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What is Botnet?

04/10/2018
by Cathy Houghton

Introduction

Attackers often control infected devices remotely to carry specific function, to obtain certain information, or to generate malicious traffic for distributed denial of service attacks. One of the ways to carry out this malicious conduct is with botnets. In itself, botnets are not malicious technology, but it is used in ways that are detrimental to systems, networks, or computers. There are many different ways an attacker can use botnets to add your computer to their network.

Companies that have access to sensitive information are often targeted by botnets as infected devices will follow the orders of any user that has control over the botnet. Companies like these often have an in-house specialist that actively work toward safeguarding their networks against this malicious malware.

Botnets Explained

There are many botnet definitions, but, in essence, it is a network of Internet-connected devices that can consist of personal computers, servers, or mobile devices that are infected and controlled by means of a specific type of malware.

The word botnet is derived from the words “robot” and “network”. Once a device that is connected to the internet is infected, it becomes part of a network that is being controlled by the attacker. In many cases, the primary user of the device is not aware that this malware is targeting them.

When creating a botnet, an attacker’s objective is usually to add as many infected devices to the network as possible. There may be many reasons for this. An ad fraud botnet, for example, aims to take partial control of all infected devices’ web browsers in order to send traffic to online advertisements to make money. The reason the botnet doesn’t take complete control over the web browsers is that they don’t want to be detected by the user’s device or security software. This means that your individual device on its own won’t be enough for the attacks purposes, but in combination with millions of other infected devices, your device will play its part in ensuring that the attacker can commit ad fraud or engage in some other illegal online activity.

Botnet malware can spread in many different ways. Primarily, it scans systems and devices for weaknesses and outdated security products before infecting a device with other malware such as a Trojan horse.

Solution

Protecting yourself against botnets is incredibly important, especially since you may be unaware that this malware infects your device.

Your first line of defence against botnet is an updated operating system. If you are running an old and outdated operating system, attackers will find it easier to install botnets as your system doesn’t have the necessary patches. Enable automatic updates in your device’s settings.

Don’t click on download links or save attachments from unfamiliar sources. This includes emails, links in your browser, or in chat rooms.

Use an updated and trusted firewall like Sonicwall Firewall when browsing the internet. If your device is using Windows, you can install a windows product or third-party software. Finally, stay away from websites that distribute malware. Your security software may also warn you against specific sites.

Reference Video: JackkTutorials