Botnet Detection: How You Can Trace Zombie Network Invasions

Knowledge on Botnet detection can save you from numerous losses and hassles in long run.

Nowadays, computer viruses and Trojans are not the only online threats you have to fret about. If you access the Internet frequently and perform plenty of online transactions, it is imperative to safeguard your computer from botnet attacks.

botnet detection

In recent times, botnets have emerged as a significant threat to computer users worldwide. Owing to ignorance on bots, lots of PC users fail to understand how and when their PCs get invaded by networks of zombie PCs.

Botnets are typically controlled by a master bot server. The latter, in turn, is operated by hackers who want to expand the infected PC network. There are numerous methods to detect botnet invasion.

Studies have shown that creators of bots attack both company intranets and home computers. They also infect servers hosting the data of online service providers through DDos attacks.

Ways To Detect A Botnet Attack

Even though botnet creators resort to various stealth measures to infect individual PCs and networks, there are some tried and tested methods for Botnet detection. The most prominent sign of botnet infection is unexpected problems with internet and online resource access. In some instances, botnets may make accessing specific sites impossible for a PC user.

Botnets can also make your computer more susceptible to virus infections. You may sense that something is wrong if regular antivirus scans throw up more frequent infection or malware results. Some bots let newer strains of viruses sneak in your PC that cannot be detected by the database of the existing antivirus.

Another indication of a botnet invasion is a sudden increase in the amount of spam. Bots are instrumental in directing lots of spam to email inboxes. They can even bypass email servers with integrated spam filter. Therefore, an unprecedented hike in spam mail may lead to Botnet detection.

Botnet Detection Apps: Find The Saviour

Once a bot successfully infected a computer, even the latest antivirus suites have a hard time to unmask this type of malware. Fortunately, there are several effective botnet protection apps that can be used by most PC users to detect botnets and remove them from an infected computer.

botnet detection - rubotted

RUBotted is a free anti-bot app from Trend Micro which monitors common command and control server communication channels like IRC connections, incoming HTTP requests, transmitted E-Mails and outgoing DNS requests to identify possible botnet activities. In case the app detects a suspicious activity it informs the user and offers the option to scan the computer. RUBotted can detect and remove common bots on its own but can also fall back to Trend Micro’s Housecall online scanner to get malware removed.

The anti-bot app can be installed on computers running Windows XP and later versions as long as you have a 32 bit operating system version. Despite this RUBotted can be installed from my experience parallel to common antivirus app solutions like Kaspersky Antivirus, Avast Free Antivirus, AVG Free Antivirus, Avira Free Antivirus and Microsoft Security Essentials without problems. You can download RUBotted here from the official Trend Micro website.

Bothunter is another free of charge anti-bot app. This should be considered as its development was sponsored by the US-Army research office. It analyses the network traffic with a patented mechanism to detect typical patterns between a bot infected computer and command and control servers.

If the app detects such a pattern it collects relevant data in a comprehensive report which not only includes information about involved hosts but also copies of malware that have been downloaded by the infected computer. The detection patterns itself are being updated regularly and distributed like antivirus signature files to make sure that the app will detect even the latest botnet malware.

Bothunter can be installed on various 32 and 64 bit operating systems like Mac OS, Microsoft, Linux and FreeBSD and is also available as Live-CD. When installed locally it needs a compatible Java runtime environment to be executed. You can get your copy of Bothunter here from the official website.

Upping Level Of Protection

While using tools for detecting botnets is prudent for PC users, it is also necessary to step up existing safety measures to improve the botnet protection of personal computers. Using a robust PC firewall and installing operating system patches and updates regularly is imperative in this regard.


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