The word “botnet” is now very widespread and almost all users know what is mean. This is not surprising because this part of a network can be virtually any device with Internet access. Such network can infect many devices such a desktop computer, smartphone and home WI-FI-router. All of them may one-day weapon in the hand of cybercriminals.
What is a “botnet” network, why they are dangerous and how don’t allow criminals to take control over your devices – we will answer all these questions in this post.
What is a botnet?
So botnet consists of any device with Internet access, what was infected with malware virus, and gain control in the wrong hands, without the user’s knowledge. This happens secretly and hacked device continues to operate as usual – but at the same time will do everything that cybercriminals command. Most often, criminals are infected by thousands of devices and combine them into a single network – a botnet, or “bot network”.
Creating a botnet – it’s just a first stage of criminals evil plan. After the infected device is formed by a powerful infrastructure it can be used to attack everyone on the network. There are four main areas where the owners of botnets and their puppets can act.
Probably the most famous way to use such networks – Distributed Denial of Service attacs. DDoS-attack of botnet generates a lot of requests to the target server, which no server can really handle while ordinary users can’t use the server because of its overload.
These attacks, despite their primitive nature, are still a main weapon of hackers. Their relevance will only grow with the increasing number of Internet-connected gadgets. The fact that for DDoS-attacks can be used literary any device with Internet connection, even the most primitive devices such as surveillance cameras or appliances.
You can really laugh over WI-FI-kettles and refrigerators, but the era of Internet of Things has already come: Now IoT-device number in the hundreds of millions, and in the future will account for billions. For example – recently with the help of the botnet was seriously harm more than eight major online services, including Twitter, Amazon, PayPal and Netflix.
If your spam filter doesn’t work very well, you can imagine how much junk emails can be sent to the most common email address. But not all know that the most of the spam is also a botnet network dirty trick because agencies strictly persecute spammers by blocking not only their e-mail accounts but also the IP-addresses.
Therefore, all hackers hide behind other computers from botnet, so it’s really impossible to track them. In addition to spam with unwanted emails botnet have the inverse task – to steal from the infected computer’s email address of the owner, as well as all e-mail addresses from the contact list. Then these stolen addresses will be added to the spam database for mailings.
Personal information stealing
If your mail was stolen by spammers, it is unpleasant, but not fatal. But, of course, e-mail – it is not the only aim of intruders. Passwords and personal information – all this is valuable. Using your computer or smartphone to login to online banking or just shopping online? We have bad news for you.
In some cases, malicious software as part of a botnet can not only steal the password but also replaces or modify a web page requesting the data that normally are not introduced, such as the PIN-code for your phone or CVV2 code.
Storage and distribution
In addition, botnets are used to search for vulnerabilities of not yet infected devices, install new copies of themselves and even become the storage of other viruses, trojans, and downloaders of different botnets networks.
As you can see, the victim could potentially be faced with a whole range of different troubles.
How to protect yourself
But don’t panic. There are a number of simple rules that accurately help reduce the risk of infection.
- Don’t dismiss the firewall alerts on suspicious network activity of installed applications, especially when the installed program isn’t intended for work on the Internet.
- Change the default passwords on routers, web cameras, printers, WI-FI-refrigerators and all other devices connected to the Internet. In general, any device connected to the network should be checked the possibility of changing the password.
- Always install security updates – and for the operating system, and other programs.
- Don’t work on the desktop computer or laptop on the administrator account and a specially created account with limited rights. On smartphones and tablets don’t hold permanently Root access, better don’t use it at all.
- Do not ignore the security updates of the operating system and other programs.
- Avoid suspicious sites, a different kind of browser hijackers and especially avoid sites with cracks or patches to different license software. These sites – a favorite place of cybercriminals. On such sites, they spread their malicious software.
- If you do download something like torrents or other unsafe files, check all files via antivirus.
- Use Antivirus and firewall or just buy a good defense, which contain both functions, such as GridinSoft Anti-Malware.