Life above the well known service port range
The Internet was largely born on UNIX-based systems and servers. UNIX enforces the notion of the first 1023 "privileged ports" which can only be opened by services running with so-called "root", or administrative, privileges. Historically, this meant that only authorized system administrators were able to establish and operate a web server on port 80 since this was within the first 1023-port privileged region. Therefore, when non-administrators wished to run their own web servers on machines which might already have a server running on port 80, or when they were not authorized to run services below port 1024, port 8080 was often chosen as a convenient place to host a secondary or alternate web server.
As you will see in greater detail in the discussion of URL defaults and port overrides on the port 81 page, a specially formed URL of the form http://www.domain.com:8080/ is used to specify a port other than the protocol's default.
For further information regarding accessing port 8080, see the discussion on the port 81 page regarding URL defaults and overriding the default ports used by Internet protocols.
Trojan Sightings: Brown Orifice, Generic backdoor, RemoConChubo, Reverse WWW Tunnel Backdoor, RingZero