What is a Botnet? How does a Botnet Work? GRIDINSOFT TEAM
The first thing you need to know is that cybercriminals are not the only category of burglars who may need a botnet. Often, botnets launch a spam campaign on someone’s page in social networks or do it under someone’s video on YouTube. Of course, both cybercrimes and spamming are unwanted, but the latter is usually rated as a joke or petty dirty trick.
All botnets are different but have a single common thing - software that unites the computer into a single network. Usually, for this purpose, botnet creators use backdoor viruses. Of course, they may use any other virus which can modify the networking settings and grant remote access - remote access trojans and stealers, for example. But statistics show that backdoors are preferred - maybe because they are designed for this purpose.
Through the backdoor, crooks change your system settings and networking configurations. They add a specific connection to their command server, using the console command, disable your antivirus, and, finally, download the particular toolkit, which allows them to “wake” your computer and force it to act as they want.
Why do cyber cybercriminals need a botnet?
As you read earlier, botnets are called to conduct some sort of spamming activity. All DDoS attacks and effective spamming campaigns are made with the use of botnets. The network, which consists of fully-controlled computers with a centralized control center, is highly effective. Just imagine - you have an army of 100% controlled by you, and you pay nothing to manage all of them - only usual Internet bills. Yes, in Darknet, you may find offers to rent a botnet, but often, these networks are used by the hackers who created them.
The exact purpose of the attacks, performed with botnets’ help, is profit, committing revenge, or creating the illusion. While botnet-based attacks’ first and second reasons can easily be understood, “creating the illusion” must be explained.
Some political parties or opinion leaders sometimes get into the situation when they need to ensure their audience that many people support the point of view they offer. People sometimes make conclusions based on the opinions of other people. However, they rarely think that the “crowd” they see and follow may be illusionary. Botnets are “hired” by unscrupulous mass-media companies or opinion leaders to create an illusion that many people support, for example, the following changes to legislation or changes in government, which are implemented without democratic voting.
Latest botnet activity:
- Previously assessed as insignificant, DirtyMoe botnet infected over 100,000 Windows systems
- TeamTNT mining botnet infected over 50,000 systems in three months
- Prometei botnet attacks vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers
- DreamBus botnet attacks corporate applications on Linux servers
- PgMiner botnet attacks poorly protected PostgreSQL DBs
- KashmirBlack botnet is behind attacks on popular CMS including WordPress, Joomla and Drupal
- P2P botnet Interplanetary Storm accounts more than 9000 devices
- IPStorm botnet now attacks Android, macOS and Linux devices
How can I understand that my computer is a part of botnet?
Hackers who created botnet have no reason to ensure that a specific user whose PC is in botnet has already detected that he is hacked. When they have thousands of computers in their network, the loss of a single PC or even ten ones will not bring any significant effect. They may start botnet activity even at the moment when you are using your computer. Hence, any strange activity among the listed below is a reason to scan your computer for possible backdoors. Here are the typical signs which indicate that your PC is a part of a botnet:
- The mouse pointer moves autonomously;
- You can see the console windows opening chaotically;
- A browser window opens without your intention;
- You see the 404 error when trying to open the websites, and you can reach this site from another device;
- For laptops: your battery begins uncharging much faster than usual, without any updates in software or hardware or changes in the program you usually run;
- For users with metered connections: traffic is consumed extremely fast by the app you did not use.
At least two of these signs are enough to consider that your computer is used by someone else. Don’t panic - crooks who added your computer to botnet are likely not interested in your data or other sensitive information. All you have to do is to launch anti-malware software, perform the scan and remove the threat. Although the virus can suspend the Microsoft Defender, it can barely disable third-party security tools.
How can I protect my system from turning into a part of a botnet?
It is tough to predict from where the backdoor virus will try to attack your system. Of course, botnets are created not only with backdoors - as it was mentioned, RATs and stealers are also in this party. Nonetheless, even system administrators can create only passive barriers against viruses. They will be effective until you open the enormous gate for any type of malware - the web browser.
To make your system protected, you need to use anti-malware or antivirus software with a proactive protection function. Security tools with this feature scan the activity of each running application and will detect malware by its behavior. Proactive protection is the most effective solution against backdoors. GridinSoft Anti-Malware is a security tool that can offer you this feature.