What is a Botnet?

The word botnet is formed by combining two different terms: “robot” and “network”. A botnet can then be defined as a network of bots (devices) connected to the Internet. These devices can be PCs, smartphones or IoT devices. The hacker in charge of this type of attack is known as bot herders or botmaster.

The objective of this type of attack is to infect as many devices as possible. To do so, hackers have two options:

  • Design a virus (Trojan) to create a breach in several devices
  • Or design a botnet to constantly search for vulnerable devices connected to the Internet and self-propagate between them.

    How does a Botnet work?

The hacker infects the devices to “hijack” them. Once under control, the devices receive instructions to perform certain actions that require large-scale automation. Some examples of these actions are: sending spam or virus on a large scale, autofill attacks, DDoS attacks, bitcoin mining, advertising fraud or even rent or sell the botnet to a third party.

The number of bots in a botnet is different in each case. There can be thousands, tens of thousands and even millions of them. It is important to bear in mind that the larger the network, the greater its impact.

The two main types of botnet structures are:

  • Client-server: in this type of structure, there is a Command and Control server which gives instructions to the bots.
  • Peer-to-peer: each infected device has a list of other infected devices, which it seeks to update and transmit information from one to another.

How can we protect ourselves against these attacks?

The prevention of these attacks is beyond our control and that of the traditional tools based on detection and analysis. Actions as simple as not updating the OS, clicking a link, downloading a document or opening an attachment can be enough to make our device become a bot.

The design of botnets is increasingly complex, making it easier for them to cheat security programs and harder to discover them. To all this we must add the critical role of IoT, whose boom is doing nothing more than trigger the emergence and spread of these attacks.

Given this scenario, there is only one type of technology capable of offering effective protection against botnets: web isolation technology. As we have seen in previous posts, this type of technology is the only technology capable of protecting devices, not only from their vulnerabilities but also from the actions carried out by its users.

And remember…

If you notice that your computer is slower than normal, the fan sounds when the device is at rest or the computer shows unusual messages, a hacker might be controlling it. We recommend that you use one of these two tools:

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