Botnets are also known as robot networks. It is actually a vast network of computer and mobile devices infected by either virus or malware. Hackers control this malware and tend to perform a variety of tasks. These hackers or spammers are often regarded as bot herders. Each infected machine is controlled and operated by the specific bot, and the attacker commands the computers on his/her botnets and carries out coordinated criminal actions.
The scale of botnets enables the attackers to perform both large and small scaled actions that would be impossible to perform with ordinary malware or viruses. As the botnets remain under control of remote attackers, the infected machines regularly receive updates and keep changing their behavior. As a result, the bot herders can easily rent access to the bidders and criminals online and divide their botnets into segments to carry out a large number of operations, which are meant to give them lots of financial gains.
Capabilities of the botnets:
The most common actions or capabilities of botnets are described below
- 1. Email spam
As you receive a lot of emails every day, the chances are that your email ID is under the attack of a hacker. The spam botnets are large in size and are used to send spam messages including malware. They often overlook the numbers from the online bots. For example, the Cutwail botnet can send more than seventy billion messages on a daily basis. It is widely used to spread viruses and bots and recruits more and more computers to the centralized botnet.
- 2. DDoS attacks
The DDoS attacks use the massive scale of botnets and overload the target network or servers with specific requests. They also render their targets’ computers, and their main targets are large organizations, political parties, and import-export companies. They tend to cease the attacks for financial gain.
- 3. Financial breach
The financial breach includes the botnets that are designed for the direct thefts of funds from large enterprises. They also steal credit card information and PayPal passwords. The financial botnets, such as the Zeus botnet, are responsible for massive attacks involving lots of dollars stolen from multiple enterprises in a very short time.
- 4. Targeted intrusions
These are small-sized botnets that comprise of high-end bots and tend to compromise specific computers. The attackers send bots to organizations that are easy to penetrate and intrude more devices into the infected network. The intrusions are dangerous as they attack big organizations and steal financial data, intellectual properties, and customer information.
It’s safe to say that the botnets are created when an expert sends bots from his/her control system or a specific server without the knowledge of a user. The botnets infect a large number of machines immediately. Once you open the malicious files, the bots will report back to the botmaster letting him/her know that a new computer device is ready to be attacked. Some unique functional characteristics of botnets and bots make them suitable for the long-term intrusions.