Find out if your computer is a zombie PC

Last updated: September 23, 2023

One day, a reader of our site wrote to me: “Ahmed, I recently read your article on how to control a PC remotely with a USB stick. So, I was wondering if we can identify a zombie PC part of a hacker's botnet, since I'm using Windows. »

In order to answer this question, I have chosen to present to you an effective method for monitor your computer activity.

In reality, when a PC is infected, it harbors a program that scans the hard drive. Indeed, it can either steal your contacts in order to send them to databases for spam, or establish a link with other infected machines in order to create a botnet.

In any case, certain symptoms should not be ignored, such as:

  • Starting the fan at full speed while the computer is asleep.
  • An abnormally long computer shutdown time.
  • Friends who receive emails from you that you never sent.
  • A particularly slow Internet connection.
  • The untimely appearance of advertising pop-ups, including when your browser is closed.

How to spot a hidden intrusion on your computer

Footnotes : The method that I am going to present to you does not in any way replace conventional protection solutions such as antiviruses.

Step 1: Using TCPView

We'll start by using a free tool called TCPView.

Indeed, this tool allows you to monitor TCP/IP protocol activity on your computer. Unlike Windows' built-in tools, TCPView tells you exactly which process is associated with each TCP/IP connection.

Here's how to use it:

  • First of all, download TCPView and unzip it.
  • No installation is necessary. Simply double-click on the “Tcpview.exe” file to launch the application.
  • Once opened, TCPView updates every second to show you network exchanges between your PC and other devices or sites on the Internet.

One of the advantages of TCPView over command netstat is its ability to interrupt a specific connection without closing the process that manages it.

Step 2: Identifying a possible backdoor on your PC

The TCPView tool can help identify an intrusion on your system in several ways:

  • See your connections : It shows all TCP and UDP connections. So you can spot if a unknown IP address attempts to connect to your PC.
  • Identify connected programs : If an unexpected program establishes a connection, this may be a warning sign.
  • Search for strange addresses : Unknown or strange IP addresses may indicate a problem. TCPView displays them for you.

Basically, if your PC is infected, you could see strange IP addresses.

Example : In the screenshot below, you will observe all the connections currently open on my computer.

Pay special attention to remote addresses that seem suspicious.

In summary, TCPView shows you who is chatting with your computer. It's a bit like a doorman telling you who is knocking at the door. If someone strange tries to get in, you'll know right away!

Easy to use and super useful for avoiding intruders. To try !