October 18, 2022

What is a Botnet?

Bones Ijeoma

CEO and co-founder

Botnets are networks of infected computers that hackers use for malicious purposes. Find out how to prevent and detect botnet infections with AllSafe IT.

You may hear the word ‘bot’ used in conversations, especially around cybersecurity.  But often we use it without really knowing exactly what it means or how it originated.

The Players

The term botnet is short for robot network.  It describes a network of computers that are infected by malware.  This malware is controlled by a single party, known as the bot-herder.  And each computer that is under that control is known as a bot.

How Does It Work?

Every computer on the botnet can be controlled from one central point or location.  Commands are issued for criminal acts to be carried out at the same time.  These botnets are often made up of millions of bots.  This enables large-scale attacks to happen without the effort and coordination of multiple parties.  It also includes the ability to perform simultaneous updates and behavior modifications to the bots as well as attack commands.  Bot-herders can often rent out segments of their botnet to cybercriminals for financial gain.

What Do They Do?

While not limited to the following actions, these are some of the more common criminal activities that bots can perform.

DDos Attacks – A distributed denial of service attack is when an overload of requests is directed at a targeted network or server.  This then renders the network inaccessible to its legitimate users.

Targeted Intrusion – When a smaller botnet targets a very specific high-value part of an organization such as financial data, R&D, or other intellectual property.  It can also target customer information.

Financial Breach – These botnets are designed to target credit card information and directly steal funds.

Email Spam – While this is one of the older botnet attack methods, it is one of the most common.  Botnets will send out phishing and spam messages with malware to large, targeted audiences.  One person clicking on a malicious link can result in financial gain for the criminal.

How To Fight Back

The sophistication and adaptability of bots make them a threat to cybersecurity in many aspects. Being proactive in your approach will provide better results when it comes to keeping your personal identity and the security of your business intact.

AllSafe IT recommends the following best practices to increase your chances of avoiding a breach:

  • Make sure your employees are trained on security awareness so they are aware of every type of threat and know how to respond to them.
  • Deploy a multi-layered stack of security solutions like AllSafe IT’s Safe Total, which includes endpoint protection, advanced email security, multi-factor authentication, security awareness training and compromised credential monitoring.
  • Implement Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR). Restoring from backup is the easiest, cheapest and most reliable way to restore data after an attack.
  • Assume you will be hit. We only hear about huge corporations in the headlines, but organizations of all sizes are targeted. Do everything you can to avoid an attack, but also be prepared for the worst.
  • Have a malware recovery plan. Speaking of preparing for the worst, make sure you have an incident response plan in place. This will enable your IT team to quickly mobilize when a ransomware attack starts and may even be able to stop an attack before data can be encrypted.

AllSafe IT is proud to have spent over 15 years providing IT services to hundreds of companies. Our specialized services are uniquely tailored to provide our customers with the reliability, protection, and fast services needed to ensure 100% uptime and maximized data security. From comprehensive and preventative cybersecurity strategies to 24/7 customer support, AllSafe IT understands the unique needs of businesses.