Ever heard of botnets? The chances are, you probably haven’t. They’re hidden and undetectable. Botnets are software robots, also called ‘bots’, that infect computers. Controlled by the creator, this army of botnets turn your computer into a ‘zombie’, with the creator remotely telling them what to do.
So what do these ‘zombies’ do? Generally, they’re used to spread malware via spam emails. Using botnets allows cyber criminals to make these types of attacks undetected, and look as if it’s your fault. Cyber criminals target users based on several criteria. Most zombies are computers with little anti-virus or malware protection. Because zombies are created through an open internet port, computers with high internet speeds are the most desirable to target.
The motivation for cyber criminals using botnets can vary. More often than not, it’s to send spam to make money. But they can also be used to cripple competition through a DDoS attack. Thankfully, though, there are steps you can take to prevent your computer from infection. The most important thing is a simple firewall, with no internet ports left open. When infected, you probably won’t know about it, and zombies are difficult to get rid of. Your best bet is to back up your files and format your hard drive.