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What are Botnets & How to Prevent Your Business From Being Recruited

There are many unscrupulous things that a hacker can do to get access to your organization’s information and steal it. They can break into accounts, share dubious websites, send fake emails, trick your employees into dishing out their personal info, and spread malware, among others. Hackers do all this using one of the most dangerous tools in their kit; the botnet.

What is a Botnet?

A botnet is a network of computers running malware that are all controlled by a master computer. The infected computers are known as zombies, and they all work to accomplish the hacker’s goal. The master computer is known as the “command and control center.” This is the computer that sends a command to all the zombies and gets them to do something.

Botnets can attack businesses in one of two ways; your computers can either join the network as a zombie, or your business could fall prey to one of the botnet schemes.

The zombies can get their commands from a single server or a website. This is known as a client-server model. However, this system is not common today. It is easy to shut down as the zombies only run if the website or server is active.

The peer-to-peer model is now the most common where the infected machines communicate to more machines in the network. These new infected machines communicate to other machines, widening the network.

How Do Botnets Spread?

Botnets spread through a Trojan. This is malicious software that gets into your computers through phishing emails, pirated software, or any other channels. If an employee unknowingly installs a trojan on a company computer or BYOD, the hacker gets access to their device and creates a backdoor. Through the backdoor, they can adjust the settings of the infected device and other connected devices, including company networks. The Trojan can stay inactive for a long time until the hacker decides to send a command to the PC.

When the botnet is set up, it allows the hacker (also known as the ‘bot herder’) to make the computers do the same thing at the same time or send out phishing emails and other attacks faster. They can send millions of phishing emails and millions of malware attacks within a short time. They can also use the infected network to coordinate DDoS attacks better.

How To Protect Your Business from Botnets

If a company computer or an employee’s BYOD is a zombie for a botnet, it will be slow and may lead to a breach of personal or company information. It makes your business an easy target, and the hacker can prevent your IT team or MSP from installing an antivirus. You can protect yourself by:

  • Installing antivirus software and scanning for malware on all company computers and employee BYODs.
  • Keeping antivirus and all applications up to date
  • Monitoring your network for any unusual activities and monitoring failed login attempts
  • Training employees not to download any suspicious attachments or attachments from unknown sources
  • Ensuring that employees use an up-to-date browser when accessing the internet and stay away from untrustworthy ads and sites
  • Having employees use a password protector
  • Limiting network sharing outside the organization
  • Working with a managed service provider to maintain these security standards if you don’t have a large enough in-house IT team

If your system is already part of a botnet, professionals use methods such as signature-based detection, flow-based detection, and honeypots to establish the malware. Businesses need to teach employees how to surf the internet without risking an attack. With the right employee training, you can ensure your business’ computers and data don’t fall victim to a botnet.

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