You have probably heard about botnet, but what is it exactly, why is it harmful and how can you protect your devices against such attacks?
- What is a botnet?
What is a botnet? It is a group of devices connected to the Internet that has been infected by a malware dedicated to the creation of bots or zombies. It therefore operates in a covert manner, obtaining administrative rights and giving cybercriminals control of the device without disclosing its presence. PC, smartphone, tablet, router, connected objects such as smart fridge and other smart toys, any device can turn into a zombie and be part of a botnet.
And while the hacked device works as usual, it simultaneously follows the commands of the botnet commander. The strength of the bootnets comes from the fact that infected devices form a powerful infrastructure increasingly used to develop cybercrime attacks. Some botnet commanders are specialized only in botnet expansion and funding.
Here are the usual methods of using a botnet:
- To conduct DDoS attacks
The most common use of a botnet is to organize a Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attack. This attack is basic and quite known but remains very effective. This was the case in October 2016 when cybercriminals used a denial-of-service attack to block more than 80 major Internet websites, such as Twitter, Amazon and PayPal.
Here it how it works: a botnet blocks a server with unnecessary queries. The submerged server can no longer process them and becomes unavailable to regular users.
The more devices connected to the botnet, the stronger the denial of service attack. In fact, most devices connected to the Internet can be used in this type of attack, even some devices that you did not imagine that would be connected to the Internet, such as surveillance cameras or Wi-Fi printers.
Shortly the number of connected devices that today is only hundreds of millions will reach billions. And since they are not all properly protected, they are easy prey for botnets.
- To launch Spam Campaigns
Spam can easily invade your mailbox and spread to your equipment. But did you know that spam campaigns are generally developed via zombies? Cybercriminals need botnets to block anti-spam boxes action.
It thus creates a vicious circle: when a device is infected, cybercriminals then use the email of its owner to send spams. And they also add contacts from pirated e-mails to their own spam databases.
- To steal data
Cybercriminals are not only interested in your contact lists, they also try to steal your online banking passwords or your personal data in your mobile apps. Some Trojans can go as far as changing web pages in your browser to phish your banking data and even capture your bank card PIN code.
- To enlarge their network
Botnets are also used to search for new vulnerable devices and infect them with other Trojans and malware.
Here are some tips to help you counter botnet attacks:
- Change default passwords on all devices, including routers, webcams, printers and smart devices.
- Always install firmware updates and security updates on your operating system and software.
- Be careful when doing PtoP and transfer activities as cybercriminals often spread malicious files in games or infected software.
- If you download anything on torrent trackers or other unreliable places, check all files with a good antivirus program.
- Even if you do not take risks, use an effective security solution and pay attention when suspicious activities are detected.
- Use a VPN! This is the best way to avoid Botnet and make sure your devices are not affected. You will thus be able to hide your identity and protect your privacy. Indeed, Le VPN encrypts the user’s Internet connection with a top secret encryption system that no one can hack into, even using public Wi-Fi networks at airports, stations, cafes and other hotspots.
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