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Understanding Botnet Attacks

A number of inter- connected devices coordinated together to perform a certain task are referred to as a botnet. They are generally used for malicious purposes such as stealing data, spamming, launching a ransomware or a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) etc.

Often used with a negative connotation, the word botnet is a combination of two words – Robot and Network i.e. a network of robots used to commit crime.

The cybercriminals who control them are known as bot herders or bot masters. They are widely launching botnet attacks for stealing cryptocurrencies and money from digital wallets, disrupting functions of IoT devices, defrauding advertisers etc. This is indeed worrisome and a serious threat to security systems.

How Do Botnets Work?

  • Bot masters try to bring under their command as many infected devices or bots as possible to make a bigger botnet. This is done to amplify the impact of attack and to create an operational disruption. So the size of botnet matters a lot.
  • They then use bots to completely obstruct a certain website by overloading it. Such an attack is also called DDoS attack.
  • Generally designed to infect millions of devices, bot masters infect botnets into computers through a Trojan horse virus. It is injected into the user’s system when he/she clicks on a website or pop up containing malware or a malicious email attachment.
  • Once the virus is injected into a user’s system, botnets then gain access to their computers, steal the information and commit cybercrimes.
  • They are difficult to detect and most of the times, user might not be able to figure out that their device is under the influence of a botnet.
  • Some botnets can also propagate the infection on their own, thus bringing more devices under control by infecting them.

Structure Of Botnet
There are two main forms of botnet structures.
Client-Server Model: In this structure, one main server controls the transmission of information from each client and is best for taking & maintaining complete control over the botnet. A special software is used to establish the command and control servers in order to send instructions to each client device.
Peer-to-Peer: This P2P model uses an interconnected structure. Unlike client-server model that relies on a centralized C & C server, in a peer-to-peer structure every device functions both as a client as well as server.
Names Of Some Botnets

  • Zeus
  • Windigo
  • Koobface
  • Kovter
  • Flashback
  • Sefnit
  • ASProx
  • Conficker etc.

With the increasing trend of IoT devices, it has become easier to launch a botnet attack. So, it is important to understand the working and implications of a botnet and ways in which a botnet works to prevent falling prey to such an attack.

For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (972) 375 – 9654.

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