Cyber attacks often begin with a backdoor. In cybersecurity, a backdoor is a method that allows a hacker to bypass a computer’s existing defenses. You may have antivirus software, a firewall, strong passwords and other defenses. With a backdoor, however, a hacker can gain access to your computer. While all backdoors provide hackers with access, compiler backdoors are arguably the most problematic. For a better understanding of compiler backdoors and how they work, keep reading.

What Is a Compiler Backdoor?

A compiler backdoor is an advanced type of backdoor that’s characterized by the use of a compiler. A compiler, of course, is a program that translates one form of code or programming language into another form of code or programming language. Compilers themselves are harmless. They are often used by professional coders to develop new programs. With that said, compilers may also be used by hackers to create backdoors, specifically compiler backdoors.

How Compiler Backdoors Work

While there are different types of compiler backdoors, most of them involve the use of malware to infect a compiler. As previously mentioned, compilers are programs. When infected with malware, a compiler may inadvertently create a backdoor with each program that it compiles.

Compilers create new programs by translating code or programming languages. If a compiler is infected with malware, it may create a backdoor with these new programs. The compiler will essentially inject the malicious code into each program that it compiles.

When you run a compiler that’s infected with this malware, it will create a new backdoor. Each program that you compile will result in a new backdoor. Compiler backdoors use compilers to create these backdoors.

The Dangers of Compiler Backdoors

Compiler backdoors are problematic because they often come in groups. You typically won’t have a single compiler backdoor on your computer. Assuming your computer has a compiler — and the compiler is infected with backdoor-creating malware — it will likely have multiple compiler backdoors.

In addition to coming in groups, compiler backdoors are difficult to detect. They are embedded inside of compilers. You can use antivirus software and other detection tools, only for the compiler backdoors to go unnoticed.

While a compiler backdoor alone won’t necessarily harm your computer, it paves the way for other cyber attacks. Like all backdoors, compiler backdoors simply provide hackers with access to your computer. With this access, a hacker may steal your data, delete your data, deploy malware or perform other malicious tasks.

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