What is a Botnet?

Formed from the words ‘robot’ and ‘network’ a botnet is a term used to describe a collection of hijacked devices with the intent of carrying out mass attacks such as phishing, DDoS, and malware distribution.

A hacker will form a botnet to increase the volume of their future attacks without the original device owner’s knowledge or consent.

How does a Botnet work?

Botnets can be utilised by lone hackers or teams to vastly increase the volume at which they can carry out their activities with minimal effort. Botnets are designed to execute the hacker’s commands from a central control panel known as a bot herder.

The botnet itself is made up of a collection of devices compromised by malware either via a gap in the network security or by phishing. After the device has been exposed to the initial malware the hacker can take full control of the device at any time and activate them remotely to carry out further attacks.

A botnet can be made up of any device connected to the internet, so you must consider online security at every level, even your router could be targeted.

What are Botnets Used For?

Whilst botnets themselves could be considered an attack; they are predominantly used for engaging in further criminal activity online.

Botnet phishing schemes use the compromised devices to imitate harmless activity online with the intent of tricking victims out of money, bank details, or other login details

Distributed Denial-Of-Service (DDoS) attacks are also a common use for botnets as they can vastly increase the volume of the attack. DDoS attacks rely on overloading a server to block all genuine traffic.

Brute force attacks are designed to break into web accounts by sheer force, exploiting weak passwords to access personal data and accounts.

How to protect yourself against botnets

Aside from avoiding weak passwords and exercising caution when opening email attachments and unknown links, you can ensure device and network security by installing proper antivirus software. Many devices come with some form of antivirus programme, however more often than not this is designed for user convenience rather than actual protection. Be sure to research the safety of in-built security, and consider implementing security measures of your own.

To learn more about how to protect your network, contact a RedSpam specialist today