What is Botnet?

The term botnet is not a malicious one. A botnet is a short form of 'robot network'. The term 'bot' is used when we have to define some automated tasks performed without user intervention. But as this term is used concerning hacking to describe a new breed of malicious threats, we will learn about it with every detail. From the cybercrime point of view, the botnet is an automated cyber army with some computers connected to the Internet without their owner's knowledge.

Use of Botnet

Computers that serve as the zombie army often fail to protect their computers using effective firewalls and other safeguards. These bots are getting created when the host computer's internet port is left open or via a small Trojan horse program that is left for future activation. The botnet controller via Trojan or other malicious programs sends a single command for all bots possible from an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) site. D-DoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack can be performed using this technique.

Tasks Done by Botnets

  1. Sending: They send viruses, worms, spyware, keyloggers, etc.
  2. Steal: They steal personal and private data from the host PC, such as credit card numbers, bank credentials, and other sensitive personal information.
  3. DoS (Denial of Service): They are used to launch Denial of Service attack. It attempts to make a computer or network resource unavailable to the users who are using it with a temporary interrupt or suspending of services that they provide. We will read about it in detail in the next chapter.
  4. Clickfrauding: is the technique used by fraudsters using bots to boost web ads by auto-clicking internet ads.
  5. Spam Relay: A massive volume of the span can be generated using botnets, so they are called spambots. There are many advantages to using spambots, such as:
    1. Spammers can hide their identity.
    2. The spamming source becomes untraceable.
    3. The spamming process can be carried out with various other tasks and with high bandwidth.

Main Characteristics of Botnets

Based on the terms, the characteristics are:

  • A network of infected auto controlled machines.
  • They can be coordinated remotely.
  • They are used for malicious purposes.

Components of a Botnet

A botnet is mainly made up of two major components:

  1. Host Component: The bots are the infected machines that a botmaster can control remotely. The malicious program that enables a compromised machine to control the botmaster remotely is called the bot-agent. It is the host component of the botnet.
  2. Network Component: The botnet's network component is an online resource that a botnet utilizes. The common uses of a bot's network component are:
    1. Command and control channel.
    2. Malware distribution server.
    3. Drop zone.

Countermeasures Against Bots

  1. To secure your computer from botnet attack, install Norton anti-bots and Norton 360 antivirus.
  2. Configure the antivirus to get an auto-update when connected to the Internet.
  3. Limit the user right when you are online.
  4. Patch current updates of firewalls and anti-spyware.
  5. Ensure that your system has Microsoft Windows Update's latest patch.
  6. Maximize the browser's security settings.
  7. Verify the source of the email attachments before download or opening them.

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