Consider the enormous damage a hacker can do with one computer. Now multiply that with the power of thousands, or millions of slave computers (botnets).

As crazy as it sounds, these cyber zombie hordes exist. 

Hackers can use botnets to carry out DDoS attacks, generate fake web traffic, demand ransom, and create adware farms.

The first step to protecting yourself from such attacks is learning more about them.

So, what are botnets exactly?

What Are Botnets?

A bot is a software program that automatically executes certain specified operations.

They can positively impact our daily life productivity, indexing websites in search engines…

However, it is the bad bots that are a problem. These can take over a computer’s action and turn it into a “zombie.

A botnet is a large group of such zombie bots that are directed using a command and control center. 

This center can instruct them to perform any malicious actions wanted by the hacker. 

How Are Botnets Created?

Hackers typically use Trojan horse viruses to spread their malware.

They tend to spread themselves with methods like:

Such malware-infected computers can spread the infection to other devices and make the botnet grow.

Can Botnets Target Your Organization?

Botnets can be used to carry out dangerous DDoS attacks.

A single DDoS attack can cost small and medium enterprises almost $120,000.

Large organizations suffer even more, with an average of $2.3 million lost per attack.

Another way botnets can harm your organization is by visiting your website and leaving quickly, as this can harm SEO rankings.

Protecting Your Computers from Botnets

Botnets are scary. They are the digital version of mindless zombies.

That being said, it is relatively simple to prevent your computer from becoming part of one.

A few things that will keep you safe from botnets in 2020 are:

1. Antivirus Scans – The best and most effective way to fight against becoming part of a botnet is also the easiest. 

Regular antivirus scans can stop command and control malware from being installed on your computer. A good antivirus will also remove the botnet malware if you get infected.

2. Avoid Suspicious Email – Gmail and other email providers do an excellent job of preventing spam.

However, some malicious emails may get through to your inbox.

You should avoid such suspicious emails. Never click on any link or download attachments from them as these may have trojan malware.

3. Stay Away from Untrustworthy Ads and Sites – Bot herders often trick users on the internet by placing tempting ads or downloads in their way while browsing.

Only download “free software” from reputable sources and double-check its authenticity. 

Pop-ups that provide too good to be true offers are also to be avoided.

 4. Update Software Regularly – New viruses are created every day and adversaries are on the constant lookout for vulnerabilities that they can exploit.

Updating software regularly can solve these issues. Most prominent OS and antivirus vendors provide regular updates, so be sure to make use of them.

5. Get Anti-DDoS Protection – We have talked about how to stop your devices from becoming part of botnets, but what if someone were to attack you using a botnet? 

Anti-DDoS solutions can protect your online assets with cloud-based protection. Such services are cost-effective, efficient, and easy to use.

Summary

Botnets are dangerous tools in the hands of adversaries but can be beaten with the correct precautions and defenses.

An organization with a clear understanding of its own security posture can create strong defenses against botnets.

Our Vulnerability Management services at GoMyITGuy help you do just that.

Contact us today, to enjoy absolute security and complete peace of mind.