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What are botnets and what dangers do they bring?

what are botnets

The Internet of things can be an evil lair of cybercriminals whose prime objective is to steal money and data from people. One such way of harassing people is by using botnets. So, what are botnets and why are they dangerous?

A botnet can be described as a number of Internet-connected devices that run other bots. These are the workhorses of the Internet that can be used to perform multiple repetitive tasks to keep the websites operational. The term botnet is derived by combining the words “robot” and “network.”

Used in connection with Internet Relay Chat frequently, botnets are completely legal entities responsible for maintaining smooth performance of the websites.

However, the illegal and malicious botnets are what one has to keep an eye for. These can gain access to a system via a malicious code or malware and hijack that computer.

Botnets then perform a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack), steal data, send spam, permit attackers to gain access to the device and its connection. Now that we know what are botnets, let’s see how they operate.

How do botnets work?

Botnets gain access to your system either through some malicious code or through direct hacking. Sometimes, it may also gain access through security holes of a system.

The prime motive is to add your computer to their web. This can be done via a drive-by download method or by auto-installing a trojan on your computer. This way the perpetrators gain control of your computer as after the botnet gets installed in your system, they notify the master computer.

Consequently, the botnets will execute common tasks through your computer such as:

  • Use your system power to distribute denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. These types of attacks lead to the shut down of websites.
  • Send spam email to innumerable users.
  • Generate fake Internet traffic on a third-party site to earn money.
  • Directing ad pop-ups on your web browser specifically designed to extract money from you to remove the botnet.
  • Botnets can also replace banner ads in your browser.

How to stay safe from malicious botnets?

  • Keep the operating system of your computer up-to-date.
  • Avoid downloading attachments from unknown emails.
  • Keep all your devices updated as well to ensure that there are no security holes that could be breached easily.
  • Use an antivirus program that provides adequate internet security in all your devices.
  • Keeping your system firewall active is essential when browsing online.
  • Avoid visiting unknown sites that may be prone to malware attacks and other forms of cybercrime.
  • Also, ensure to download and install software from trusted sources only.

You can check our latest online security tips, so you’ll be safe online.

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