door opening your computer up to the Internet. If you don't have a password, you're leaving that door unlocked. Some services come with default passwords, but those are no good because they're much easier for hackers to crack. Click here to make sure your password is strong enough to keep hackers out.
If you use a remote desktop service that runs with a default password or no password at all, get rid of it immediately! You don't want to leave your computer open to let cybercriminals walk right in.