What Is A Botnet?

A robot network, commonly known as a botnet, is a network consisting of various computer malware. It is a computer virus used by attackers to control the infected machines; it could be a private or commercial system such as computers or mobile devices.

Unlike most malware, the botnet is directly controlled by the attackers, known as bot herders. They distribute malware and control the machine from a single or central point from which they send out commands for the bot to follow and relinquish your information. This could be against a single or even multiple systems at one time.

Depending on the scale of the developed bots, coordinated criminal acts can be carried out; without the attacker being physically present, even on the same continent as the attack being carried out. You can receive malicious links or spam messages through which the malware is released into the system.

It is challenging to get rid of them. The system is in the attacker’s control. Hence they will always be notified of any changes or updates you make to your system.

Therefore, many bot-herders are usually successful in gaining temporary access to some areas of the botnet available on the black market, which usually results in significant gains for them in the financial department.

Have you ever experienced a botnet attack? You’re at the right place to learn more about them. Read on below to learn about botnets and how to tighten security to avoid attacks. 

Common Occurrences Of A Botnet Attack 

If a botnet is controlling your system, here is how you can determine you need help:

DDoS Attacks

A bot herder is always looking for internet-connected devices which they can use to control servers. The connected devices will suffer from disturbed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. This is malware destruction which makes an attempt at disrupting all your normal server traffic and services. It overwhelms a targeted website by directing a large number of fake traffic toward it.

These are usually organized attacks for personal motives and sometimes political motives. There are also attacks that are for the sole purpose of financial gains by threatening the recipient.

Financial Botnet Attacks 

Infected devices are attacked using entire botnet malware designed specifically to steal credit card information and transfer liquid funds to the attacker’s account.

The botnet definition is that these are specifically designed bots for organized attacks. The main motive is usually gaining money from the recipient. These botnets are responsible for various organized crimes involving millions of dollars over the years.

Large organizations and enterprises need strict antivirus policies and trusted employees who will keep an eye out for such attacks. Moreover, there has been a history of multiple attacks within short periods, which have led to many companies suffering from significant financial losses.

Not all companies and organizations can recover from such losses, so they must stay ahead of the attackers.

Email Spamming Or Phishing Campaigns

Not only your desktop but all other devices are always at risk since the command and control of the attack are all remote, making your emails that are accessible through any device a vulnerable medium to spread the botnet malware. Many people may consider it outdated, but many attackers still use emails to spread threats and viruses.

You will usually find spam emails in your inbox, most of which are flagged down, indicating you deleted them without checking them. If you click any of the links they have sent, this will unleash the attack on you.

You should not only delete your entire spam box without opening the emails but any emails that seem suspicious in your inbox, especially from unknown email addresses, should also be deleted without delay.

Targeted Malicious Software 

Specific bots are designed which are smaller in size and are controlled remotely to attack high-value enterprises and breach their system without any suspicion. The compromised devices and operating system are tactfully breached to ensure no suspicion is raised till it’s too late. These types of attacks mean all financial information, any project details, or private data is at risk.

Things will not be good for anyone if this information comes to light. These attacks are planned down to the last step and sometimes take months to be carried out. They weave themselves through the system, becoming one with the system so that even if the recipient finds out what is happening, it is already too late for them to act and save themselves.

Why Opt For A Botnet Attack?

A crime is punishable globally, and the chances of being caught for committing a crime increase when the criminal is physically present at the scene. When it comes to malware distribution while being completely anonymous through affected devices, the malicious hacker does not need to be anywhere near the crime scene.

Also, computers infected by a bug are easier to remove traces from, so the chances of being caught are next to none for the attacker.

Plus, most people must keep their financial assets physically close to them in this digital age. They are usually in banks being controlled online. Even all data is saved online on various devices. If anything is required, picking up devices from the building is very difficult.

While hacking into a company’s IRC server and getting information from there is the easiest thing to do. You get all the information you need to devise a plan. Hackers find it easy to go around the security controls and attack anyone.

Though morally, this is completely wrong and punishable by law. If caught, the hackers will face severe charges in a court of law. To stay anonymous and to disappear quickly, botnet attacks are planned and carried out with precision.

How Do I Protect Myself From A Potential Botnet Network Attack?

No matter your company size and sector, you must have a safety plan at all times. Essentially everyone is under threat, and you need to be always a step ahead of botnet herders. These attacks are sneaky, and you do not want to waste time in any way. This is because once they make themselves known, you have a short time left to save yourself.

But if you are smart, you will use the software protections and make small changes to your computer security protocols which will help you in the long run. Here are some tips you can use to save your company from a potential attack:

Password Protected Devices 

It would be best if you always had complex and long passwords to protect all your emails and devices. Easy-to-guess passwords are a dead giveaway making it easier for anyone to breach security.

Invest In High-Security Devices 

Always hire IT teams that know how to do their job effectively and can do the research on your behalf before investing in any device. It would be best if you had devices that could be protected easily. The cost you pay now is an investment for a secured future.

Consistent Security Updates 

No one password should be kept for extended periods. All your passwords should be changed, with security options being regularly updated. You should also have custom login credentials and a private connection to ensure no one can enter your system.

Avoid Email Attachments 

As discussed above, email attachments should be avoided with email verification of the sender. You need powerful antivirus software that actively checks all attachments and warns you of malware. Only approved attachments should be downloaded.

Avoid Redirecting Links And Messages 

Like the email, any links being shared or websites redirecting you to a new tab should be avoided. With proper antivirus software, you can avoid this. Also, stay wary of any websites giving you a DNS cache warning as they are unsafe.

Active Real-Time Antivirus Protection 

It is smart to invest in antivirus software with a strong firewall and customizable plans that covers all devices despite their software preferences. It would be best to have both iOS, Android, and Windows protection to keep the attackers out. Bots connect to your system quietly, and getting rid of them takes work. Hence, it’s better to be extra safe rather than sorry later.

Final Thoughts

A centralized server controls all compromised computers that a bot herder (attacker) uses to manage their attacks remotely; these servers are the botnets we need to avoid completely through strong protection plans. You must avoid and block all spam campaigns and other suspicious activities immediately.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.
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