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How Do I Recognize a Zombie Computer?

A zombie computer operates under a hacker's control, often part of a botnet, without the owner's knowledge. Signs include sluggish performance, unexpected pop-ups, and high network activity when idle. Protecting your digital life is crucial. Are you vigilant enough to spot these red flags? Discover more on safeguarding your devices by diving deeper into our comprehensive guide.
Alex Newth
Alex Newth

Recognizing a zombie computer can be incredibly difficult, because many of the signs can point to other problems, and most people do not know they are using a zombie until it is too late. A zombie computer often is compromised by virus files, so the computer often will slow down, and the computer may act weirdly. By checking firewall traffic, you can see if your computer is visiting places that you have not. Some virus scanners can find a zombie, but most hackers hide the zombie virus in a way that cannot be detected. Blacklist tools, if you do not partake in spamming activities, also can be used.

To make a zombie computer, a hacker infiltrates a computer and adds a virus file that puts the computer under his control. This file and the activity from the hacker often cause the computer to slow down, because the hacker is using many computer resources. The computer also may act oddly, with programs opening for no reason and users constantly being redirected to other websites. While these are signs of a zombie problem, they also can be signs of a less serious virus or the result of old hardware and software.

Hackers use zombie computers to gather data.
Hackers use zombie computers to gather data.

One of the best ways to see if you have a zombie computer is by checking your firewall — or other programs that report your activity — for outgoing traffic. This will list what websites and places you visit when using the Internet, and you should see websites that you frequent. If there is a large amount of outgoing traffic directed at sites you do not recognize, then you may be running a zombie. Small amounts of unusual outgoing traffic may not be indicative of a zombie but a result of common pop-ups and redirects that appear online.

A zombie computer is often compromised by virus files.
A zombie computer is often compromised by virus files.

Virus scanners can sometimes pick up on a zombie computer, but only if the hacker was not diligent. These programs will scan for common signs of viruses and zombie activity and, if they do pick up a zombie, they may be able to fix it. If the hacker placed the zombie virus file in a rootkit, then it usually is untraceable.

When you are running a zombie computer, it likely will be used for spamming and for sending large packets of information to other entities to shut them down. This will result in your computer being placed on blacklists for spammers. By entering your Internet protocol (IP) address in a blacklist tool, you may find you are blacklisted, which can indicate that you have a zombie computer. If you willingly engage in spamming activity, then this may not be effective.

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Discussion Comments


I have been going through the same thing for a solid year now, the same exact thing. I am reduced to buying a new throwaway phone every month, have had no internet in my home since November and can’t have a land line. I have filed nine police reports and made two trips to the FBI, but they won’t help me. It’s as if they have it down to a certain TV on satellite.

I have been through pure terror. One thing is, I know who is behind it and he has Microsoft and Godaddy servers and credentials. He threatened me by telling me I was not going to know what’s going on and I had better get my big checkbook out because I was going to need it. It’s an old boyfriend and he is a retired airline pilot and an ex cop who has a severe tendency for getting back at me for talking to his now ex wife.

I have known this man since 1995 and he has a history of online harassment towards a female pilot and the case went to the Supreme Court. I think he just has a severe mental issue.

I was even sent 46 updates to my cell, caller ID on home and cell went "unknown" and then someone tried to break into my home. That afternoon, my caller ID went back to normal. Does this sound like organized crime? Yes, I think so and they have my family cells too and are keeping them from talking to me by cell or phone or computer. He is behind it all. I checked my credit and it had things on it that didn’t belong there. Is this identity theft? Yes, a form of it, but the terror of knowing someone is listening to every call is worse.


I am a victim of an all black underground using satellite remote computers privately owned and provided to a group of persons who are not computer skilled or trained. They can remote into your computer from the unused administrator access through Windows on PCs easily and Macs, as well. I have my computer set on stealth and full maximum firewall settings with a router from AT&T Uverse that has a firewall. It doesn’t matter. They can hijack the photos and manipulate the programs when I am not connected to the internet via the ethernet.

I have password protected wired connections and these black ops are paid and financed by a Saudi sheik not the government! They abuse the equipment and can change the layout and take over the core folders.

On a Mac, they can move the core folders and security in a toggle over to their side of system and lock them down. Therefore, you get a white out screen and/or a flashing folder showing. If I scream out, “let my system go,” they can release the lockdown and I don’t need a repair, which I’m told averages over $250 for an iMac.

They can censor the pages you view, and corrupt the scroll bars making them the full length of the page so you cannot scroll down. They can deny you service by changing the isp gateway because they accessed the gateway address assigned by AT&T, even when you are using it stealth. They can intercept your emails and change the content of what you sent and hold your incoming emails in a secret cache and deny you your own communications. They can do this without a password. It is not a password issue.

All my folders were locked with a computer password. They were still able to access all the folders.. They stole $3,000 worth of my software programs, such as Word 9.0, Adobe Photoshop 12 and more and moved the folders and gaming to their side of the computer. I cannot use or access my word processor. They corrupted the binary folders and I cannot use anything unless the hacker allows it. They can upload phony html pages and add them on and attack people on facebook who are friends.

They are not friendly hackers and have attacked US government servers and .gov and .org sites and changed the contact information and redirect those looking for the FBI from the FBI website. They can redirect and change the phone numbers to government and police agencies on the official sites. This has been done for five years. They are foreign financed and deny me police and FBI assistance. They are a network of terrorists in the United States.

I am in Illinois in the USA. They are based here. I am a long term witness and victim of their hacking as individuals and training groups on me. I can’t get the authorities to stop them. US military capabilities are not as sophisticated as their programs. They hack captcha so things don’t post like on this site now. Right now, I’m being attacked.

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    • Hackers use zombie computers to gather data.
      By: corepics
      Hackers use zombie computers to gather data.
    • A zombie computer is often compromised by virus files.
      By: Yeko Photo Studio
      A zombie computer is often compromised by virus files.
    • Activities conducted by hackers on a zombie computer typically reduces the machine's speed and efficiency.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      Activities conducted by hackers on a zombie computer typically reduces the machine's speed and efficiency.
    • A zombie computer may open up random files unexplicably, causing much distress to the user.
      By: Minerva Studio
      A zombie computer may open up random files unexplicably, causing much distress to the user.