What Are Botnets?

mssql botnet overall
Image: Guardicore (supplied)

Botnets are networks of infected computers that can be used for a variety of malicious purposes. These networks can be used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, steal data, and more. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of botnets and how you can protect yourself from their effects.

What is a Botnet?

A botnet is a network of compromised computers that are used to launch cyber attacks. The term can also refer to the malware used to infect these computers and control them. Botnets can be built with a single attack or by infecting hundreds or even thousands of machines over time.

Botnets typically use infected computers as ‘zombies’ to launch attacks on other targets. They can also be used for spamming, data theft, and other malicious activities. Because botnets are often remotely controlled, they are difficult to eradicate completely.

History of Botnets

Botnets are networks of compromised computers that are under the control of a single malicious user or botnet controller. Botnets can be used for a variety of purposes such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, spamming, and Spear Phishing. A botnet is made up of infected computers that have been enlisted by the botnet controller to do his bidding.

The first known use of a botnet was in 2003, when hackers used them to attack websites and servers across the globe. By 2007, there were estimated to be more than 500,000 active bots worldwide. The popularity of botnets grew exponentially after 2008, when malware developers started using them to distribute viruses and other malicious software. In 2013, researchers at Symantec found that 50% of all global cybercrime was attributable to bots.

One common type of botnet is called a zombie armybotnet. Zombie armybots are created when an attacker takes over a large number (usually in the hundreds or thousands) of machines without their owners’ knowledge or consent. Once controlled by the attacker, these zombie machines are then used to spread malware and launch DDoS attacks on targeted websites or servers.

Types of Botnets

Botnets are networks of computers infected with malware that can be controlled by a single user. Botnets are used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, steal data, and other malicious activities. Botnets typically spread through email attachments or links in phishing scams.

Some common types of botnets include:

  1. Shellshock botnet: This type of botnet is composed of hundreds of thousands or even millions of computers that have been compromised by the Shellshock vulnerability. These computers can be used to launch DDoS attacks or steal sensitive information from victims.
  2. Mirai botnet: This type of botnet uses webcams and other Internet-connected devices to scan for vulnerable devices and take control of them so they can be used in DDoS attacks or to harvest login credentials and other sensitive data from victims.
  3. Zeus botnet: This type of botnet has been used to launch large DDoS attacks against websites across the world. Zeus is notorious for being extremely difficult to takedown and for using malicious code that is often updated as new vulnerabilities are exposed.

How Bots Operate?

Botnets are a collection of computers that have been infected with a botnet command and control (C&C) program. These programs allow a hacker to operate the bots on the network as if they were one computer. Botnets can be used for a variety of purposes, including sending spam or launching denial-of-service attacks.

There are many different types of botnets, but all share some common features. First, each bot in a botnet is usually assigned a specific task. For example, bots in a spambotnet might send out spam messages, while bots in a DDoS botnet might launch massive attacks against web sites. Second, all the bots in a botnet usually work together to carry out the C&C instructions. Finally, most botnets are designed to spread automatically from machine to machine by exploiting vulnerabilities on other machines.

How to Combat Botnets?

Botnets are growing increasingly common as a way to deploy malware, conduct spam operations and spread other types of malicious programs. Here we’ll provide an overview of what botnets are, how they work and some ways to combat them.

What is a botnet?
A botnet is a network of connected computers that have been compromised by malware and used to carry out tasks on behalf of the attackers. Botnets can be created manually by infecting individual computers with the malware, or they can be automatically generated through the use of worms or viruses. Once infected, these machines become part of the botnet and are able to share data and resources with each other.

How do botnets work?
Botnets typically contain a number of infected machines that have been commandeered by the attacker. The bots on these machines act as “zombies” – continuously sending requests out to websites or servers owned by the attackers in order to download new pieces of malware or install new components onto their systems. This “botnet army” can then be used for a variety of purposes, including sending spam email, attacking other networks or launching DDoS attacks.

How can I prevent my computer from becoming infected with a virus or malware?

There is no one guaranteed way to protect yourself from all viruses and malware infections – but there are some basic steps you can take to increase your chances: always keep your software up-to-date, use strong passwords and install anti-virus software on your computer. Additionally, be vigilant when browsing the Internet – always use caution when clicking on links from unknown sources, and be sure to disable pop-ups and other unexpected notifications from online applications.

Attack Methods of Botnets

Botnets are networks of infected computers which are used by cyber criminals to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, spam emails and other types of malicious activities. Botnets can be created by infecting a single computer with a botnet virus, or by spreading malware through online downloads. Once installed, the botnet virus infection allows the cyber criminal to control the infected machines remotely.

Some common methods used to create botnets include:

  1. Infecting vulnerable computers with a botnet virus. Botnets can be created simply by installing a virus onto vulnerable systems without victims’ knowledge or consent. Once installed, thebotnet virus infection gives attackers control over the infected machine, allowing them to initiate DDoS attacks or send spam emails using the victim’s computer resources. Because bots are often used for more than one attack type, it is important that organizations take steps to protect their networks from all types of botnets.
  2. Spreading malware through online downloads. Malware such as Blaster and w32/Spybot can be spread through online downloads without users’ knowledge or consent, allowing attackers to quickly create large botnets using these tools. In some cases, this type of malware installs rootkit software on targeted systems which gives attackers additional access and powers to control the infected machines.
  3. Hijacking unsecured webcams and microphones. Cyber criminals have been known to use bots to capture video and audio recordings of people in their homes, then use this information to extort money from the victims. Botnets can be used to capture and send these types of recordings without the victim’s knowledge or consent.
  4. Exploiting vulnerabilities in web applications. By exploiting known vulnerabilities in popular web applications, attackers can quickly create large botnets using these platforms to conduct DDoS attacks or send spam emails.
  5. Automatedphone dialing services. Botnets can also be used to launch automated telephone dialing services (APDS), which allow cybercriminals to make thousands of phone calls at once using infected machines. This type of attack is often used to compromise personal information such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers.
  6. Using compromised computers as proxies. Cyber criminals can use compromised machines as proxies to hide their true IP addresses and identity while they attack other systems. This technique is often used in spear-phishing attacks, which are malicious emails that try to steal users’ login credentials or sensitive information.

Prevention and Mitigation Strategies for Botnet Attacks

Botnets are a type of malware that can infect and control large numbers of devices. These bots can be used to launch attacks, send spam, or just spread viruses. Botnets can be created by using an infected device as a “bot” (a robotic agent), which then spreads the infection to other devices.

There are many ways to prevent botnet attacks. One way is to use anti-virus software and keep your computer up-to-date. You can also try blocking access to known malicious sites and ports on your router. Finally, you can help protect your networks by not connecting your devices directly to the internet.


Botnets are networks of compromised computers that are used by criminals to launch distributed attacks. If you are worried about the privacy and security of your computer, then botnet threats can be very serious. In this article, we will discuss some examples of how botnets work and what you can do to protect yourself from them. Hopefully, this information will help put your mind at ease and make you more aware of the dangers that cyber crime poses.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.