Botnet    Alias:  Zombie Army 
Bot is short for Robot…
Net is short for Network… 
Zombie
is a will-less entity captured and controlled by a controller
Bot Herder is a manager/controller of a botnet

BotNet1

So a botnet is a network of robot computers — an “army” of robot/zombie computers infected with remote-controlled software/programs that run at the will of a Bot Herder without the computer user’s knowledge.

Sounds weird but why should you care about that?

You not only should care, you NEED to care because botnets are a major source of internet crime and they are looking for you to join their network!

How does a computer become part of a botnet?
Computers (using Windows or Mac operating systems) that are not updated and patched, not protected by current anti-virus programs, not firewalled, and/or are subject to users who are not using prudent computing/browsing behaviors can become infected.

  •   A security company did a test a few years ago to see how fast an unprotected computer on the internet would/could be hacked (discovered and infected).   It took 20 seconds!

Can I tell my computer is infected?
Not really.  A robot/zombie computer does not alert the owner that it is now part of a wicked army.  However, you might suspect malware on your computer if it runs unusually slow, crashes or stops responding frequently.  Be aware that the same problems might also point to hardware or software issues that have nothing to do with malware.

Botnets are profitable.
Botnets are multi-billion dollar, international businesses.  Botnets can be rented or sold for the purpose of gaining passwords, gaining/selling confidential information, committing identity theft, selling bank account information, to name a few things…

Profits

Botnets are dangerous
Compromised computers are used for many purposes just mentioned as well as distributing spam, spreading Trojan horses and other malware, bringing down huge entities like the Pentagon, large private companies like banks, governments and militaries.

How many botnets are there?
It was hard to get even an estimate that could be quoted.  But many sources share that some “armies” can have several million to hundreds of millions of computers enlisted for a single attack.  The number of botnets continues to grow as the number of computers joining the internet continues to grow as well.

What can I do with my computer to avoid being enlisted as a zombie?
Strengthen your computer’s defenses with some of the following strategies:

  1. Install antivirus and antispyware programs from a trusted source.
  2. Keep all software patched and up to date.
  3. Use strong passwords and keep them secret.
  4. Never turn off your firewall.
  5. Use flash drives cautiously.
  6. Do not be tricked into downloading malware

If you have questions about any of the points made in this post, please feel free to contact me at itcat101@gmail.com.

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