Bots and Botnets

Botnets explained.

What is a Bot?

A “bot” in cybersecurity is a software application that performs automated, time-consuming tasks on command. Cyber criminals use these bot programs to infect computers and take control for malicious purposes. An affected computer is also called a “zombie.” These bots are then used by the attacker to launch coordinated attacks and infest a collection of inter-connected devices called botnets.

What are Botnets

Botnets are large networks of infected computers or bots that are controlled by a command center. Using this network of zombies, the attacker can employ several malicious activities like phishing scams, social engineering, click fraud, spam emails, DDoS attacks, API Abuse, and more.

Over the last few years, botnets have come as one of the most powerful and common methods of malware deployment. Botnets have infected hundreds of millions of computers worldwide. Research shows that a botnet can include 75,000 or more controlled computers.

Usually, a zombie spreads the malware or virus to other computers in the network due to weak endpoint security. Then they create massive botnets. These botnets are then used for illicit activities on a large scale. Often, the cyber-attacks are automated to make way for as many simultaneous cyber assaults as possible.  

How Botnets Work

The controller of botnets aims to perform large operations with little footprint. The original owner of the computer can still use it without even knowing it’s being compromised. Using advanced resources and techniques, the attacker masks themselves and uses the target’s computer for criminal activities without getting noticed.

The potential infiltration devices for botnet attacks are open-source and unsecured devices, outdated software, and unverified Internet routers. For the most part, the infected device functions normally, except for maybe getting slower at times.

Mitigating the Bot Threat

The increased ratio of bot attacks underscores the need for

  • Having advanced security software on every computer.
  • Beware of unsolicited emails and attachments.
  • Don’t get enticed by web ads and pop-ups.
  • Keep your software and all third-party applications updated as these apps are the steppingstones for the attackers to infect your computer.
  • Use a password manager to auto-fill passwords ONLY on authorized sites.

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