The word ‘Botnet’ is derived from combination of two words – ‘Robot’ & ‘Network’. It can be defined as a number of computers that have been infected by malware such that they can be remotely controlled by the hackers to form a network which is then used to launch attacks on other users. The hackers exploit the resources of infected machines to launch different attacks such as DDoS, data breaches, etc.
How do Botnet Attacks Work?
A botnet attack is launched in three steps:
- Finding vulnerable devices
- Spreading malware in these devices
- Gaining control over devices
Cybercriminals or hackers use three different ways to infect and gain control of devices to form their Botnet or ‘Zombie Army’.
- Installation of a malicious software
- Launching a direct hacking attack
- Using an automated program to monitor the internet & locate vulnerable devices
If an infected device is connected to a system, hackers can spread the malware laterally and gain control of other devices linked to the same network. Once the devices have been infected, they are either controlled using either remote software or Control-And-Command software. These controlled devices are then used to act according to the hacker. Some common actions performed using botnets include sending spam emails, launching multiple server requests, creating internet traffic towards a website, and increasing the number of downloads for a software or application.
In order to prevent a botnet attack, it is first important to understand different types of botnet attacks.
Types of Attacks Performed Using a Botnet:
As a large number of devices are a part of a botnet, the hackers have access to a large bank of resources such as computation capacity, storage, etc. It equips the hackers to launch different types of attacks such as:
- Phishing Attack
- Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks
- Bruce Force Attacks
- Cryptocurrency Mining
- Browser Add-on Installation
- Personal Information Theft
- Device Bricking
Tips to Prevent Botnet Attacks:
Before understanding ways to prevent a botnet attack, let us first look at why it is challenging to prevent or protect yourself against a botnet attack.
- As a large number of devices are connected to a botnet, it makes it difficult for cyber security tools to screen out potentially lethal access requests sent to a website or API.
- IoT devices with IP addresses are more vulnerable than computers and can be easily manipulated by hackers to become a part of botnet. These devices are used to launch slow attacks and are more difficult to detect.
- Botnets are continuously modified to exploit new vulnerabilities making it difficult to understand the behavioral pattern.
Here are some tips to prevent botnet attacks:
- Up-To-Date Devices: Botnets are designed and modified to exploit existing vulnerabilities in software or app. So, make sure that every device connected to your network installs a software update or security patch. Software updates are launched to fix vulnerabilities in previous versions. This helps in preventing a botnet attack by closing the backdoor or software vulnerability.
- Network Monitoring: Use advanced analytics to regularly monitor incoming and outgoing traffic & compare it with normal network behavior. This helps in detecting unusual activity or anomalous behavior which can be a sign of a botnet attack. Early detection helps in implementing effective measures to combat the attack.
- Monitor Access or Login Attempts: Botnets are commonly used to launch ‘Bruce Force Attacks’ by testing multiple usernames and password combinations to gain unauthorized control of user accounts. Monitor the failed login attempts to detect & prevent a botnet attack at the nascent stage.
- Manage Admin Access: Exercise thorough consideration when granting admin access. Understand the role of an employee and analyze if he needs admin access to perform his duties. Limiting admin access helps in reducing the risk of both internal as well as external attacks.
- Cybersecurity Hygiene: Establish strong cybersecurity hygiene across your organization. This can be achieved by educating employees about cybersecurity best practices such as the use of strong password, multifactor authentication, avoiding link clicks or downloads from unknown sources, etc.
- Be Cautious: Look out for early signs of a botnet attack. Some of these signs include slow speed of device, change in homepage of browser, random pop-ups, etc. If any of these signs are spotted, run a thorough scan of the system and install a good antivirus software to remove any malicious software already installed or running on your device.
To know more about botnet attacks and ways to prevent a botnet attack, contact Centex Technologies at Killeen (254) 213 – 4740, Dallas (972) 375 – 9654, Atlanta (404) 994 – 5074, and Austin (512) 956 – 5454.