What is a Remote Administration Tool (RAT)?
Ever felt like your computer was possessed? Or that you aren’t the only one using your tablet? I think I smell a rat. Literally, a RAT.
A RAT or remote administration tool, is software that gives a person full control a tech device, remotely. The RAT gives the user access to your system, just as if they had physical access to your device. With this access, the person can access your files, use your camera, and even turn on/off your device.
RATs can be used legitimately. For example, when you have a technical problem on your work computer, sometimes your corporate IT guys will use a RAT to access your computer and fix the issue.
Unfortunately, usually the people who use RATs are hackers (or rats) trying to do harm to your device or gain access to your information for malicious purposes. These type of RATs are also called remote access as they are often downloaded invisibly without your knowledge, with a legitimate program you requested—such as a game.
Once the RAT is installed on your device, the hacker can wreak havoc. They could steal your sensitive information, block your keyboard so you can’t type, install other malware, and even render your devices useless. They could also
A well-designed RAT will allow the hacker the ability to do anything that they could do with physical access to the device. So remember, just like you don’t want your home infested by rats, you also don’t want a RAT on your device. Here are some tips on how you can avoid a RAT.
- Be careful what links you click and what you download. Often times RATs are installed unknowingly by you after you’ve opened an email attachment or visited an software in the background.
- Beware of P2P file-sharing. Not only is a lot the content in these files pirated, criminals love to sneak in a few malware surprises in there too.
- Use comprehensive security software on all your devices. Make sure you install a security suite like McAfee LiveSafe™ service, which protects your data and identity on all your PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones.
Keep your devices RAT free!
Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! Disclosures.