What is a botnet? A common question. These days there are many kinds of malware that can put PC users in trouble. The troublesome part is that a majority of PC users are not fully aware of the threats that may attack their PCs stealthily.
Battling a standalone worm is not very difficult, but an average user may not have the know-how to cope with an invasion of botnets or a group of infected computers. To understand what is a botnet, it is necessary to know more about the source of its name.
The word is derived from robot, since each infected bot is part of a remote controlled network that aims to attack other PCs using the internet or intranet. Botnets cannot be compared to standard computer viruses as their way of operation is very different and far more comprehensive in nature. A master bot controls the bots, which are also referred to as zombie PCs. They aim to infect other PCs through network ports and emails in most cases.
Unlike PC computer viruses, botnets can attack other computers in myriad ways. In fact, hackers and operators of the master bot often use newer ways to infect other computers outside the network. While knowing what is a botnet, it is also imperative to know their major attack strategies.
A number of botnets conduct DOS attacks, resulting in bottlenecks in accessing specific websites. They may also send adware and Trojans to other computers without the users being aware of this. Some botnets also trick PC users into buying rogue apps by displaying fake ads and presenting malware as system security apps.
Hackers also use botnets to spam users and steal personal information. They can use infected zombie PCs to execute monetary frauds, thereby implicating PC users during transactions without their knowledge or actual involvement.
The botnet population is far greater than what average PC users can even perceive. Leading security firms are of the opinion that several million computers are part of such infected zombie networks. While you are learning what is a botnet, be aware of their favorite targets!
Hackers usually target broadband internet users, but in several instances, dial-up users have suffered as well. Even wireless network users are not safe in this regard.
Botnets infect other computers stealthily and users often fail to realize their PCs have become part of zombie networks. It can be particularly harmful for business users or those who perform many monetary transactions online. These compromised PCs can be used to commit numerous cybercrimes without the owner knowing about the activities. It can also make them land in legal hassles.