All You Need to Know About Botnet

All You Need to Know About Botnet

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Updated on Apr 15, 2024 10:09 IST

Have you ever thought about how a single attacking party is able to carry out malicious activities requiring an army of computers? Where do they get resources from? Do they take help from other hackers? Do they buy resources from the dark net? The answer to all these questions is “Botnet.”

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So, what exactly is a botnet, and what does it do? If you are unaware of the answers to these questions, you are at the right place. In this article, we will discuss all that you need to know about botnet.

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But before we explore botnet in-depth, let’s first understand what a bot is. So, a bot is a computer device infected by malicious code that infiltrates and infects that computer, thus allowing a single attacking party to control the device as per the instructions given by them.

For more information, you can explore: What is a Bot and How Does it Work?

Table of content (TOC)

What is a botnet? 

Botnet definition: A botnet is a group or network of infected computers (bot) under the control of a single attacking party, known as the “bot herder.”

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With the help of a botnet, an attacking party can carry out malicious activities on a large scale which earlier was too difficult or nearly impossible to accomplish. In a botnet, every single computer (bot) is under the control of a bot herder, and the worst part is that the actual owner of the device has no idea or knowledge regarding this.

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Having a bot army (botnet) at the attacking party’s disposal is a significant concern because the bot herder can change the behavior, working, the content of files, and so on with a single command. In order to carry out malicious activity, he can update the system as needed, search for vulnerabilities in other devices, monitor users’ online activities, and so on.

Sometimes, bot herders even rent out the bot army on the dark web or deep web to other hackers so that they can carry out malicious tasks or cyber attacks, such as DDoS attacks, phishing, brute force attack, etc., and in return, bot herder earns a massive sum of money.

How does a botnet work? 

Before activating the botnet, the attacker or the attacking party has to create bots, and in order to accomplish that, they hack n number of computers. Once the computer is hacked because of low security or other factors, they infect the system with a strain of malware.

This strain of malware allows the attacking party to connect the device to the central botnet server. Once all the infected computers (bots) are connected to the bot herder, they can send commands and carry out attacks or malicious activities.

Botnet attack example 

Recently, in India and various other countries, cybersecurity officials have identified a new variant of a botnet (known as Phorpiex) hijacking hundreds of cryptocurrency transactions. The bot first surfaced in 2006 and was the cause of various cyber attacks, such as cryptojacking, ransomware, etc.

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After some time, it was reported that the source code of the Phorpiex botnet was sold, and it resurfaced again after some time at another IP address. As of now, this botnet operates without a C&C server (A command-and-control [C&C] server is a computer operated and controlled by an attacker in order to send commands to infected computers (bots) and obtains stolen information from a targeted system.)

And, because Phorpiex is operating a C&C server, each computer can act as a server. In addition, attackers are now employing this botnet to rob cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, dogecoin, and others, during transactions by replacing the original wallet address with the attacker’s wallet address.

Signs that show a botnet may have infected your system 

Here are some of the signs:

Unable to update: You might be unable to update your computer, especially your antivirus software. This is done by the attacker in order to prevent your system from freeing itself from its grasp. Modern and latest updates protect your systems against cyber attacks.

Loud fan noise: You might notice that your system’s fan operates loudly even when idle. This is so because attackers might be using system resources, such as bandwidth, in order to accomplish a malicious activity. Before coming to any conclusion, make sure it’s not because of any other factors, such as dust or the updation of software occurring in the background.

Slow working: This can be due to various other reasons, such as the system needs service, etc. But if everything is okay, it may be because an attacker is using the available bandwidth.

Slow shutdown speed: You might notice that your system takes a lot of time to shut down. This may be because your system is infected, as infected computers shut down slowly. This happens because of botnet malware in order to mitigate interference with malicious background activities.

Email sent that you never wrote: In order to spread the botnet to other devices, attackers may insert a malicious file in the mail to that once they are opened, they can infect the system. Hence increasing the bot army.

Slow internet: It could be that you are receiving slow speed because the provider you have opted for is not providing the appropriate speed, you have used the maximum data capacity, etc. But, if everything is okay from your and your provider’s end and you are still facing slow speed, this could be because your system is participating in a botnet attack.

How can you remove the botnet from your system? 

Here are some of the ways to remove the botnet from your system:

  • Scan your system with a good antivirus.
  • You can use botnet removal tools, such as Avast One.
  • After backing up your valuable data, you can reset your device to factory settings.

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How to protect your system from the botnet infection? 

Here are some of the ways to prevent your system from a botnet infection:

  • Don’t open emails or attachments from senders whom you don’t know.
  • Keep your system updated to the newest update version or patch available.
  • You can implement a firewall and use Google Safe Browsing service to mitigate the attack or threat.
  • You can also opt for or conduct vulnerability or penetration testing to test the security of your system.
  • Make sure to use strong device authentication, such as two-factor authentication, multi-factor authentication, etc.
  • Increase your web application firewall settings and rules restricting the malware’s inbound or outbound network traffic.
  • Using a proxy server as a hub where your internet requests can process adds a layer of protection to your IP address.

Conclusion

Botnet poses a tremendous cybersecurity threat. And one of the most serious concerns is that the owner is unaware that their system is infected or used for malicious activities. Hence, it is essential to follow the above mentioned precautions and be careful when going online.

In this article, we have explored what a botnet is, how it works, its example, signs that show your system might be infected, how to remove the botnet, etc. If you have any queries related to the topic, please feel free to send your query through a comment. We will be happy to help.

Happy learning!!

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