February 27, 2021
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Using Winsock

  • By Karl Moore
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Now, you may have heard about a sneaky lil' program called Back Orifice.

Created (and rather awfully christened) by hackers last year, this tool hit the headlines as it allows computer A to control computer B and do all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

As an example, a nerdy teenager from Outer Mongolia may take control of your mouse, shut down your machine, browse your computer files or take a 'snapshot' of your screen.

But how? Surprisingly enough, via Winsock programming.

Instead of simply displaying messages that come in via the Winsock control, don't forget you could also interpret them as commands. So you could have a lil' widget running on computer B that just sits idle, waiting to be told what to do.

Then your supercool computer A could send it something like a 'TakeScreenshot' command upon which your program on computer B could take a snapshot of the screen using the API, then send it back to you. Or perhaps you could send a 'ShutDown' command, if you want to turn the machine off.

Sure, it might sound a bit spooky and Big Brother-ish, but it does have a few genuine uses (apart from simply spying on your fellow colleagues, in search of juicy blackmail material). Imagine being able to instantly turn off computers for all those forgetful office workers. Or being able to send out an instant message to all employees. Or checking for naughty-naughty games on the hard drive. Or whatever.

Well, here are a few links for you to pursue just in case you decide to turn all power crazy and control your office the digital way:

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This article was originally published on November 20, 2002

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